5 Amazing Health Benefits of Yoga You Wouldn't Expect
Yoga is one of the simplest forms of exercise you can do to improve your health, mind, and body. All you need is a yoga mat, and some comfortable clothing or none if you prefer naked yoga!
Research shows that adding this ancient practice into your lifestyle can help boost your brain and heart health as well as the body strength and flexibility— just to name a few.
To put simply, there is not a thing yoga can not improve!
So if you've have been thinking about getting started, here are five reasons to motivate and propel you forward.
1. Improves Your Flexibility
If you've ever watched a yoga class or people doing yoga poses, one thing you probably noticed is that they pretty flexible.
Especially performing poses such as the downward facing dog, seated forward bend, and standing forward fold.
This doesn't mean you need to be flexible to do yoga, but if you practice regularly and stick with it, you'll notice a gradual increase in your flexibility. And eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become a piece of cake.
In addition to an improvement in your flexibility, aches and pains will start to disappear, which is often associated with tight hips, lower back, and rounded shoulders from sitting long hours at a desk.
Overall your posture and body alignment will improve significantly all because of the improvement in your flexibility.
2. Develop Your Strength
Although the infamous spiritual and transformational benefits of yoga themselves make this practice worth a try, don't discredit its effectiveness as a physical activity.
Some yoga poses or postures help you become (and stay) fit and trim, control your weight, and reduce your stress level.
According to The American Council on Exercise's study on yoga, the participants who practiced 8 weeks of Hatha Yoga increased their muscle mass and improved their physical strength (they were able to perform more pushups and sit-ups after the study.)
This comes as no surprise to yoga practitioners as common postures such as four-limbed staff pose also known as Chaturanga and boat pose are bodyweight exercises that stimulate muscles the same way pushups, crunches, and planks do.
Through different poses, yoga builds strength, flexibility, and stamina.
3. Reduce Your Stress Level
When yoga is practiced with intention, it can help you relax your mind and body and give you the feeling of oneness.
According to Yoga Journal, yoga postures (poses) that combine stretching exercises, controlled breathing, and relaxation techniques can help you reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve heart function.
4. Increase Your Sex Drive
It's been said that our overall appetite for sex decrease as we age.
Well, research suggests that yoga may help you get a boost and improve your sex drive.
A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (Nov. 12, 2009) found that regular yoga practice improves women's sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction.
Is there a particular pose for it? You bet!
Harvard Health Publications listed Cobra Pose as a yoga pose that enhances sexual function.
In addition to improving your physical strength, and flexibility, reducing your stress and enhance your mental focus, yoga can also help you get better sleep at night. According to Harvard Medical School patients with sleep disorder improved their quality of sleep by practicing yoga daily for 8 weeks.
5. May Help You Lose Weight
Just like any other form of exercise, yoga can be an effective tool for weight loss.
Even though most yoga is not as fast-paced as some cardio and HIIT workouts, you still burn calories which drives weight loss.
According to Harvard Health, a 155-pound person can burn 149 calories during 30 minutes of Hatha yoga, the most common class of yoga in fitness gyms and yoga studios.
Since the most effective way to lose weight is through exercise and healthy eating, practicing yoga definitely qualifies as a weight loss tool.
I have been practicing yoga for past five years. And despite yoga being my only form of exercise at times, I have been able to maintain a healthy weight.
Take Home Message
Yoga offers major benefits that can impact your health and life from the inside out.
Adding yoga to your lifestyle can improve your health, help you lose weight, and increase your sex drive just to name a few.
It will uplift your mood and help you sleep better at night.
So are you ready to kick-start your journey with yoga?
As we mentioned earlier, yoga is one of the simplest forms of exercise you can get started with. You don't need a gym or exercise equipment to begin.