Yoga has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years and is well known for its health benefits, both physically and mentally but what does it actually do for us?
1. Increases core strength
When you’re stronger and more flexible, your posture improves.
Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength since you need your core muscles to support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall.”
Yoga also helps your body awareness. That helps you notice more quickly if you’re slouching or slumping, so you can adjust your posture.
1. Reduces stress
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, which in turn reduces stress levels. While stimulation is good, too much stress taxes the nervous system and yoga provides relief from excess stimulation and the stressors and hectic nature of modern life.
2. Helps fight against osteoporosis and other bone/ cartilage problems
It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some postures help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures.
3. Improves posture
Your head is like a bowling ball—big, round, and heavy. Five kilograms to be exact and when it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it forward, however, and you start to strain you neck, back and shoulder muscles, which over a period of time will cause a lot of problems such as arthritis. Yoga helps to eliminate neck and back issues by strengthening and using muscles that are not commonly used with other exercises.
4. Boosts immunity
Yoga poses massage organs and strengthen muscles; breathing techniques and meditation release stress and improve immunity. Studies have shown yoga can improve immunity, but unsure whether it is a placebo effect of feeling good, physically and mentally or if it does indeed boost our immune systems.
5. Better Sleep
Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia.
6. Improves flexibility
Yoga is a great way to work on your flexibility and strength. Just about everyone can do it, too.
Yoga poses work by stretching your muscles. They can help you move better and feel less stiff or tired.
At any level of yoga, you’ll probably start to notice benefits soon. In one study, people improved their flexibility by up to 35% after only 8 weeks of yoga.
Deep breathing fosters mental alertness and physical energy. As tension is released, energy flows more readily throughout the body.
8. Toned body
In addition to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, yoga can also help build lean muscle, and will also help define and tone existing muscle.
9. Mental clarity
Regular practice of yoga has been proven to help with memory and concentration, and even, in recent studies, it’s been shown to help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Management of chronic conditions.
Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety.
While yoga is not a cure for a cancer, nor a definitive way of preventing it, yoga increases physical, emotional and spiritual wellness, and brings about a certain peace, of which many cancer patients desire.