20 Beneficial Reasons To Start Practicing Yoga Today
In the last couple of years, yoga has grown immensely in popularity and joined the mainstream fitness realm. While yoga may seem like a new fad, yoga is a practice that began over 5000 years ago. Practicing yoga connects the mind, body and spirit through movement (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and meditation. This mind-body combination of exercises has many health benefits. Whether you’re a fitness pro or a complete exercise newbie, yoga is a great addition to your routine.
If you’re looking for more reasons to hop on your mat to try yoga, here are twenty benefits to practicing yoga to inspire you to move, flow and breathe!
1. Great For All Ages and Levels
Yoga is a wonderful option for exercise and movement for all ages and skill levels. Since it can easily be modified with different props and movements, it’s truly a practice that can be enjoyed by all.
2. Improves Flexibility
One of the most popular benefits of a consistent yoga practice is improved flexibility. Moving your body and stretching daily can improve flexibility, especially in tight areas of the body as we age and sedentary lifestyles lead to loss of flexibility. Even a quick ten minute stretch daily can make a difference.
3. Helps You to Manage & Reduce Stress
Yoga is a wonderful tool to help reduce stress! The focus on breath and movements is a great way to detach from the constant worry and non-stop thoughts to provide a much needed break from your stressors.
4. Maintains Cartilage and Joint Health
When you practice yoga, it allows your joints to move through their entire range of motion to help maintain and strengthen joint health. All the added movement helps to lubricate joints with nutrients while movement can loosen muscles that create tight joints.
5. Improves Posture
In yoga, the spine is moved in all 6 directions which allows more flexibility and movement in the connective tissues around the spine. A healthy spine is paramount for health; improper posture can lead to a myriad of pain and problems. For those that sit at an office job, adding some yoga movements to your daily routine (there are some amazing chair and yoga flows), can be super helpful for improving your posture and back health.
7. Supports Immune Health
Yoga can be a wonderful addition to maintaining and supporting immune health. The movement in yoga is helpful for increasing blood flow and helps to drain lymph nodes for a more functional lymphatic system.
8. Builds Muscle Strength
Yoga poses, or asanas, are often body weight bearing movements that build muscular strength and endurance. As you practice continuously, you’ll get stronger and see improved muscular tone combined with flexibility that can lead to long and lean muscles for a toned look.
9. Yoga Can Be Done Anywhere
Yoga requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. All you need is a clear space, your body and breath to practice. With that said, there are many wonderful yoga props that can be incredibly helpful, especially for modifying poses and to offer support. A supportive yoga mat is a great addition if you practice regularly.
10. Yoga Can Energize You
Yoga can get a wonderful boost of energy. Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee, try an energizing flow to help awaken and energize when you’re feeling sluggish. Some postures, such as backbends or inversions, can offer a boost of natural energy to your practice.
11. Gets Your Blood Flowing
The movement associated with yoga can increase your blood flow, improve your circulation and support heart health. A sweaty faster-paced vinyasa flow really gets the blood flowing, inversions provide a major boost of oxygenated blood, and twists help to bring blood to your internal organs.
12. Great For Athletes Of All Kinds
Yoga is a great exercise to add to cross-training for athletes of all types. Yoga combines strength building and flexibility which is incredibly important for athletes. For runners, yoga can be a great restorative practice for deeper stretches.. Weight-lifters and other athletes can gain an increased range of motion with a regular yoga practice.
13. Eases Pain and Stiffness
Yoga is wonderful for easing pain and stiffness by working on flexibility and strengthening. Yoga improves circulation to stiff joints and muscles to help provide relief and loosen sore muscles. Many yoga movements and asanas are low-impact which makes it a great exercise for those that suffer with back pain, arthritis or those with injuries.
14. Helps You Focus
Yoga can help fine-tune your focus which can lead to you having an easier time focusing on tasks. The focus needed during yoga when combining breath and poses (especially balance poses) sharpens your attention. This practice makes it easier to focus on tasks even when you’re not on your mat. Improved focus allows you to be more productive in many areas of life (school, work, home).
15. Provides Connection
Yoga practice encourages you to look inward and connect with your body, mind and spirit for a deepened inward connection to your needs and true-self. Attending regular yoga classes also connects you with other like-minded and supportive individuals. Yoga classes can provide a wonderful and supportive community.
16. Improves Balance
When you practice yoga regularly, it can increase your proprioception which is your body’s perception or awareness of its position and movement in space. Fine-tuning this ability leads to increased and improved balance. Good balance is incredibly important, especially as we age, as it can reduce risk of falls and injuries.
17. Helps You Sleep Better
Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation can lead to deeper and better sleep. Regular exercise has shown to improve overall sleep. The addition of breathing awareness and regulation that is the foundation of yoga is a great relaxation technique that can lead to falling asleep faster for a more restful and deep sleep.
18. Yoga Can Make You Happier
In yoga philosophy, santosha is one of the virtues of yoga which means contentment. Practicing santosha allows us to find contentment in all situations. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is always perfect, but it’s actively working to be grateful and content with what we have. Having and expressing gratitude for what we have can lead to greater contentment and happiness.
19. Improves Your Mindfulness Practice
Yoga continuously allows you to check in with your inner-self, tune into your breath, and learn to be as present as possible in the current moment. Yoga practice is a great means of preparing the body for mindful meditation. A regular yoga practice helps reframe the mind to be less reactive and to cultivate more mindfulness in your daily life.
20. Promotes Self-Care
When you take time for yoga, you become more connected to your body and aware of what makes it feel best. This connection allows you to become more in tune with your needs. This can be empowering in allowing you to make the changes needed to live your best, healthiest life. In time, you’ll find yourself making healthier lifestyle choices because you truly appreciate a healthy body and mind.