Benefits of Yoga

While yoga is a popular type of exercise today, it has its roots in Hindu spiritual practice. Yoga is actually a combination of spiritual, mental, and physical discipline employed for meditation and “consciousness-expansion.” It has various traditions across Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. However, even if you do not employ yoga as a spiritual expression, it has various benefits for practitioners.

Physical Benefits

Muscular Stability

At its most physically basic, yoga requires balancing multiple poses for an extended period of time each. As a result, yoga addresses muscles might be ignored by even the most disciplined gym users: small stability muscles. Yoga practitioners build their body’s ability to support itself with strength and balance.

Improved Posture

Many standing yoga poses, if held for multiple breaths, strengthen the muscles of the abdominals and lower back. Even better, yoga often strengthens the muscles of the deep abdominals, which stabilize the spine. These improvements together result in a straighter, stronger posture with less tension or imbalance.

Better Flexibility

Yoga poses often demand flexibility, stretching and firming muscles up in their most relaxed state. While standard training tends to make people tighter by compacting muscles, yoga builds strength in your limbs and torso when fully extended. This relieves tension in your whole body, which has physical and emotional advantages. One study found that yoga improved flexibility by 35% after only 2 months.

Mental & Emotional Benefits

Anxiety Relief

Anxiety symptoms include muscle tension, elevated heart rate, and rapid breathing. Yoga addresses all of these things through controlled, deep breaths and slow, meditative movements. This lowers the heart rate, often resulting in lower blood pressure for many. When the physical symptoms of anxiety are relieved, many find that their emotional triggers find relief as well.

Improved Concentration

Focusing on poses has a side benefit for those who do yoga: they find that their ability to concentrate improves. The combination of clearing your mind and concentrating solely on one simple task (i.e. holding the pose) allows people to sharpen their focus. During a yoga session, your mind is tuned like a musical instrument, making the rest of your day far more efficient and productive.

Better Mood

Due to deeper, rhythmic breathing and muscle relaxation, people often realize they are in a better mood after a yoga session than when they started. While this is true for many types of exercise, there is a greater sense of well-being that accompanies yoga. Yoga recognizes the connection between the emotional and physical state—because stress and muscle tension are so often linked, relieving the physical issue will often relieve the emotional one.

Ultimately, yoga is a healthy, safe, and wholly beneficial activity that anyone can participate in. It has more benefits than many types of vigorous exercise, but even the most elderly participant can safely and confidently practice yoga.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.