Yoga – What It Is And Its Health Benefits

Developed in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago, the term “yoga” means “union” in Sanskrit and is a combination of mental meditation, breathing techniques, and physical exercise. Millions of people all over the world use this form of exercise to relieve their stress levels and increase muscle strength.

Can anyone do yoga?

Yoga can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time, whether they are male or female, young or old, or their shape or size. It doesn’t matter what nationality they are, their culture, or their fitness levels. No elaborate equipment is needed to do yoga, except your body, your breath, and a mat or towel, which makes it completely portable! It is a fun, low-impact activity that you can do for the rest of your life, that will do wonders for your mental and physical well-being.

What are the health benefits of doing yoga?

Many people think of yoga as being some type of modern-day exercise fad. However, it is an ancient practice developed for the sole purpose of connecting the mind, body, and spirit, by way of controlled breathing, different body poses, as well as meditation.

Besides being a gentle, fun, and portable way of doing exercise, it is the numerous health benefits of yoga as well, which has resulted in it becoming extremely popular with people from all walks of life, all over the world.

Just some of the many health benefits of doing yoga include:

Within the body — from increasing pain tolerance to reducing blood pressure, yoga provides the following benefits within the human body:

• Pulse rate — yoga helps you to have a slower pulse rate. Your heart becomes stronger and able to pump more blood to the rest of your body, but with fewer beats.
• Blood pressure — yoga provides better oxygenation and circulation in the body, thus reducing blood pressure.
• Improved blood circulation — yoga improves blood circulation, which means that more oxygen and nutrients are transported to the entire body, resulting in a healthier brain, skin, and organs.
• Reduced respiratory rate — as with the body’s circulation system, when your respiratory rate is lowered, it means that your lungs are working more effectively. It is better fitness and the controlled breathing exercises of yoga that results in a decreased respiratory rate.
• Cardiovascular stamina — cardiovascular stamina is the result of improved oxygenation and lower heart rate provided from doing yoga.
• Organs — internal organs are massaged during yoga exercise, which helps the body to fight off certain diseases.
• Immunity — many believe that regular yoga exercise results in a stronger immune system.
• Gastrointestinal — studies show a significant improvement in gastrointestinal functions in both women and men who do yoga regularly.
• Metabolism — practicing yoga regularly helps to develop an improved metabolism, which in turn, helps to control hunger and maintain a healthy weight.
• Pain — according to people who do yoga regularly, their pain threshold is a lot higher than before. Also, cases of intense pain, like back pain, are reduced significantly, or eliminated when practicing yoga.
Without the body — just as yoga provides benefits inside the body, it also provides several benefits on the outside of the body as well, including:
• Posture — yoga teaches you how to hold your body in a healthier position. With regular yoga, your posture will improve to such an extent that you look healthier and more confident.
• Aging — practicing yoga triggers the body’s detoxification mechanisms, which helps to slow down the aging process.
• Energy — with regular yoga, you will have energy all the time. The experts say that if yoga is done correctly, it will leave you feeling invigorated afterward, instead of tired.
• Sleep — apart from enjoying the many other benefits provided by yoga, many other people state that it has improved their sleeping habits as well.
• Weight — the improved metabolism provided by yoga, as well as the stretching of muscles, all help tremendously, to reduce cellulite build-up around muscles, thereby resulting in weight loss as well.
• Integrated body function — the term “yoga” means to direct one’s attention and join together, in Sanskrit, and this is precisely what happens when you start doing yoga. Your body will function a lot better, with more efficient and graceful movements of the body.
• Balance — balance and control of the body is an important part of yoga. When done regularly, the overall balance is greatly improved.
• Core strength — better posture and general body strength is achieved with a strong body core. It helps to reduce and heal injuries, which is why many athletes do yoga as part of their training regime.
• Sexuality — yoga improves sexuality by providing more relaxation, more self-confidence, and better control.
• Body awareness — you will develop an increased awareness of your body when you do yoga. You will frequently have to make small, slight movements to give you better alignment. With time, this will make you more comfortable with your body, which will result in more self-confidence and improved posture.
• Emotional benefits — yoga is all about strong mind and body connection, which provides a myriad of health benefits, such as the following:
• Reduced stress — yoga requires plenty of concentration, which helps to pay attention to immediate matters, which helps to reduce the unnecessary stress you might have in your life.
• Mood — yoga helps to improve general well-being. The mood is greatly improved because of the mind-body connection, inward focusing, and creating a healthy body provided by yoga exercise.
• Depression — it’s the negative feelings that you keep inside that cause depression. When you do yoga, these feelings are released, which helps a lot to get rid of those heavy feelings of depression.
• Anxiety — according to the experts, the one great health benefit of the controlled breathing required by yoga, is its ability to reduce anxiety.
• Self-control — yoga is made up of controlled movements, and when you practice these movements, you will learn how to be in control of every aspect of your life.
• Self-acceptance — when doing yoga, you will come to understand that your main goal is not to aim for perfection to be successful, then you will learn to accept yourself just as you are.
• Positive attitude towards life — through regular yoga, a balance is created between the nervous system and numerous hormones, resulting in a happier, more stable outlook on life.
• Mind-body connection — you would be hard-pressed to find another exercise that provides the same type of mind-body connection like yoga. During your yoga exercise, you must match the movements of your body with controlled breathing, which helps your mind to find that place of peacefulness and utter relaxation.
• Concentration — studies show that yoga exercise results in more motivation and better concentration after just eight weeks of starting yoga.
• Hostility — most people who practice yoga, say that they experienced an enormous drop in the hostility they felt towards others, as well as a significant increase in the ability to control their anger, if and when it flared up.
• Memory — yoga provides better circulation of blood to the brain, reduces stress, and improves focus, resulting in improved memory.
• Attention — plenty of concentration is needed when doing yoga, to maintain steady breathing with the poses. This helps to improve the ability to focus attention on tasks at hand.
• Calmness — the intense concentration required when you do yoga, brings a state of calmness to the person. The meditation techniques associated with yoga also help to relax the mind.
• Social skills — when you practice yoga, you discover how all aspects of your life are connected. This helps you to evolve from the personal journey you have been on, to one where you become involved with the community around you, thus improving your social skills.

Of course, are many other benefits to yoga exercise, many of them even having the ability to improve, reduce, and eliminate certain medical issues. Although it is a low-impact way of exercising, once you are doing yoga regularly, it will have a huge, positive impact on your life, one that you will never regret getting started with!