When yoga studios began hitting the market is mass, many thought that this thousands of years old practice would be a passing craze. It turns out that yoga has stood the test of time and adopted a wide range of faithful followers. The reasons why people love yoga can range drastically, but it is understood that yoga has many benefits, including some unexpected ones. Here are five surprising benefits of yoga.
Yoga is relaxing. It allows us to breathe in relaxation and to breathe out all of our troubles. Studies have shown that practicing yoga, with Asana methods, is linked to improved stress levels in the body. Yoga reduces cortisol levels and activates a lower resting heart rate. In the journal of Frontiers in Psychiatry, it was found that yoga can also help with depression, sleep disorders, and as a form of augmentation therapy.
Your heart loves yoga as much as you do. A study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga could “decrease both systolic and diastolic BP.” With high blood pressure being one of the major heart disease risk factors, yoga could be just what you need. The study concluded that both “meditation and yoga are demonstrated to be effective alternatives to pharmacotherapy.” Why pop unnecessary pills when you could do yoga instead?
Yoga isn’t just stretching; it is a full-on workout. A typical yoga session will exercise all of your major muscle groups, as well as some muscles you rarely use. Holding down dog, warrior, tree, and crow pose engage your muscles, increase strength, and burn calories. Many people who are new to yoga find that they not only lose weight but gain muscle mass. Doing an hour of intense yoga can be an equivalent alternative to spending an hour at the gym.
You may have heard of detox yoga; however, you don’t need to take one of these specific classes to receive the benefits. Moving between positions in yoga "applies gentle pressure and stimulation to the digestive organs" like the kidneys and the liver. This encourages your body to process out any unsavory things in your body. Twisting poses, in particular, are an excellent way to nudge your body in a healthy direction.
Participating in yoga takes focus, and many instructors encourage practitioners to look within themselves during the class. This allows people to take a moment to settle the mind, breathe, and re-focus their energy into an affirmative action that will serve them inside the class, and once they leave. The benefits of this action will leave practitioners with improved concentration, stimulated creativity, increased confidence, and a sense of being grounded within oneself. Yoga will make you ready to take on the day ahead.
Yoga has many significant benefits that have turned countless people into avid yogis. As more and more studies are published, we are finding numerous surprising benefits of yoga that we never knew before. So put on some comfy clothes, unfold your mat, and take a few minutes to practice an ageless art that has benefited individuals for thousands of years.