Anything that requires work to attain is usually extremely rewarding and yoga is no exception. I don’t know first-hand what it’s like to be “really good” at yoga, but my instructor assures me it’s not about that, it’s about patience. I’m the girl at the back of the class “walking” my downward dog, forgetting to breathe, and letting my mind wander to the person in the front row, who seems to defy the limits of the human body. Needless to say, I am not an expert on the mat, but I am learning to love my yoga practice for the journey. I know that my skills will develop as I continue my yoga practice, and that’s nice. I imagine the discipline it will take will give me a great sense of accomplishment, and that’s nice too. But I also feel good each time I finish a practice, and here’s why:
10 Ways Yoga Practice Is Great For Your Physical & Mental Health
10. Your flexibility will improve:
It’s one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. Your first attempts at yoga will probably be challenging, especially if you have limited flexibility. Over time, though, you’ll be able to deepen your stretch and release all kinds of tension hiding in your joints and muscles. Better flexibility also means that aches and pains will lessen. Tight muscles can put a strain on your joints, and cause poor posture which can cause all kinds of problems in the long run.
9. Your muscles will be strong:
Strong muscles protect us from arthritis and chronic back pain, they also help make us sturdier as we age. Yoga is great for building muscle strength because it builds flexibility at the same time. Often when we weight train for muscle strength, it comes at the price of our flexibility. Yoga practice is great because, on a physical level, it’s all about building strength with flexibility.
8. You’ll be protecting your cartilage & joints:
It’s good to keep your joints moving to prevent them from stiffening. Stiff joints can lead to injury and permanent damage. When you practice yoga, you put your joints through a full range of motion which can also help prevent arthritis. It can help make sure your joints are receiving nutrients, and prevent them from deteriorating.
7. You’ll get your blood flowing:
Yoga helps your circulation, especially in your extremities. It also increases the flow of oxygen to your cells, helping them function better. Those twist poses that feel so good are said to release the venous blood from internal organs. Inverted poses are said to help blood from the legs and pelvis to flow to the heart. Because yoga gets your blood flowing, it also helps reduce swelling.
6. You’ll feel happier:
There is evidence that a consistent yoga practice can help with anxiety and depression through interoception. Interoception is described as a mindful awareness of the body intended to bring us closer to our physical experience. In addition, practicing yoga has been found to increase serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter connected to feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
5. You’ll be more focused:
Yoga practice is all about being in the present. Making time for practice allows you to refocus your energies so you don’t become overwhelmed. Some studies have also found that regular yoga practice can improve your coordination, memory, and it might actually make you smarter. This may be due to the fact that yoga practice can help clear your mind of the thoughts and conversations that are on an endless loop inside your head.
4. You’ll have better balance as you age:
Proprioception is your unconscious perception of your body’s movement and spatial orientation. Having bad proprioception means you have bad balance, which means you are likely to have bad posture. As mentioned above, poor posture can lead to joint problems and back pain. Regular yoga practice will increase your strength and balance, which can mean fewer falls as you get older.
3. You’ll develop greater inner strength:
Yoga helps teach discipline. The discipline you develop through regular practice will extend to the rest of your life and fuel change. Many people find that practicing self-discipline affects change in all areas of their lives, helping them eat better, exercise more, and quit unhealthy lifestyle choices.
2. You’ll have better relationships:
Because yoga helps you to be more mindful, it also helps develop your compassion for others. Many of the things you practice in yoga (setting intentions, clearing your mind, developing patience) can work towards strengthening your relationships with others. You’ll probably find better relationships and a strengthened sense of community are side effects of your growing inner peace.
1. You’ll have less pain:
Yoga can help relieve chronic pain, which can improve your mood, and keep you active. If you’re happy and active you won’t need as much medication to manage pain. According to studies, yoga can help reduce the pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, and other chronic conditions.