The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga was once a hobby of only the Eastern world, but today practicing yoga has become mainstream.

Most yoga classes will involve a combination of breathing exercises, meditation and asanas (aka poses/postures). While there are numerous different types of yoga, some benefits are common to them all.

The mood and mental health benefits of yoga are widely acknowledged both anecdotally and in the literature. In fact, yoga may be as good for your mood as more traditional forms of exercise. This may be partially due to moving the body, but also to do with the mindfulness and breathing techniques explored in yoga. This mindfulness found in yoga may also carry over into other areas of your life. For example, you may find yourself eating more mindfully, chewing each mouthful slowly, putting your cutlery down in between mouthfuls rather than inhaling your food and wondering why you are still hungry afterwards!

The physical benefits of yoga also shouldn’t be underestimated. Just like strength training, yoga provides a stimulus for muscles to get stronger. Your shoulders will get stronger through the planks and chaturangas, core stronger through planks, chaturangas and balance poses, back stronger through arm balances and back bends and legs through warrior poses and balance poses.

On the flip side the stretching in forward folds, back bends and twists may also help alleviate aches and pains and recover from your strength and cardio workouts. This stretching can also aid reversing a poor sitting posture at work. Just like other forms of exercise, yoga also burns energy, helping with weight maintenance.

References

Yoga – Benefits Beyond the Mat

A YOGA INTERVENTION FOR YOUNG ADULTS WITH ELEVATED SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION.

The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies

Yoga Workouts