Yoga Isn’t Just Stretching
Everyone dreams of having a healthy body at all times. It takes a lot of courage and effort to achieve such a goal, and there are many factors involved in the process. You need a well-balanced diet, a healthy sleep cycle, proper exercise, and a positive disposition doesn’t hurt either. Sounds like a tall order, right? Well practicing yoga can help you achieve your health and fitness goals by impacting all of these areas.
The health benefits of yoga
Changes in our environment and living conditions have caused the human body to become prone to infections, inflammation, and poor health. Research shows that our bodies accumulate harmful toxins from the air we breathe and even the food we eat.
To address this issue, several studies have been done to determine how to get rid of these toxins. One way to combat these toxins is to perform yoga. This form of exercise has shown high potential in getting rid of toxins because of its positive impact on a multitude of our body’s functions.
Here we list the top seven reasons you should be doing yoga to improve your health:
Improves blood circulation
Practicing yoga involves several techniques such as stretching, muscle relaxation, and proper breathing which has a very positive impact on the heart and blood circulation.
There are several poses which increase the delivery of fresh blood to areas such as the spine and your glands (which are responsible for shuttling hormones throughout your body, thereby also lowering your inflammation).
Over time your circulatory system will strengthen and you will see improvement in body function across the board.
Do you feel lethargic during the day? The different poses in yoga can provide an invigorating effect on both your body and mind. The more in-tune you are with your mind and body (called the mind-body connect), the more energetic you will feel.
As you learn to cleanse yourself of bad energy and move better, you will begin to see more functional and efficient movement patterns and breathing, which in turn increases and maintains your energy levels.
Stimulates the lymphatic system
Our lymphatic system is responsible for clearing out toxins (such as bacteria, viruses, and even cancer cells) and shuttling white blood cells to our muscles, organs, and bones for healing and repair.
To ensure the lymph fluids actually move around within our bodies, we need to contract our muscles. Yoga uses inversion exercises to accomplish this task.
Since gravity is a major player in our circulation (including the lymph fluid), putting our heads below our hearts in key poses further increases the efficacy of our lymphatic system and also our health.
Performing yoga can keep you healthier by increasing your immune response.
Lowers blood pressure
Yoga helps reduce the risk of hypertension by lowering your blood pressure. This is primarily due to the profound effect it has on the mind and body.
Yoga reduces stress and other risks factors associated with high blood pressure, such as obesity and high blood sugar. Due to the challenging yet gentle nature of yoga poses, your body is forced to increase its blood flow, strengthen its cardiovascular system, and increase muscle tissue, helping you to lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
Helps achieve proper bone health
Bone density is a major concern as we age. Yoga encourages that proper posture is practiced during sessions and challenges our bones to hold poses which increase our muscle tissue response. This allows you to stretch your body for greater flexibility, relying on a sound bone structure to hold your weight.
The different positions practiced during yoga also increase bone density for better power, strength, and stability.
Improves your heart rate
Due to the challenging nature of the poses, yoga forces your cardiovascular system to work hard during any given session. Between focusing on and increasing your breathing to the workload you’re putting onto your muscles, yoga is a great workout for your heart.
Considering the exercises done include things like squats, stretches, lunges, and crunches, as well as challenging flexibility poses…
Yoga will help you increase your lung capacity and improve your respiratory system and heart rate.
Lowers blood sugar
Yoga can help you stabilize you blood sugar by lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, and decreasing excess fatty tissue.
It also helps by decreasing the secretion of hormones responsible for high glucose levels. While this is not a replacement for diabetic treatments, it is an added benefit to helping maintain proper insulin response and for controlling your sugars.
Yoga can be practiced by any level of exerciser, at any age. Physiotherapists, personal trainers, Pilates instructors, and even NFL players utilize yoga poses to help strengthen their bodies and increase their cardiovascular systems.
With the wide variety of exercises available, you are sure to find a program varied enough to keep your interest and challenging enough for you see some of the results listed here.
Not sure where to start? Try our 20 minute full-body yoga and Pilates workout here!