Yoga is an ancient practice that helps to build flexibility, muscle strength as well as a deeper connection to your body and breathing. However, the benefits of yoga do not stop with improving your physical fitness. It can also help, through breathing techniques and an increased connectedness to your body, to improve your mental health. Yoga is not just glorified stretching. It is so much more. So, how does yoga improve not just your body, but also your brain?
- Breathe Deeply
One of the most considerable advantages of yoga is the emphasis it places on breath. In our daily lives we do not pay attention to our breathing, and this means that you are not connecting to your breath in ways that could improve your abilities to perform various tasks. By learning to focus on breathing and how it affects your body, you can measure your breath with more control. This control helps to improve endurance, regulate blood flow in the body, and can help you to stay calmer and relaxed on daily basis. Regulating blood flow helps with improving the function of muscles, organs, and even your immune system.
The Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath or Ocean Breath) is a classic pranayama practice which is known for its soft, soothing sound that is similar to breaking ocean waves. This practice can further improve the relaxation response of slow breathing as the vibrations in the larynx are responsible for stimulating sensory receptors that signal the vagus nerve to induce a calming effect.
Concentrate on your breath during yourasana practice. Inhale through your nose and then open your mouth and exhale gradually. While you do this, make a “HA” sound. Attempt this a few times and then close your mouth. Keep the back of your throat in the same shape you used to make the “HA,” as you exhale through the nose.
2. Posture, Balance, Strength
Yoga is a physical exercise and is accessible to a wide range of individuals as it is low impact and poses can be adjusted based on experience and general fitness levels. It helps to improve your posture and balance, which in turn helps to improve your joint strength and reducing the risk of injury from other physical activity. It also builds muscle strength, helping you to maintain your physical health overall.
3. Up and Down
Yoga, like other forms of aerobic activity, raises your heart rate. Regular periods of activity improve your heart’s functions and lowers your risk of heart attacks. It also helps to lower your resting heart rate and lower your blood pressure, both of which help with maintaining your overall health in the long term.
Getting your heart beating faster each day than it is resting rate trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles in a more efficient manner. This assist your muscles to use that fuel more economically as well, and finally you move with more ease. Put another way, you end up in shape.
4. Happy and Focused
Studies suggest that regular yoga practice help to decrease your risk of depression and may improve symptoms of depression. Consistent practice is associated with higher levels of serotonin. It is also associated with improved abilities in memory and focus meditation apps. The meditative nature of yoga helps to calm the mind, improve coordination, and enhance your memory.
Since the 1970s, meditation as well as other stress-reduction practices have been studied as possible treatments for depression as well as anxiety. Yoga has garnered less attention in the medical literature although it has become increasingly popular in recent times. One national survey estimated, for instance, that about 7.5% of U.S. adults had tried yoga on at least one occasion, and that nearly 4% practised yoga in the previous 12 months.
Yoga is so much more than merely a way to stretch and workout, it is something that can improve your physical strength and your mental abilities. And these are just a few of the ways that yoga can help to improve your life, there are many more bonuses to be found when you decide to include yoga into your workout regime.