When you think of yoga, you might tend to think of human bodies twisted into all kinds of uncomfortable positions in stiflingly hot rooms packed in with other sweaty bodies!
This is a shame, because this stereotype could prevent those who are looking to improve their health and fitness from enjoying the numerous benefits that this ancient discipline brings.
For over 5,000 years, people have been using yoga to unify the body, the mind and the spirit.
And while yoga often deals in metaphysical things like chakras and prana, the health benefits are very real and tangible.
Yoga is a great way to keep the body toned and flexible and to improve your physical health, even if you’re not a very spiritual person.
Plus, whilst you can attend a group class to learn yoga, it’s also possible to learn it by yourself at home with online yoga classes.
Here are some ways in which yoga can improve your health… for life!
Physical and mental benefits of yoga
It improves your flexibility
Yoga strengthens and stretches the muscles, allowing for greater flexibility. Take a look at this guide on how to improve your flexibility with yoga.
Flexibility isn’t just about being able to wow your friends in the club by dropping effortlessly into the splits or a crab. Although… you can do those, too!
It’s important for good posture, proper alignment of joints and helping our bodies to feel youthful, no matter how old we get.
It encourages you to rethink your diet
We tend to think of food in very binary terms. We might have “tasty but naughty foods” and “healthy but boring” foods. Or even “acceptable” and “forbidden” foods.
Unfortunately, this kind of mentality rarely results in good eating habits. Yoga conditions you to think of your body as a temple, accepting only what is nourishing to the body and ethical in how it’s sourced.
You’ll stop fantasising about foods you “can’t have” and start thinking of them as foods you simply no longer want.
It protects you from injury
Not only does yoga make our bodies stronger, more flexible and more pliable, it also helps to reduce our chances of injury.
Yoga helps us to better align joints and improve posture. It helps to correct the “mistakes” that modern living causes our bodies to make.
It also encourages us to be much more mindful of our bodies and their limits.
This means that we’re more aware of our limitations and thus better able to avoid injuries at work, at home and at the gym.
It eases stress and anxiety
Modern living has turned us into huge walking balls of stress!
We accrue stressors and nervous energy every day.
And because we spend so much of our lives in a sedentary state, we have no outlet with which to release that energy.
As such, we can find ourselves in a state of chronic stress which can be ruinous to our health.
Chronic stress triggers the body’s inflammatory response, thereby increasing our risk of a wide range of health disorders, including high blood pressure (hypertension) cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some cancers.
If you want to take care of your physical and mental health then yoga could be the perfect tool. It’s no hyperbole to say that if you have a high-stress job and lifestyle, yoga could save your life!