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A simple guide for you to thrive in your Yoga practice!
Yoga Benefits For Your Health
If you’re looking for reasons to try Yoga, you will be amazed to learn what a regular Yoga practice can do for your health.
I am a big advocate of Yoga for almost 20 years. It is a life experience like any other one that will make an impact in your health since your first classes, as a Yoga Beginner.
There are not many activities that can build strength, physical awareness and mental balance, as a consistent Yoga practice.
Let’s dive into “what yoga is good for you”.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga benefits that you will notice very early in your practice
1- Improvement in proprioception
Proprioception is the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space. Yogis, dancers, athletes and anyone who exercises their bodies regularly are always in tune with what their bodies can do.
Early in your practice you will start being aware of your body capabilities through the Yoga instructor guidance. You will notice how the instructions are detailed, describing parts of your body that you are not aware of in your daily life.
Proprioception is a key element in your mobility.
You will see results very fast in your proprioception which will trigger the amazing feeling of awareness of how much you can do with your body and what a perfect machine it is.
A good way to try a gentle and easy Yoga at home is to follow a guide of basic Yoga Poses to do every day, to become familiar with some of the most common poses.
We’re all guilty of spending too much time sitting at the desk, on our phones and sprawled out in the sofa watching TV.
Your Yoga practice will start going beyond the mat very soon. It it will get imprinted in your body memory for everything you will be doing. Your Yoga instructor will be always providing information on the mechanics of how your neuro-system works.
One of the first things you will notice is an improvement of how you align your neck and head.
Having the proper alignment of your head and body will save you from head aches and neck problems.
Yoga for neck and shoulders problems is effective not only because it will make your spine erect and strong but for supporting your head in the proper position. It s one of the first steps on keeping a healthy body.
Related: Yoga for People who sit all day
Short Term Yoga Benefits that you will start noticing in about 2 months
Yoga will help you to prevent general injuries
So many injuries happen when you’re working out. From sports to aerobic classes and weight pulling, we all have stories of injuries that took a long time to heal, causing an interruption of workouts.
Yoga will give you the tools to work with your body in a preventive way and will focus in the body’s ability to heal itself.
You will feel safe in your practice having your instructor to guide you through any physical limitation you might have. There is always a modification for poses that are not fit for your body, ensuring you’re not pushing beyond your limits. It is even a very good practice for pregnant woman who want to try Prenatal Yoga.
Yoga will protect against joint and cartilage breaks down
According to Yoga Journal, “joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.”
Every time you practice yoga you’re promoting a full range of motion through your joints which will prevent injuries and arthritis.
Your bones will get healthier and stronger
We all know that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps to prevent osteoporosis.
The way Yoga will help to improve bone strength is that many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight.
Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, for example will help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures.
According to the Yoga Journal, “in an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, Yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.”
You’ll be moving your body in a holistic way
Although there are so many variations of Yoga out there and many articles are being written about Yoga for head and shoulders, Yoga for back and posture, Yoga for flexibility, the truth is that any Yoga practice – Yin Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Hot Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Power Yoga, amongst other Yoga types, will always taught through a holistic approach.
You will be always working with your whole body, as oppose as workouts that focus on isolated movements.
Blood circulation will be complete and fully fledged with regular yoga practice
When blood circulation is complete and effective, and when it reaches all parts of the brain, the mind becomes calm and energized. Thoughts that create agitation in the mind subsides. This process brings better clarity of the mind and your memory, and intellectual capacity increases gradually.
Yoga will improve your flexibility
This is one of the first benefits that you will notice as you progress in your practice. Every pose will tone your body muscles and it will simultaneously work on strengthening different parts of the body. You don’t have to be super flexible to practice yoga, the beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced at all levels of ability.
Yoga will Build Muscle Strength
Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people.
The beauty is that when you build muscle strength through yoga, you’re balancing it with flexibility, making your muscles elastic and strong. It will be a different result than what you would get just lifting weights.
People who practice Yoga for many years have this beautiful shaped body. You’re lifting your own weight, which is a more organic and supportive way of building your muscles strength.
When you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility.
If you just lift weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility. This is what happens with some runners and weight lifters.
Mind is clear when the body is healthy
It will boost your immune system and will help weight loss
Yoga will increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells), allowing the lymphatic system to fight infection and to destroy cancerous cells, for example, because will help disposing toxic waste products that come from cellular functions.
