Yoga is an artful form of exercise that promotes flexibility, balance, stress relief, and physical fitness. More than that, yoga also presents plenty of opportunities for self-reflection and self-awareness. It’s a great way to get to know one’s true Self. Simultaneously, you can connect with the true meaning of the physical practice.
That said, many people come to yoga to experience both the physical and mental benefits that it provides. But what exactly does yoga do for your body and brain? If you’re on the fence about getting started, then these benefits might just give you the push you need.
What Yoga Does To Your Body and Brain: Top Benefits
We all know that yoga is highly beneficial to one’s mental and physical health. But how, exactly? In this section, we will talk about what yoga does to your body and brain, and how these effects contribute to your overall well-being:
Improved balance and flexibility
Doing yoga helps improve your balance by building your strength, focus, and alignment. When you do yoga poses, your body learns how to find the right alignment to keep itself in the correct position. Simultaneously, your muscles become stronger as you engage them to keep yourself from falling.
More than that, yoga is also a great way to improve your flexibility. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and widen your range of motion. When you do yoga regularly, your flexibility will improve more and more over time. Eventually, you will be able to do more difficult poses with enough practice.
Increased strength and muscle tone
Yoga challenges your body to hold itself in difficult positions for a certain amount of time. This, in turn, engages your muscles and improves your overall strength. With regular practice, yoga makes a good supplementary exercise to your regular workout routine. It can help you build muscle. With sufficient frequency, yoga can even help speed up your weight loss efforts, too.
We know what you’re thinking – is yoga actually effective for weight loss? Be sure to check out our guide if you want to do yoga as a means to shed extra pounds!
When you think about pain relief, perhaps the last thing on your mind is getting up and doing tricky poses on a yoga mat. But as counterintuitive as it seems, yoga is an excellent way to get rid of pain and minimize the risk of it coming back.
Doing yoga regularly is effective for reducing inflammation and releasing muscle tension. Furthermore, yoga also helps improve flexibility and build strength, which prevents pain from occurring in the first place. With these benefits combined, yoga makes for an effective method to relieve pain and a healthier alternative to taking painkillers, especially for those who suffer from chronic pain and arthritis symptoms.
The practice of yoga aims to connect the mind and body. It promotes relaxation and improves your ability to focus, calm, and balance yourself. This is mainly due to the breathing techniques incorporated in yoga, which help us move from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”).
That said, one of the most lauded benefits of yoga is stress relief. Practicing yoga regularly helps increase your body’s awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; promotes mental clarity and calmness; and enhances your focus. As a result, you are less likely to experience the negative effects of stress both on your physical and mental well-being, such as anxiety, body pain, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
If you want to learn more about how yoga can help mental health, you can read all about it in our previous blog.
Improved cardiovascular health
Experts associate regular yoga practice with healthier hearts. This is because doing yoga regularly can help reduce your stress levels as well as any inflammation you may have in your body. As a result, you have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Plus, doing yoga also helps address other factors that can lead to heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure (hypertension).
The mental and physical exertion from doing yoga can result in less sleep latency, fewer sleep disturbances, and deeper sleep. So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, yoga can help relax both your mind and body enough so that you can fall and stay asleep much easier.
As a result, you’ll have more energy during the day and you will experience less daytime sleepiness. Of course, better sleep also leads to brighter moods, which can help you stay happy and productive throughout the day.
Less risk of injury
When your joints and muscles are weak, you are more prone to injury because your body is more likely to sustain damage. For example, when your ankle rarely gets any stretching, it is more likely to sprain in case you trip and fall.
This is one of the risks that yoga aims to reduce. By strengthening your muscles and increasing your flexibility with yoga, you are less prone to sprains, cramps, strains, and other types of injuries. If you play sports, consider adding yoga to your workout routine to minimize your risk of injury, serious or otherwise.
Final Thoughts On What Yoga Does To Your Body and Brain
As you can see, yoga can do a lot of things for both your physical and mental health. It can help you build a better physique; learn healthier coping mechanisms; form well-rounded habits, and find better ways to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety. But, of course, you have to try it out for yourself if you want to experience these benefits and more.
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