10 Reasons Yoga Is Good For You
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that comprises of a group of physical and mental exercises and postures. Although it’s 5,000 years old, it is only in recent years that its popularity has surged in the UK. Now, yoga classes of all levels are taught in leisure centres, schools, health clubs and hospitals across the country. As well as this, it is practised all over the world in dedicated spas and wellness destinations.
The surge in yoga’s popularity isn’t without reason. Not only do participants take great pleasure in practising it, there’s also a number of health benefits from doing it, too. This includes both physical and mental benefits, making yoga a great exercise for both the body and the mind.
Here are the 10 reasons yoga is good for you:
Many of the exercises and postures performed in yoga are designed to improve the strength of your muscles, requiring you to flex specific muscles in order to perform them correctly. So naturally, with regular performance of these postures and exercises, you will begin to become stronger.
These improvements will begin to happen no matter which level of yoga you take part in, even the less demanding classes will help you to gradually develop your strength, making it ideal for those looking for a gentler way to exercise. In particular, yoga tends to improve the strength of the arms, legs, back and core.
Similarly, the postures and exercises involved in yoga require you to stretch your muscles. These stretches and poses, practised over a period of time, help to release the build up fascia, which is a layer of connective tissue that can stiffen muscles.
As a result of this, you’ll notice fewer aches and pains and that your muscles are more free and flexible. The more you practise yoga, the more flexible you will become as your muscles will get accustomed to stretching in more unconventional positions.
Those who practise yoga are also known to enjoy better sleep. As well as being a form of exercise, the nature of yoga is very gentle and incorporates a number of breathing exercises, meaning it can also help rest the body. These breathing exercises allow participants to fall asleep much easier and enjoy a deeper sleep. This gives you much greater control over your sleeping pattern, allowing you to enjoy a more alert, energetic, sleep rich life.
The relaxation exercises in yoga help to improve your circulation. They help to get more oxygen to your cells and also to release venous blood from the organs, allowing oxygenated blood to flow into organs better and for venous blood to flow back to the lungs and be re-oxygenated. This helps to reduce swelling and improves the health of your organs, cutting the number of blood clots in your body, and reducing the chances of you having a heart attack or a stroke.
Many of the aches and pains we suffer on a daily basis come from poor posture. The postures in yoga help you to gradually correct this, so that you naturally sit and stand as you should do, alleviating the aches and pains in your joints and muscles that you suffer so regularly. Your posture will improve without you even realising it.
Yoga incorporates a degree of meditation. It pushes you to concentrate on performing the postures and exercises correctly and clears your mind of the thoughts and distractions that commonly occupy it. Because of this, just like normal meditation, regular yoga practice helps you to improve your focus. It also helps to improve your memory, coordination and reaction times in this way, generally making your brain sharper. Those who practice yoga have even been seen to have higher IQ scores, too.
It has a calming effect
Yoga may well be a form of exercise, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be relaxing too. Participants generally find yoga a revitalizing and invigorating activity. It helps them to take their mind off their worries and issues, alleviating negative emotions such as stress, fear, anger and anxiety. This helps to decrease their blood pressure and their heart rate, making them calmer, more relaxed and happier as a result.
Boosts immune system
Yoga can actually help your immune system to fight infections. The way yoga uses and stretches the muscles when performing postures and exercises increases the drainage of lymph. Lymph is a fluid that is formed by the collection fluids lying in body tissue through the lymph capillaries. This is significant, as lymph is rich in immune cells, meaning that it helps you to fight infection. This fluid can even help to destroy cells that are cancerous.
Lowers your blood pressure
As noted earlier, the calming effect that yoga has on you helps to lower your blood pressure. When you practise yoga, you breathe slower, lowering your heart rate and allowing you to relax, which in turn, lowers your blood pressure. This makes yoga a particularly good activity for those suffering from hypertension, as it will normalise your blood pressure and allow it to return to a safe and healthy level.
Because yoga helps to improve your strength, flexibility and posture, it also helps to improve your balance. All of these things affect your balance, so when they are all improved, your balance is improved too. These improvements in your balance mean that you will fall over less frequently, making it great for the elderly, as it can help them get out and about easier and retain their independence. This also means that you are likely to experience fewer pains around your knees and fewer back problems.
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