People often limit the benefits of yoga to simple stretching, a great way for people who are wishing to relax and not excercise too much. My husband used to joke about yoga not being too physical until he started praticing along... And got exhausted after a 30 minutes session :-).
Yoga comes in many different forms and shapes and that is the beauty of it.
- It adapts to the different temperaments: some people might need gentler forms while others need hardcore physical yoga.
- Practicing yoga provides just what you need at any given moment of the day: energise in the morning, relax in the evening, remove knots during the day, balance your emotions etc.
- It works beyond limitations: women on their menstruation, handicaped, sick or elderly people can practice it and get all its benefits.
Here are 10 yoga benefits that easily come to my mind (and there are many more):
1 - the first visible benefit is physical: it stretches the body, relaxes tensed zones, makes you feel lighter and provides an overall better posture.
2 - by relaxing your body, your mind relaxes too. It helps you reconnect with your body and calms the mind.
3 - it strengthens the body: unlike a gym workout, it tones up your muscles and core in a deeper way, reaching deep tissues.
4 - Better focus: by calming the mind and focusing on the different elements of the pose, you see clearer and increase your concentration.
5 - Being present: while focusing on your yoga poses, you momentarily forget about all the rest, entering into a pre-meditative mode. This might not happen overnight but as you start practicing on a regular basis, you will sense it. And with time, the switch to being present will happen quicker.
6 - Operates on the physiological level: improved blood circulation, digestion.
7 - Provides organs massage: many poses work on the organs, help them relax, improve the flow of blood through them etc.
8 - Improved breathing: twists and backbends open the chest area providing space to the lungs. Poses such as sarvangasana work on the diaphragm to relax it, thereby providing better deeper breathing. These effects are further improved by incorporating pranayama excercices into your yoga practice.
9 - Energetical blocks removed: each asana works on specific chakras (energetical centers) this in turn improves the energy flow through the body.
10- Ultimate goal of yoga: uniting your body, mind and soul to reach a heightened spiritual level reconnecting with a greater purpose.
Yoga is a truly a self gift of love towards your body, mind and soul. It makes you a better human being improving communication, patience, your relation with others and the planet. We should all practice it!
Photo by Jared Rice - Unsplash.