Growing up in a house full of guys in the 90s, yoga wasn’t something that hit my radar until I met my wife. Over time, her passion for yoga slowly drew me to the practice. I am not a yoga master, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t felt the amazing benefits of yoga.
Yoga is about connecting with yourself, taking the time to slow down, and opening up space to be mindful. Yoga is great for your body, mind, and your soul. It is great to do at any point in the day. I find that waking up early and doing it first thing in the morning allows me to feel the benefits all day long.
For the uninitiated, yoga might sound like fluff or not worth your time. But I guarantee that it will kick your ass and your perception of yoga will change dramatically in just one session.
There are many different types of yoga and each type tends to target different things and different skill levels. That’s another post for another time. This post is all about the overall benefits of yoga for those on the outside looking in.
1. Increased Flexibility
Yoga is amazing at increasing your flexibility over time. You may not even realize how much you lack in flexibility until your first yoga session and you start using muscles and ligaments that you long forgot about. I would stretch before going on a run, and I thought I was pretty limber. Nope, not even close.
Yoga has this amazing tendency to stretch and work every part of your body, not just a few key muscles. The first time I attempted yoga, I quickly realized how much I lacked in mobility. My hamstrings, hip flexors, back, and neck all took their turn letting me know just how inflexible I really was. My body literally creaked and groaned, letting me know it has never been asked to stretch this way before. In other cases, I couldn’t properly get into position because my body was so tight.
Stick with yoga and your body will begin to unwind itself. Your muscles, ligaments, and tendons will begin to stretch and become more limber. As your limberness begins to increase, any ailments caused by this lack of flexibility (back pain, knee issues, etc…) will begin to disappear. For me personally, flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of yoga.
2. Increased Strength
Increasing your strength has many of its own benefits. Feeling stronger, body stability, increased self-confidence, and a more toned body are some of the major benefits of increased strength. There are other ways to build muscle, but building muscle often comes at the expense of flexibility. The beauty of yoga is that you will increase both flexibility and strength at the same time!
Feeling stronger and getting more toned will do wonders for your self-confidence. But increasing stability is an even bigger bonus. Stabilizing your body will help aid the same ailments that increasing your flexibility does. Stability will also help prevent you from falling if you ever find your feet slipping from underneath you. Building muscle also helps with correcting your posture.
3. Fixes Posture
Good posture is one of those things that everyone knows about, but practically no one pays attention to. If you spend a good portion of your day on a computer or phone, you are putting a ton of pressure on your spine.
As we get older and stay in these positions, our body slowly weakens over time. The muscles in your back become stretched and weak, while the muscles in your chest become short and tight. This pulls your shoulders forward and now you have a recipe for rounded shoulders. Which if left untreated can get much worse over time.
Fixing your posture is one of the amazing benefits of yoga. You will stretch those chest muscles and engage your back muscles. As you strengthen and stretch those muscles, it will slowly pull your body back into alignment, fixing your hunched posture.
4. Gets the Blood Flowing
Yoga is great for getting the blood flowing efficiently throughout the body. For your body to get stronger, it needs to get efficient at delivering oxygen-rich blood to the muscles that need it.
Depending on the type of yoga you are doing, it can be an effective way to get your heart pumping. Some types of yoga, such as cardio yoga, can elevate your heart rate into the aerobic range.
Improved blood flow and a stronger heart will go a long way to increasing your overall health. Studies show that increased heart health and blood flow go a long way to helping you fight depression.
5. Lowers Stress
Our lives are filled with stress-inducing events. We spend so much time worrying and rushing, that our bodies are under constant attack from stress.
Yoga forces you to connect with yourself and the environment around you. It gives you space to think through your issues or to clear your mind. In addition to connecting from within, exercise has shown amazing results in lowering stress.
6. Helps Promote Good Digestion
What happens when you add up the previous 5 benefits of yoga? You get an improved digestive system that can help aid relieve all kinds of issues.
Lowering your strength, and regular exercise are known to regulate your body. As you move your body, your body will become more efficient at the things it needs to do. One of the many improvements will be in the efficiency of how your body breaks down food and gets rid of it.
Yoga goes a long way to improving constipation and gas issues. All that twisting and breathing will give your body the gentle push it needs to clear these issues out of your body.
7. Fights Inflammation
By incorporating both exercise and relaxation into one routine, yoga has been known to lower inflammation throughout your body.
Increasing your overall heart health, and lowering your stress allows your body to calm down. As your body moves towards this relaxed, healthy state, it will not be in constant fight mode with itself. Give yourself the space to be with yourself, and your body will do wonders.
Lowering inflammation can help with certain autoimmune disorders, your overall health, and your happiness.
8. It’s Relaxing
There is something relaxing about deliberately moving your body from one position to another. Concentrating on your breath and knowing you are doing something incredibly healthy for yourself.
Breathing techniques have been used forever in helping relax the body. Yoga incorporates these techniques into the practice, allowing your body and mind to relax.
9. Increased Bone Health
Putting stress (the good kind) on your body, allows your body to adjust to these new demands. This adaptability is how humans have survived over time. As you exercise and put that amazing stress on your body, your body has to get stronger.
Your bones will strengthen to meet these new demands. If bones didn’t strengthen, we wouldn’t be able to go from couch potato to long-distance running. We just wouldn’t be able to handle the stress on our bodies. That’s why it is important to start slow and not overdo it. Give your body time to adjust to its new demands.
10. Improves Happiness
All the benefits of yoga add up to improved happiness. Knowing that you are doing something so beneficial for yourself is enough to start making your brain realize that you are tired of being unhappy.
Increased physical strength, lower stress, and feeling relaxed will leave you smiling all day long. Improving physical ailments, such as back pain or joint pain, will increase your quality of life.
Increasing your quality of life is the type of improvement that we are after. You deserve to feel better and you deserve to be happy. All the benefits of yoga add up and will go a long way to growing a good life.
Steve values healthy food, exercise, and the relationships around him. It is his mission to pass his knowledge to help those who may be struggling with their own issues. When not writing or researching content, he enjoys spending time with his family, running, hiking, and anything tech related.