Did you know that people have been practicing yoga for over 5,000 years? With a new yoga studio popping up nearly every day, it’s pretty clear that yoga has stood the test of time. If you haven’t hopped on the yoga bandwagon yet, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about.
Check out this yoga guide to learn about the top health benefits of yoga:
- Boosts Your Immune System
The effect that yoga has on your immune system is pretty incredible. In fact, a group of Norwegian scientists just recently discovered that practicing yoga can result in changes in your gene expression that boost the immune system on a cellular level.
And, it doesn’t take long for these changes to occur: Researchers believe that practicing yoga can affect your immune system while you’re on the mat! The study also compared the yoga participants to a control group, who, instead of doing yoga, went on hikes while listening to soothing music.
While the control group experienced changes in their immune systems, the yogis experienced a significantly greater change.
- Improves Your Flexibility
An improvement in flexibility is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. In fact, many people find that during the first class, they aren’t even able to touch their toes. But, as they practice more and more, they’re soon able to not just touch their toes but put their hands flat on the floor with ease. Pretty soon, the once impossible poses will become possible.
And, with this increase in flexibility, you’ll probably notice that some of your aches and pains start to disappear. This is no coincidence, as tight hip joints can cause strain on your knee joints due to misalignment. Tight hamstrings can also cause your lumbar spine to flatten, which can lead to back pain.
So, the more you stretch out your joints through yoga poses, the less achy your body will feel.
- Perfect Your Posture
When you were little, you probably found it quite annoying when your parents told you to sit up straight. But, they were definitely onto something!
As it turns out, poor posture is linked to back pain, neck pain, and other issues with your joints and muscles. But, it can be hard to remind yourself to sit up straight all the time, which is why yoga is so great. Through the practice of yoga, you coach your body to sit up straighter instead of slumping forward.
Pretty soon, your posture will improve and your aches and pains will start to diminish.
- Increase Your Blood Flow
If you’re someone who deals with swelling in your legs due to heart or kidney problems, then you’ll definitely want to consider taking up yoga.
This is because yoga can help get your blood flowing and improving your circulation, particularly in the hands and the feet. The better your circulation is, the less likely you are to deal with swelling.
Yoga can also boost the levels of hemoglobin in your red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues. This, in turn, can lessen your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Eases Migraines
A recent study found that migraine sufferers experienced fewer and less painful migraines after just three months of practicing yoga.
While the exact cause of migraines isn’t understood, many scientists believe that they’re caused by a combination of mental stressors as well as physical misalignment. As we already know, yoga can help fix your alignment, so this may be why practicing yoga is linked to fewer migraines.
- Boosts Your Heart Rate
The importance of boosting your heart rate on a regular basis cannot be understated. Boosting your heart rate to an aerobic range can help lower your risk of having a heart attack, stave off cardiovascular diseases, and relieve depression.
While yoga technically isn’t an aerobic workout, some forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga yoga, can boost your heart rate to an aerobic range.
But, even if the yoga class you take doesn’t boost your heart rate, you still can reap some cardiovascular benefits. Studies show that practicing yoga can help increase your endurance, lower your resting heart rate, and improve your maximum uptake of oxygen while exercising.
- Strengthens Your Muscles
Strong muscles aren’t just great because they make you look good. By having strong muscles, you’re protecting yourself from conditions like arthritis and chronic back pain. And, if you’re an elderly person, strengthening your muscles can also help prevent you from falling. Not to mention, strong muscles also help boost your metabolism, increase your energy levels, and keep your bones strong and healthy.
While lifting weights is definitely one of the best ways to strengthen your muscles, yoga can also help support muscle strength.
- Reduces Stress
It’s no secret that physical activity helps to reduce stress. But, this is particularly true of yoga. This is because yoga requires high levels of concentration. Many people find that they’re so focused on perfecting the poses and breathing correctly, that their daily troubles just melt away.
Yoga also places a lot of emphasis on being present in the moment, which can help you feel less stressed out about events of the past or future that you have no control over.
You can check out this website if you want to learn more about yoga therapy for stress relief.
- Better Breathing
Breathing is an involuntary action that most of us hardly ever think about. But, we should!
This is because certain breathing techniques, particularly ones that are practiced during yoga, can help clear nasal passages and even calm the nervous system. Plus, a few deep breaths can do wonders for your stress levels and mental clarity.
As you can see in this good yoga guide, there are many benefits to practicing yoga. And, the good news is that practicing yoga is as easy as signing up for a class online or going to Youtube and streaming a yoga video.
Once you’ve got some yoga practice under your belt, be sure to check back in with our blog for more health tips and tricks.