Health Benefits of Yoga: Why Is It Good for Your Body?

health benefits of yoga

From gyms and yoga studios to retreats and festivals, nowadays, yoga is everywhere. Hollywood stars, Victoria’s Secret angels, busy businesspeople, and athletes do it. Future moms, kids, teens, seniors, recovering drug addicts, and even prisoners do it.

No matter where you are, and you’ll likely have few problems finding a yoga class. Once an ancient practice known only in India, yoga has permeated modern society. And the hype doesn’t seem to be dying any time soon.

Let’s take a look at some scientifically proven reasons for how rolling out your mat can do wonders for your body.

11 Health Benefits of Yoga for the Body

1. Improved Balance and Flexibility

Modern lifestyle has made us increasingly inflexible. This can manifest as stiffness, tightness and a lesser range of motion. Most people will notice that in the hip joints and hamstrings. It can be dangerous.

Lack of flexibility can relate to lack of strength and can result in poor balance. It can also cause other muscle groups to compensate for the less flexible ones, put them under greater stress, and make them more prone to injury.

Yoga can help. Science has found that regular practice improves balance and flexibility and increases joint mobility.

2. Increased Strength, Endurance and Muscle Tone

Studies have shown that consistent yoga practice increases muscle tone, strength, and endurance. It boosts athletic performance, as well as can serve as a form of mild aerobic exercise.

Though, you need to be realistic about the type of yoga you choose because not all of them have the same effect. You won’t break much of a sweat or build muscle if you’re doing restorative or yin yoga.

However, you’ll be more likely to achieve it by joining a power yoga or a vinyasa class. Much also depends on each teacher, their level of experience and individual preference.

3. Better Posture

Sedentary lifestyle distorts the natural curve of the spine and causes us to slouch. Smartphones also destroy our posture.

Text neck (or iHunch) not only looks unaesthetic but also causes pain in our necks and backs. It affects balance, mobility, as well as our mood. It can make us feel depressed, less assertive and have worse memory.

A good posture helps us maintain the correct alignment of bones, and is necessary for a healthy spine, digestion, and circulation. It also gives you a more confident look and can even trick your mind into feeling more positive and confident.

Practicing yoga helps to correct and maintain proper posture and even improve serious conditions such as kyphosis.

4. Weight Loss

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that on average burns fewer calories than brisk walking. Though, even in its gentle forms, yoga can help lose or at least not gain extra weight (but probably not because of the reason you may think of).

The secret lies in the mind-body connection also known as mindfulness. By committing to at least 30 minutes of asana practice per week, yogis establish a better body-mind relationship and a healthier attitude to food.

That can result not only in healthier food choices but also in higher awareness of one’s body. Because of that, yogis are more mindful of the food that they’re eating and not eating past the point of satiety.

5. Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries. Research on the effects of yoga on cardiovascular health shows that yoga can improve the factors that increase its risk. These include lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and weight.

6. Bone Health

With age, bones become more fragile and prone to fracture. This condition known as osteoporosis is especially common among women after menopause. It can be prevented by doing weight-bearing activities and exercise, such as walking, jogging or weightlifting.

According to a decade-long study, regular yoga practice can also increase bone density. Besides that, stronger muscles, better posture and balance, enhanced coordination, and a greater range of motion lower the risk of falling and possibly breaking bones.

7. Better Sleep

Practicing yoga can improve the quality and length of your sleep. It can make it easier for you to fall asleep, and help deal with sleep problems such as insomnia.

8. Healthier Sex Life

It can’t be a coincidence that yoga and Kama Sutra both come from India, can it? Evidence supports that yoga positively influences sexual function and satisfaction in men and women alike.

9. Improved Immunity

Stress negatively impacts the immune system, and yoga and meditation are great ways to reduce it. Moreover, they can also impact the body on a genetic level. Yoga and meditation affect the immune system cells and minimize the biological mechanisms that cause inflammation during stressful situations.

10. Pain Relief

A number of studies have concluded that asana practice can ease lower back pain. It can also relieve pain caused different kinds of chronic conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

11. Longevity

Yogis have long stated that yoga lengthens lifespan. Science has backed the fact that yoga practice indeed can make you live longer. The answer lies in our DNA. Telomeres which are a part of chromosomes and act like aglets of our DNA strands shorten as we age.

The lifestyle that we lead affects the rate at which they do so. A few studies have shown that yoga, pranayama, and meditation are among the practices that can not only slow down but even reverse the shortening of telomeres. This means that you get to live longer.

Yoga is a practice for the body and mind. In addition to the physiological benefits, there are also plenty of psychological ones as well. Be sure to check them out in this article.

A Word of Caution

Despite all the perks, be sure to take specifics of your individual body in mind when you practice yoga. In the past years, there has been an increasing number of yoga-related injuries which could actually be prevented. Consult your physician first if you have any prior injuries or health conditions.

Also, be realistic about your abilities when choosing the level and intensity of the class. Though competitiveness permeates today’s society, yoga is totally not about it.

Leave your competitive spirit by the door before stepping into a class. Come with an open mind and reap the benefits it offers.


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There are 4 comments

  1. Lee

    Thanks for the share. I love yoga as it enhances mental alertness and it really helps in overall fitness and health. I am taking yoga very seriously and just slowly transitioning to advance poses

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