It's often said that "Yoga is the fountain of youth--you're only as young as your spine is flexible."
Whether you're a yoga-novice, an old pro or generally skeptical about the benefits of the ancient art, the science of this old adage holds up in a lot of ways. The benefits of regular yoga practice are ample--from strengthening, regulating, and relaxing the physical body, to improving mental and emotional experiences, it's simple: yoga is good for you.
If you're looking to feel a few years younger, bend a little better, and appreciate life a little more, read on! Here are the top 10 benefits of doing yoga on the regular.
1. Strengthens Immunity
Most forms of movement are great for the immune system--but because of its twisting, turning, bending, and stretching, yoga is an exceptionally powerful way to boost your body's immunity overall.
Yoga allows your body to spend time focused on its parasympathetic nervous system, rather than its sympathetic one. This means your body is giving a break to the parts of your body that cause stress, and putting emphasis on the parts of your body that focus on rest and digestion--and, by extension, your immune system overall.
2. Regulates Metabolism
Yoga, especially when performed in the morning, can work wonders for keeping your metabolism in tip-top shape.
Yoga works to get your blood and muscles moving, which helps make the process of absorbing your food's nutrients easier and more effective. Yoga's emphasis on breathing, too, helps with the body's circulation as a whole, which also boosts the metabolism.
For best metabolism-boosting results, start your yoga practice early in the day, before you've had breakfast.
3. Clears Toxins
While there is a level of debate as to whether or not yoga can actually be regarded as a method of detox, it's undeniable that the ways in which yoga asks us to move our bodies certainly stimulates the body's expulsion of toxins.
Getting your body moving helps to remove toxins from the body more quickly. On a mental level, too, yoga helps to center the mind and clear toxic thoughts.
4. Increases Strength
If you've ever practiced yoga before, you'll know it's about a whole lot more than simply bending over and stretching.
Yoga is widely regarded as a suitable replacement for weight training. While traditional weight training is aimed at working one muscle per group at a time, the muscle movement required for yoga keeps muscles all across the body stretching and moving throughout your workout.
5. Recenters Balance
Yoga is often associated with ideas of balance--achieving balance and serenity within the self and between the body and mind. Many commonly-practiced yoga poses cause the brain to fire the neurons necessary for muscle memory and subconscious spatial awareness.
Yoga can also significantly reinforce and sometimes rebuild physical balance, as well. Yoga helps to strengthen physical muscles--especially in the feet, where you keep over 100 of them!
6. Improves Focus
One of the major goals of yoga is to calm and declutter the mind. Regular yoga works to help the practicer to intentionally direct their energies and concentration, to become more present and aware as a whole.
Further, research has actually proven the fact that, following a yoga class, practicers can more easily focus, process information, learn, and retain knowledge.
Simply by starting your day with yoga, you'll move forward with stronger focus and a more active presence in all moments of your day.
7. Reduces Anxiety
Did you know that erratic or shallow breathing, bad posture, and generally tensed muscles are both a cause and a result of prolonged anxiety in the body? Because they are.
Practicing yoga helps improve breathing patterns by asking practicers to be mindful of individual breaths; yoga asks people to be aware of the air in their lungs, of the ways in which their chest moves, and the way in which the rest of the body feels as they breathe. The stretching and poses involved with practicing yoga, too, help to target issues in posture and general tension in the body.
Yoga naturally targets the symptoms and physical causes of anxiety; thus, releasing much of it from the body.
8. Boosts Self-Awareness
Many exercise activities are structured around a group or team setting--so one of the most unique and impactful benefits of yoga is the amount of emphasis the practice places on the self.
One of the Eight Limbs of Yoga is actually structured around ideas of self-discovery and self-awareness. This limb, "Pratyahara," asks for the senses and awarenesses to turn inward, to consider the internal self, instead of only the physical body. It hopes to help practicers discover more about themselves, connecting more deeply within.
9. Teaches Mindfulness
Remember that mindfulness app you downloaded in the spring? The one that asked you to lie still and meditate for an hour each night? The one you haven't opened...since the spring...?
Mindfulness is important. It's necessary to acknowledge every aspect of daily life, to take the time to process and connect with all the energy around you.
You may think that mindfulness requires its own, separate, time-consuming practice. You'll likely find increased mindfulness through yoga. Be mindful of your breath, mindful of your muscles, mindful of your actions and how they impact the world around you.
10. Promotes Happiness
With respect to all the combined benefits of yoga; emotional, mental, and physical alike. It's hardly a surprise that the regular practice of yoga can help you to feel happier overall.
Approach yoga with an open mind and a body that's ready to grow. You'll soon find this openness extends to the rest of your life. Even far away from your trusty yoga mat; you'll find yourself feeling more content, less anxious, and happier in every moment of your days.
Are There More Benefits of Doing Yoga?
The benefits of regular yoga practice are endless. Whether you decide to join a class or spread out your mat on your own back porch, you'll quickly feel the peace and good energy that regularly doing yoga can bring.
Practice with intention and learn more about the benefits of yoga by checking out our site!