Yoga is a relaxing exercise. It is a great way to break away from all the stress and chaos. More than that, did you know that yoga offers a lot of benefits that can improve your mental and physical health?
If you want to convince yourself to try yoga or to continue doing it, here are some of the amazing benefits of yoga for your mental and physical health:
Helps manage stress, anxiety, and depression
If you are thinking that yoga can help you deal with stress, anxiety, or even with symptoms of depression, well you are right. Studies have shown that regularly practicing yoga may lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Lower cortisol levels alleviate stress that can help you stay calmer. It can also help you manage symptoms of depression better. Yoga practice is also shown to increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain that helps improve mood and lower anxiety levels.
Improves quality of life during illness
While more studies are needed to make strong conclusions, yoga proves to be a very promising complementary therapy to conventional medicine. Many studies have shown how regular yoga practice has helped improve the quality of lives for patients who suffer from cancer, stroke, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), and asthma.
In the current pandemic, yoga may be helpful in managing the covid-19 infection as it helps boost the immune system, strengthens muscles, removes toxins from the body, and keeps anxiety and mental health in check.
Boosts positive body image
Have you noticed that most yoga studios don’t have mirrors? This is because yoga is practiced in such a way that keeps your focus inward – your breath, your movement. It is not focused on how your pose or other people’s pose looks. As you develop this habit, yoga can foster positive body image and promote your self-esteem. In fact, studies have shown that those who exercised yoga were more satisfied and less judgmental of their own bodies than those who do not do yoga.
Promotes mindful eating
If you are prone to stress or emotional eating, then yoga can be your friend. Regularly doing yoga can increase self-awareness, including how your body feels. Such awareness does not just remain during yoga practice, but is carried over to your other routines, including eating. Yoga can help you become a mindful eater.
To back this up, surveys have shown that people who practiced yoga had better mindful eating scores. The results mean that they are more aware of how their food looks, tastes, and smells; they stress-eat less often (or not at all); and they are less likely to eat when they are full, among other indicators.
Helps in weight management
It’s no secret that yoga, being a form of physical exercise, can help you burn calories that aid you with weight loss. However, there is more to it than just being a calorie-burning exercise. As we have mentioned earlier, yoga promotes mindful eating. This mindful approach to eating can make you more sensitive to feelings of fullness that cautions you to eat just enough and helps you avoid unnecessary eating.
Mindful eating can also make you sensitive to feelings of hunger, which is a good thing if you are struggling to gain weight. Whatever your goal is, yoga can help you with weight management.
Improves flexibility and endurance
Yoga is a complex practice that involves many elements, including physical postures or asanas, meditation or dyana, and breathing techniques or pranayama. Researchers have found out that regular practice of yoga can increase flexibility, endurance, and even muscle strength.
Aids in cardiovascular health
According to Hugh Calkins, M.D. of Johns Hopkins, many studies have already shown the benefits of yoga in different aspects of heart health. High cortisol levels can narrow down arteries and increase blood pressure, causing heart-related diseases. Yoga has been observed to help people relax and lower cortisol (stress) levels, helping boost their heart health. Yoga may also lower blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels, improve metabolic syndrome, and even aid people to stop smoking. All these make yoga a great exercise for improving cardiovascular health without even revving up your heart rate as other cardio exercises.
Other amazing benefits of yoga include alleviating menopause symptoms, improving sleep quality, and providing lower back pain relief through meditation, body poses, and breathing techniques.
For such a relaxing exercise, the benefits of yoga are pretty amazing. According to studies, yoga may:
help manage stress, anxiety, and depression;
improve quality of life during illness;
boost positive body image;
promote mindful eating;
help in weight management;
improve flexibility and endurance; and
aid in cardiovascular health.
If you want to stay mentally and physically healthy without stressing your body too much, yoga would be your best option. So why don’t you grab your mat, and make yoga a habit.