Yoga is beneficial to mind and body in a myriad of ways. It can also massively improve your posture, which can help you avoid or manage a variety of problems related to the way you stand and sit.
Anyone can do yoga, and you can start at any age. It’s important to find the right style of yoga for you, and also the right teacher.
Some forms of yoga are more vigorous than others, and count as aerobic exercise, while others are more gentle and less likely to make you sweat. Both types of yoga are beneficial for a number of reasons:
Stretching your body through yoga poses is an excellent way to improve general flexibility. While you shouldn’t expect results straight away, regular practice of yoga will mean you can reach further than your could previously, and bend in ways that previously seemed impossible.
Improved flexibility can help eliminate aches and pains in your back, neck, hips or thighs and should improve your posture.
Yoga builds and tones muscles. While this is good for helping you lift your bike up the stairs, or carry your shopping, improved muscle strength also helps your body protect itself from conditions such as arthritis.
Learning to balance your body and stand correctly is one of the main benefits of yoga. Improved posture will lessen any pains related to your posture (such as back, knee and neck pain) and should mean you are less likely to feel pain in the future.
Improving your balance could also decrease falls and make you feel more coordinated in general life.
Like any form of exercise, yoga has been linked to decreased stress, depression anxiety. One study also showed that it was beneficial in people with schizophrenia.
Those who do yoga also often report increased feelings of wellbeing, happiness and overall contentment.
As yoga can help to reduce stress, this can help to decrease common illness such as coughs and colds, as we often fall ill when we are stressed. Yoga also boosts the immune system in general by improving the flow of oxygen to certain organs and conditioning the lungs and respiratory tract to their optimal function through breathing exercises.
Yoga can be beneficial in preventing diseases such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, and can also help those already suffering from such diseases. One study found that even lying in corpse position was associated with a drop in blood pressure in those with hypertension when compared to simply lying on the sofa.
As with any form of exercise, yoga helps you sleep better. It can also help you relax before bedtime, and the breathing and meditation exercises you will learn in yoga can help you fall asleep quicker, and stay asleep for longer. If you sleep better, you’ll also be healthier in general and less likely to feel stressed and/or anxious.
Evidence suggests that regular practice of yoga improves memory, reaction times and even IQ. This may be linked to the meditation and breathing involved in yoga, which help people to focus the mind and become less distracted by their thoughts and the outside world.