Benefits of Yoga

You want to be happy!

Yogis are happier people. By increasing serotonin levels and lowering the levels of the enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol, regular yoga practice can significantly alleviate depression.

You are not flexible (or you think you are not)

You don’t need to be flexible to practice yoga, is actually the other way around, yoga will improve your flexibility. This is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. With practice, you’ll begin to notice loosening of tight muscles, and not only aches and pains will gradually disappear, but you’ll also notice an improvement in your posture.

You don’t have enough muscle strength

The need for building strong muscles is not just to look good, but also to improve and protect us from conditions like arthritis and lower back pain. When building strength through yoga, you create a balance between strength and flexibility, as opposed to building strength at the gym lifting weights at the expense of flexibility.

warrior 1 poseYou want to maintain bone health

In order to improve bone health, weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. By practicing many of the yoga postures, you are lifting your own weight.

You want to prevent cartilage and joint breakdown

Yoga also prevents cartilage and joint breakdown. By practicing yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion, preventing degenerative arthritis by “squeezing and soaking” areas of joint cartilage (which is like a sponge, getting nutrients when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up). Without proper nutrition, areas of cartilage can eventually wear out and expose the bone underneath.

You want to protect your spine

The spinal disks responsible for absorbing shock between the vertebrae can herniate and cause nerve compression. They need movement to get their nutrients. Having a balanced practice that includes backbends, forward bends, side bends and twisting will let your disks stay healthy.

You need to improve circulation

Relaxing postures can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, making them work better.

You want to boost your immune system

Yoga increases the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells) by contracting and stretching muscles and moving your organs, helping the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and get rid of toxins.

You want a healthy, strong heart

Practicing yoga vigorously or taking flow or Vinyasa classes, can bring your heart rate into the aerobic range. Even poses that don’t increase your heart very much can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Yoga lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve lung capacity.

You suffer from stress

Yoga lowers cortisol levels. The adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response stress, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. While temporary boosts of cortisol are healthy and necessary to maintain long-term memory, chronically high levels undermine memory, are linked with major depression, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.

Simply by slowing your breath, we can shift the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system triggering the relaxation response.

Your cholesterol and/or sugar levels are out of whack

Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It also improves sensitivity to the effects of insulin. In diabetic people this decreases the risk of diabetic complications (heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness).
You think you are too fat or too thin or have trouble maintaining a healthy diet?

Instead of following restrictive diets,  fostering mindfulness through the yoga practice can help you address eating and weight problems on a deeper level and may also inspire you to become a more conscious eater and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

You have trouble focusing or your memory is not so good

Yoga is the practice of focusing on the present moment. Several studies have found that a consistent yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. Practicing mindfulness Meditation not only improves memory but also the ability to focus, problem solve and learn.

You feel unbalanced

By increasing proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) yoga improves balance. Balancing poses can make us feel less wobbly on and off the mat.

Trouble sleeping

Yoga can provide relief from the overstimulation of modern life. Restorative yoga, yoga nidra, Savasana, pranayama, and meditation promote, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system. A regular yoga practice promotes a healthy sleeping pattern.

Low self esteem

Yoga, will tell you, initially in small glimpses and later in more sustained views, that you’re worthwhile. If you practice regularly with the intention of self-examination and betterment—not just with the intention of getting fit or losing weight, you will begin to access a different side of yourself. You’ll experience feelings of gratitude, acceptance, forgiveness and belonging. As a consequence of spiritual growth, health tends to improve. Yoga and meditation also build awareness, which is the first step to breaking free of destructive emotions and behaviors.

You want to regain inner strength

To sustain a regular practice, we need discipline. That discipline, fire, in Sanskrit is called “Tapas”, which means heat. The tapas you develop will start to spill over your everyday life, and you will find that without even consciously changing things, you will start to eat better, exercise more and overcome addictions.