Updated by : Sejal Shah
Here are 13 benefits of yoga that are supported by science. Learn what this ancient practice has to offer for mind, body, and spirit. You can even try our 30-minute yoga video to get you started.
- Top scientific benefits of yoga infographic
- The top 13 yoga benefits that you can enjoy with regular yoga practice
- Practicing yoga consistently is the key
- New to yoga? Try this 30-minute yoga sequence
- Yoga poses for different health and fitness conditions
Yoga is an ancient practice that is science-supported and offers huge benefits for your and wellbeing. It promotes a healthy lifestyle by harmonizing the mind, body, and spirit.
Although yoga has become popular and known for its hatha yoga practices like physical poses and breathing exercises, its deep philosophy can also give insights to living life to the fullest with more meaning and purpose.
A recent Harvard study found that yoga offers many benefits, both “on the mat” as well as” for both physical and mental health. More and more, these benefits are being scientific evidence. While the physical practice of yoga has become very popular in the last two decades, the trend is changing as the wellness world pays special attention to mental health. More people are learning and practicing yoga's breathing exercises and meditation techniques, in addition to yoga poses.
harmonizes your entire being, leading to a healthy, limber, body, and a calm, focused mind. When you feel physically robust and mentally composed, it becomes natural and easy to show up to life with your full attention and energy.
The top 13 yoga benefits that you can enjoy with regular yoga practice
1. Holistic fitness
If you take a look around your gym, you will see people of all sizes pushing their bodies as hard as they can, all for the sake of achieving the "perfect" body. However, true health comes from not only being physically fit, but also mentally and emotionally balanced. In the words of Gurudev, "Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life, in terms of how joyful, loving, and enthusiastic you are." This is where yoga comes in: postures, breathing exercises, and meditation combined together offer a holistic fitness package.
Yoga is a workout not only for your body but also for your mind and emotions. The practice of physical yoga poses includes synchronizing the breath with the body movement. This helps you to bring your attention to the present moment. At the end of a yoga session, you leave feeling refreshed on all levels.
2. Weight loss
While yoga is not just about the body, is one enjoyable effect of a regular practice. In addition to being a form of exercise, yoga calms down the mind and impulsive tendencies, which leads to an enhanced ability to slow down and make healthier decisions when it comes to food. Feeling naturally calm also reduces the urge to reach for food as a reaction to stress. Plus, with regular yoga classes or practice, we tend to become more sensitive to the kind of food our body asks for and when. This can lead to more intuitive and mindful decision-making.
3. Anxiety and stress reduction
The benefits of yoga on the nervous system, especially the parasympathetic nervous system are immense. Even practicing yoga for just a few minutes can reduce cortisol levels and thus rid your body and mind of the stress that has accumulated throughout your day. We spend the majority of the day with our attention focused on the events happening outside of ourselves. When we take the time, even just five minutes, to focus our attention on the way our body feels, the content of our minds, and the quality of our breath, we enter into the present moment, which is a constant source of peace. And the more we take the time to , the less anxious and stressed we feel as we go about the rest of our day! Try these now.
4. Inner peace
Have you ever yearned to escape from your daily life and be at a beach in Hawaii? While beaches are no doubt serene, we cannot simply go to Hawaii every time we need to decompress. Beach or no beach, peace is a state of being that can be cultivated within ourselves, and we can take a mini-vacation to experience this at any time of the day! Yoga is one of the best ways to a disturbed mind and bring ourselves to a place of peace. And the best part is, you don't have to pay for plane tickets! Practicing yoga is like taking yourself on a small vacation every day of the week. The more you practice and connect with your feelings of inner peace, the more your daily routine will seem as fun as being on vacation.
5. Improved immune system
Our body, mind, and spirit are inextricably connected, meaning any imbalance in the body affects the mind (for example, a sore back causing mental agitation). Similarly, disharmony in the mind can manifest as an ailment in the body (like irritable bowel syndrome). massage the internal organs, strengthen muscles, and increase circulation, all of which detoxify the body. Yoga also (lymph is a clear, watery fluid that moves bacteria and viruses out of the body). Breathing techniques and meditation also release stress and improve immunity.
6. Living with greater awareness
The mind is constantly involved in activity and often swings from the past to the future, causing you to miss out on the present moment. By simply being aware of this tendency of the mind, we can actually save ourselves from getting stressed or worked up and instead can relax the mind. When practicing yoga, because your attention is focused on the most present parts of yourself (your body and breath), you create a state of increased awareness, which brings the mind to the present moment, where it can stay happy and focused.
7. Better relationships
Yoga can even help improve your relationship with your spouse, parents, friends, and loved ones. When your mind is relaxed, happy, and content, you are better able to be present for others and sensitive to your own behavior and how it affects those around you. Yoga and meditation help to improve self-esteem, cultivate a and positive state of mind, and those effects extend out to your ability to listen, be attentive, and have for yourself and those around you.
8. Increased energy
Do you feel completely drained by the end of the day? We live in a fast-paced world that places increasing demands on our mental and physical energy, not to mention the constant flow of information available at our fingertips on our phones and computers. A few minutes of yoga every day can be the secret to feeling even after a long day. The breath is naturally energizing, as it oxygenates the blood and brain. Taking just a few minutes to move your body can wake you up and even kick your caffeine habit!
9. Better strength, flexibility, and posture
This one is obvious but important! Practicing yoga regularly helps you naturally build a body that is . Yoga classes stretch and tone the muscles and help improve muscular endurance, posture, and bone health. Yoga brings mental awareness to the body, which can lead to an increased awareness of posture throughout the day.
10. Better intuition
When we practice yoga, we activate and communicate with all the parts of our body, creating coherence in our brain and integration in our entire system. Because of this increased ability to listen to our bodies and minds, yoga and meditation have the power to improve our in a way that allows us to effortlessly realize what decisions are best. It works. You only need to experience it yourself.
11. Improves sleep:
Yoga also improves the and thus helps you fall asleep faster and wake up refreshed and energized.
12. Chronic pain relief:
Yoga has shown many benefits for people who suffer from chronic pain including neck pain, chronic lower back pain,, and more. Check out a physician’s on yoga’s ability to reduce chronic pain.
13. Heart health:
Studies have also found that yoga can help manage like and even in preventing . Yoga stretching and breathing can improve your overall cardiovascular system functioning along with improved blood flow and circulation.
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Practicing yoga consistently is the key!
It is important to remember that these benefits come with regular practice. So keep practicing! The more you integrate yoga into your daily routine, the more profoundly you will experience its benefits!
New to yoga? Try this 30-minute yoga sequence
While a regular yoga practice can result in increased health, know that it is not a replacement for professional medical advice. In the case of a medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor.
The Art of Living teaches a very powerful breathing technique called SKY Breath Meditation that has helped millions across the globe. To find more about it, join us for a free online intro to breathing and .
Are you ready to bring your yoga mat and find some calm?
Sejal Shah, E-RYT 500 Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, YACEP, C-IAYT, Meditation Teacher, Happiness expert, NYU Post Graduate Medical School approved Yoga-CME retreat facilitator, Mind-Body Wellness Writer, Homeopath. She can be followed on , , and .
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