Yoga is a gift from India to the whole world and has its significance since ancient times. It is a way of living that aim towards a healthy body and mind. Yoga does more than just twisting, bending, and burning calories. It’s a full mind-body workout that blends strengthening and stretching poses along with deep breathing and meditation. In fact, it definitely does a pretty good job in connecting your brain to your body.
6 Benefits of Yoga
Maintaining a regular yoga practice offers incredible health benefits, including a strong and healthy body, increased focus and concentration as well as peace of mind. The techniques incorporated in yoga lessen chronic pain such as headache, arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome etc. It also helps in lowering blood pressure and insomnia. Other health benefits of yoga include:
1. Reduces stress
Yoga can decrease the secretion of the primary stress hormone known as cortisol. After doing yoga, you feel less stressed and more relaxed. It balances your blood pressure and relieves the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Yoga is not just a stress reliever but also releases physical tension. Focusing on breathing during yoga helps to calm your mind. Spending at least 15-30 minutes of yoga each day can make you handle things better when life gets crazy.
These are two among the best yoga asanas for anxiety, depression, and stress:
- Anandabalasana – This pose calms down your mind and relieves stress as well as fatigue. It stretches your spine and groin. Anandabalasana is also a beneficial yoga postures for kids.
- Balasana – It relieves stress, eases the symptoms of PMS, improves digestion, reduces fatigue, and relieves menopause symptoms.
2. Improves posture
A good posture is about being aware of your own body, and yoga does that very well. Practicing certain yoga asanas improves your posture and prevents the pain in your lower back, shoulder, and neck.
Yoga poses that help to improve posture:
- Vriksasana – This beginners pose strengthens the spine and improve both balance and posture. This pose also aids neuromuscular coordination.
- Tadasana – This pose corrects your posture and improves your balance by making the spine more agile. It also strengthens thighs, ankles, and knees.
3. Increases flexibility
Flexibility can be defined as one of the biggest blessings of yoga. When you practice yoga, you move through every range of motion that prevents back pain, sports injuries, and repetitive-use damage. Some poses may be easy for you, and when doing other you feel a sort of uncomfortableness to remain in a particular pose. Stretching your muscles and joints makes it easy for you to move deeper into the pose.
Read our latest guide: Easy stretching exercises that help to improve flexibility
- Supta padangusthasana – This pose improves your core muscles as well as flexibility at the hips and lowers back
- Anjeyasana – This is one of best yoga for flexibility and also improves balance as well as focus.
4. Increase muscle strength
Yoga practices don’t involve the lifting of weights to build muscles; instead, it makes you lift your body weight. Certain yoga poses have the ability to break down the muscle fibres by creating tension. This makes your body build more muscles and increases muscle mass.
- Bakasana – This pose strengthens your core muscles and the abdominal organs. It also strengthens your shoulders, forearms, upper arms, and wrists. Bakasana is also a great pose to stretch and mobilize the upper back and groins.
- Salamba sirsasana – This pose improves your muscle strength as well as digestion. Salamba sirsasana also works on the reproductive system and helps to cure infertility.
5. Improves heart health
Practising yoga increases blood circulation and blood flow. It also helps to lower blood pressure, blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and the heart rate thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and hypertension.
Yoga poses that help to improve heart health:
- Utkasana – This challenging pose works your body both inside and out. It improves the health of your diaphragm and stimulates the heart. This pose also helps in strengthening your leg.
- Salamba sarvangasana – This pose activates your parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for relaxing your body.
6. Promotes easy digestion
When you practice certain asanas, the digestive fire gets stimulated. This increases appetite and therefore balances metabolism. Yoga asanas stretch your body and massages the abdominal muscles. Due to this, the food moves efficiently and smoothly along the digestive tract. It also improves blood circulation in the digestive organs and aids digestion. With the ability to calm both body and mind, yoga asanas relieve stress, thereby making you happy. When you are happy, you are more likely to make healthy choices while eating- this eases digestion.
Read : Best yoga poses for digestion
- Ustrasana – This asana helps to detoxify your body, enhance circulation, and improve digestion and metabolism.
- Ardha matsyendrasana – This pose improves digestion as well as liver and pancreatic health.
Apart from these, there are many other health benefits of yoga. These include managing a healthy weight, improving respiratory health, protection from injury, improving sleep pattern, etc.
Even though there are many health benefits of yoga, it is always recommended to practice it after talking to a doctor. You can also consult a doctor online.
Types of Yoga
There are so many types of yoga out there. When you are trying to find out which one is the best for you, remember that there is no right or wrong- it is just that the particular one is not right for you at the moment. Talk to a yoga practitioner before you choose to decide which one actually works for you.
Go through these five common types of yoga:
- Hatha Yoga
This branch of yoga typically involves a set of physical techniques, breathing exercises, and is practiced more slowly.
- Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga involves the practice of multiple suryanamaskars along with other standing and floor postures. This type of yoga is also known as ‘Power Yoga.’
- Kripalu Yoga
This type of yoga focuses on self-reflection, deep relaxation, pranayama, and meditation. It calms both the body and mind so as to promote better health. Kripalu yoga requires you to modify postures according to the needs of your body.
- Kundalini Yoga
This type of yoga involves a lot of meditation, mudras and breathing exercises. You have to do so many fast-moving poses with periods of relaxation, thereby making you pay attention to your internal sensations.
- Iyengar Yoga
It is good for those who are focusing to work on injuries and joint problems. It improves strength, mobility, stability, and flexibility.
Tips for a Safe Yoga Practice
Listen to your body and mind. Take time and don’t strain yourself. If you experience some difficulty in breathing, you are free to stop it at the moment. When you strain yourself while doing a pose, you are most likely to get injured. So, remember, it is not a competition, and you are doing it for yourself.
- Before you start practicing yoga, your bladder should be emptied and bowels evacuated. In fact, this is on the most important things to know before starting yoga. Many poses affect your internal organs, and therefore if there is food in your stomach, it will lead to complications. Wait at least two hours after having food. Make sure that you practice on an empty stomach.
- Avoid wearing any kind of jewellery or watches when you perform yoga poses.
- After completing the asanas, lie down in savasana for at least 10 minutes.
- Yoga should be performed either in the morning or in the evening with the help of a yoga practitioner.
Keep these things in mind, get your yoga mats ready and start doing yoga!