Yoga is known to be practised since old ages and is a well-reputed form of exercise till today. Its history dates back to around 3000BC and is considered to be originated in ancient India. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual practices which may allow an individual to learn techniques to control body and mind functions. The interesting thing about yoga is the spiritual aspects which according to yoga gurus allow you to control how your mind and body reacts to situations according to your own will contrary to human nature. Due to its core based on meditation and spirituality, modern science has always lacked to find enough evidence in support of the ideas, promoted by Yoga, which is associated with the certain degree of calmness and self-control on senses and behaviour one can achieve.
Yoga is generally accepted as a great means of gaining physical benefits of exercise since it involves a range of postural activities and breathing techniques which have scientifically proven to be very effective for physical health. Although science does not fully support the mental health benefits you can gain from yoga, it is still believed to be useful for relaxing your mind and reduce stress.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Millions of people are around the world practice yoga to make the most of the physical gains it offers. Although there is a long list of advantages you can gain from yoga, some of the most significant benefits are:
Flexibility and Balance:
One of the most significant benefits of yoga is that it improves your flexibility. Since yoga involves multi postural exercises, it enhances your joint movements by reducing stiffness. If you are a beginner you will find it difficult to bend down and touch your toes but after a week or a couple of regular practice, you will be surprised to see the ease with which you will be able to attain basic yoga postures. That’s because regular practice will reduce stiffness in your joints and muscles contributing to increased flexibility. And the aches you might face at the start will gradually disappear.
Similarly, yoga helps improve your balance and posture by strengthening your core muscles. Yoga exercises encourage you to push your core muscles for achieving specific postural positions and the hard part is to retain those postures for a certain time period. This approach helps to improve your balance.
Core Muscle Strength:
Back pains are usually associated with core muscles and spine. Core muscles strength is important in many ways as it is the major contributor to flexibility, balance and endurance-and- improved core muscle strength means more protection to the spine. Yoga helps your core muscles gain strength which specifically is crucial for older people as it helps prevent motor disabilities and injuries. Joint movements in your spine are important to keep you moving around and exercising enough to keep your spine in good shape. Yoga is one of the best ways to focus on improvements in your spine. Since yoga involves exercises which require you to bend and twist your body into certain postures, it helps improve your spine.
Heart rate and Blood Pressure:
Your heart rate is very important for your physical performance and well-being. Heart is the engine that drives your body by providing fuel to all the internal systems in the form of blood. Irregularities in heart rate can lead to many dangerous health conditions. Yoga exercises help you maintain your heart rate and reduce the risk of heart attack and depression. Yoga incorporates calisthenics or bodyweight exercises which affect your heart rate and progressing through yoga, your heart develops the tendency to adjust its heart rates depending on the type of activity you are performing.
High blood pressure commonly known as hypertension is a very common problem among adults and older people. High blood pressure can be caused by various factors leading to harmful or critical health conditions such as stroke, vision loss, heart attack, kidney disease and sexual dysfunction. Yoga is a well-known form of workout that has answers to all these problems. It involves basic to advanced levels of physical activity, is significantly effective for weight-loss and also reduces stress through meditation.
Mental Health Benefits of Yoga:
One of the most prominent benefits of practising yoga is it relieves stress and helps you maintain your focus. With today’s fast-moving world and all the hustle and bustle of life around you, it’s not surprising that you might feel stressed out. Yoga is among the best ways to keep you calm and reduce mental stress. The meditation and breathing techniques in yoga help you to improve your nervous system. Another reason why yoga relieves stress is the physical activity itself which reduces tension and stiffness in your muscles. Relaxed muscles instantly make you feel relaxed.
Furthermore, yoga is good for maintaining quality sleep which is another important factor contributing to overall health and well being. A good sleeping habit helps your body to refresh, reduces fatigue and tiredness, and makes you feel happier. Advanced levels of yoga teach you to attain excellence in behavioural functions of your mind and let you handle feelings of grief, anger, dismay, regret, loss, fear and desire, in a better way. Spiritual aspects of yoga focus on developing the ability to dig deep into one’s self and bring the best out from within. It teaches you to live a disciplined and productive life and embrace the realities of this word, which helps you become psychologically strong.
It is not hard to accept that Yoga has the ability to change your life both in terms of physical fitness and mental health. Incorporating it into your everyday life will enhance your health by increasing strength and flexibility and reducing symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.