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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.