Even a gentle daily yoga practice will fuel the metabolic system and will help burn fat, leading to weight loss in the long run.
As soon as your body is ready, you will be able to try Hot Yoga which can speed up the weight loss process. Remember, weight loss will happen as a process, along your path of practicing Yoga.
Love Yoga Quotes like this? Find 51 of the best Yoga quotes here.
It will tone and massage several key organs
Yoga poses massage internal organs, like stomach, intestines, liver and kidneys, through twists and stretches, allowing oxygen to flow more effectively in a very natural way. It will boost levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, that are responsible of carrying oxygen to the tissues.
Twisting poses will also wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in, when the twist is released.
If you’re starting Yoga, Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga can be a great solution for a gentle, and slow internal massage that will make you feel rejuvenated and more energetic.
In this article, you will find how some Yoga poses can be especially beneficial for the health of your kidneys.
Another example of the benefits of Yoga in your internal organs is to perform inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulder stand. They are beneficial to your heart, legs and kidneys.
In these poses, venous blood from the legs and pelvis flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated.
This process thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes, since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.
Yoga will calm your mind using controlled breathing
The breathing process is one of the most important activity that keeps our body alive. A good breathing pattern will help better circulation of blood and its purification. It also helps to push out the toxins from the body. This is one of the important physical benefits of yoga practice.
Yogis are able to take fewer breaths with deeper volume. Therefore there is an increase of exercise capacity and oxygen saturation of their blood.
Yoga will teach you how to breath through your nose which filters and warms the air before reaching your lungs.
This type of breath humidifies the air and purifies it avoiding dirt, pollen and other things to get into your body.
A few controlled deep breaths in a Morning Yoga Practice, for example, can be enough to get you ready to conquer your day with renewed energy.
Physical health will give you mental health, which means clarity of mind
Yoga asanas play with mobility in a very special way. During a Yoga practice you will be leading your body to experience different levels of contact with the ground. From lying down, sitting up to being upside down, every time your head is down, you’re allowing blood flowing to your head fast and this will improve all your mental abilities.
It will improve your Digestive System
Forward and backward bending asanas will tone and massage the digestive system. All the twisting poses – movements we don’t normally do every day – will be helping the internal organs to work better. These Yoga postures will facilitate rapid transport of food and waste products through the bowels, which will improve digestion and bowel movements.
A good digestive system alone can circulate blood freely and completely across the body. This process keeps the endocrine system healthy, active and stimulated.
It will improve cardiovascular conditioning
Although not all Yoga is aerobic, when you ‘re doing a yoga flow, your heart rate will go up. (specially if you’re taking Ashtanga Yoga).
Even for Yoga beginners, when you’re pushing your body to learn new movements that require more stamina, you’ll notice how your heart rate will speed up. This will greatly improve your cardiovascular conditioning since the heart rate goes into the aerobic range.
It has be proven by several studies that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can maximize the uptake of oxygen during practice. —all consequences of improved aerobic conditioning.
One study even found that serious Yoga practitioners overtime could endure more exercise with less oxygen.
It will improve your Nervous System Functions
There are several studies showing how some very advanced yogis can control their bodies in amazing ways. These kind of abilities are mediated by the nervous system.
As an example, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (often credited as the ‘Father of Modern Yoga) and known for being the architect of vinyasa and Hatha Yoga, was able to have control over his heartbeats. It is believed that he also mastered the art of holding his heart beats.
Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system. This would mean, in a smaller scale, that you could be able to induce relaxation when you’re having trouble falling asleep, for example.
If you’re looking for a physical activity that can work your body in a holistic way, Yoga is the path to go.
For me, personally, my Yoga journey has improved so many areas of my health that is difficult to understand why I did not start earlier.
It did and does help me to sleep better, to manage IBS symptoms, to cope with the long winters here in Canada, to control unwanted mood swings, to help with my posture as I spend many hours sitting by the computer, but most of all, it helps me to relax and live in the present.
The amazing feeling of relaxation at the end of the practice, when in Shavasana pose, is priceless.
The awareness of what a perfect machine our bodies are will be always present in your yoga practice and from there will guide your lifestyle forever.
Hope I have convinced you that if you’re looking for an activity that will improve your health, mind and spirit and make you feel like a million bucks, Yoga is definitely for you.
Welcome to it and Namaste!