Yoga has been around for centuries, and most people can name popular poses such as ‘sun pose’ and ‘downward dog.’
However, yoga has an image problem.
Many people think that yoga is only suitable for super-flexible people who can do handstands, but the truth is, no matter your experience level, you can benefit from yoga.
Yoga’s health benefits range from improved sleep to better balance and many things in between. Let’s dive in and find out how yoga can improve your health.
1. Yoga Improves Flexibility
Many yoga poses incorporate stretches, which, when done over time, can improve your flexibility.
As we age, many older adults lose flexibility. Regular yoga can be a way to maintain this flexibility, making other exercises easier.
2. Yoga Helps You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Yoga has been shown to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which is partially responsible for keeping us relaxed. Yoga also encourages mindfulness, and many regular yoga devotees swear that the exercise puts them into a meditative state.
Many yoga poses don’t just focus on movement. They also focus on breathing and mindset, with the goal of keeping you calm and reducing stress. This calm feeling increases your chance of sleeping well at night.
Other ways to improve sleep include reducing your afternoon caffeine intake, setting a regular sleep routine, and investing in an adjustable bed, such as Flexispot’s adjustable bed base, to reduce snoring and discomfort.
3. Yoga Makes You Stronger
Many yoga poses double up as bodyweight exercises, which improve your strength and muscle mass. Regular yoga can help you hold positions like the plank for longer, therefore improving muscular endurance.
Plus, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, so yoga helps you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Yoga Can Reduce Anxiety
Since yoga combines physical poses with breathing exercises, positive thoughts, and mindfulness, it’s effective at reducing anxiety and generally acting as a mood-booster.
Long-term yoga practise can reduce the symptoms of many mental health issues with its focus on breathing techniques and staying in the present moment.
Even putting time aside to do a yoga class is a form of self-care, which can lead to increased feelings of self-esteem and an improved mood.
5. Yoga Improves Balance
Many of yoga’s most iconic poses involve a fair amount of balance. Some more advanced poses, including headstands, require lots of balance, flexibility, and core strength, so practising yoga long-term is guaranteed to increase your balance.
As you age, it can be harder to maintain balance even when performing simple movements such as going up and down stairs, so this yoga benefit is excellent for longevity.
6. Yoga Can Boost Immunity
As with other popular forms of exercise, yoga can boost your immune health, making it easier to fight off infections such as the common cold.
The reason for this is still unclear, but scientists people it comes down to yoga’s ability to reduce inflammation. Yoga is also beneficial for strength, cardiovascular health, and reducing stress - all factors that can contribute to a robust immune system.
7. Yoga Can Improve Bone Health
Building muscle through strength training improves bone density, which is crucial as we age and our bones become more fragile.
Although yoga isn’t considered a traditional form of strength training, many yoga poses, including plank, require a great deal of strength and can help increase muscle mass.
This increased muscle mass improves bone density and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
8. Yoga Supports Weight Loss
Upbeat yoga flows can increase your heart rate and therefore improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. Many of the bodyweight poses in yoga build muscle mass, which improves your resting metabolic rate.
This simply means that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when resting. In time, with healthy eating and other forms of exercise, yoga can contribute to healthy weight loss.
9. Yoga Can Enhance Brainpower
Yoga isn’t just about movement; it’s also about focus and mindfulness. Practising this mindfulness can enhance your brainpower and ability to concentrate in other situations.
Yoga can also improve sleep, and when we sleep well, we improve our cognitive abilities. If you need a little brain boost before an exam or a tricky work presentation, try a 20-minute yoga session to enhance your brainpower.
10. Yoga Helps Mindfulness
Yoga asks us to focus on our breathing and yoga poses, coming together to create a mindful experience that can support our ability to focus and improve mental health.
The Bottom Line
The various health benefits that come with practising yoga are undeniable. For the best health outcomes, adopt yoga as part of your routine for around 20 minutes, 3-4 times per week.