12 Ways Yoga Improves Your Health

If you already work yoga into your fitness regimen, you likely do so because it provides benefits for your health or your mood. If you have not yet started doing yoga, you still probably understand on some level the ways it can improve your overall sense of wellbeing. The truth, though, is that yoga provides benefits throughout your body, improving your health through almost every major system you have working for you.

Different forms, styles, and intensities of yoga work are available to suit just about every body type and fitness level. The myriad options and the health benefits make it an ideal form of exercise for almost anyone. Once you explore all the ways yoga can help, it seems almost crazy not to find an opportunity to pursue yoga.

1.Improve Your Breathing

Yoga begins with focused breathing; it serves as the base of every movement you make. You will learn to take slower, deeper breaths that help increase your oxygen levels throughout your body. The stretches you do further open up your lungs for better relaxation, focus, and energy.This improves your heart and brain health, and eases every kind of exercise and activity you do.

Ways Yoga Improves Your Health
In addition, the breathing techniques you use in yoga focus on breathing through the nose. This both cleans and warms the air you take in to your body.As you improve the way you breathe, you create fundamental changes in everything else you do. You better oxygenate your blood, and you open up your body to build better endurance and a more positive mental and emotional outlook. Yoga does not only improve the amount of air you take in, but it improves the quality of that air as well, providing a whole-body health benefit to you that only increases the longer you practice.

2.Improve Flexibility

Some people put off or avoid starting yoga because they worry they are not flexible enough. And initially, you may find your fears well-founded. When you first start working with a yoga instructor, you will find many of the moves challenging and beyond your abilities. Over time, though, you will gain flexibility. Your muscles will become longer and more supple. Not only will you find your yoga poses easier to reach, but this will leave your everyday movements easier and more comfortable. If you have experienced muscle pain and tightness, that will lessen as your flexibility increases.

This does not happen immediately, and you may need to overcome discouragement to keep working at your yoga development. Your perseverance will be rewarded, though. Over time, you will find you are physically able to do more, and do it for longer, than you could before you started. You will grow into being able to push your body further, one new pose or stretch at a time.

3.Strengthen Muscles

Not only will yoga help your muscles get more flexible, but it will help them get stronger as well. Yoga introduces you to movements you have not made in a long time. These are not only the main muscles you think of, but supporting muscles throughout your body. As you practice yoga, you will strengthen and stabilize the whole muscle group. Thus, your strength comes not from bulking up individual muscles, but rather from creating and improving your muscular system. Your day to day routine will not create as much strain because your exertion is distributed across the group. Over time, you not only build more power, but push yourself less to generate it.

In preparing more of your body to contribute to every movement and task, you allow yourself to grow beyond your mere strength. Muscles have been shown to atrophy when they go through long periods of underuse. In yoga, you will find and strengthen muscles you may not have even known you had! Your body will thank you for the efforts.

4.Strengthens Bones

Many yoga poses involve holding your own weight up in different ways. Medical research provides powerful evidence that weight-bearing exercises improve bone strength and bone density. When you practice regularly, your whole support structure improves. Your posture also improves, placing less strain on your bones in the meantime. Finally, the bends and poses involved in your routine add strength and flexibility to the cartilage and ligiments that support and cushion the bones in your body. You reduce the strain and the grind on your whole skeletal structure and build stronger, denser bones. You will stand taller, move more comfortably, and greatly improve your overall sense of wellbeing.

This can particularly provide a boon for women as they get older. Women over age 50 are at the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis; when you take steps like participating in yoga to keep your bones dense and strong, you can stave off or prevent this condition for much longer. So not only do you achieve health benefits in the moment, but you gain enduring benefits for later in your life.

5.Reduces Pain

We experience muscle and joint pain in a variety of ways. Often, muscles tighten over time and start to ache, from a combination of lack of movement, failure to stretch regularly, or from repetitive use with the same kinds of movement over time. Similarly, joints ache when you put repeated pressure on them or don’t flex and move them regularly. Yoga moves your body in ways that depart from your everyday routine. It helps you stretch and relax, and creates more flexibility and faster recovery from other activities.

Further, your breathing techniques and focusing strategies help you move away from a place of pain and into a healthier, more positive outlook. When you practice yoga regularly, it challenges your body and your fitness level, but it does so in a way that helps remove some of the stress and tension on your body that cause you to experience pain in your muscles and joints.

6.Lowers Stress

Your mental and emotional stress levels can create health burdens in many frightening ways. High stress levels make your body produce more sugar, and causes different parts of your body to suffer while your body goes into repair mode. You tense up, have trouble focusing, and generally do harm to yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yoga uses focused movements and breathing to help you come back within yourself. It helps set your resting heart rate lower, and frees your mind from the frenetic pace too many of us suffer through every day.

A lower stress rate, in short, helps you achieve health benefits to nearly every functional part of your body. Your mind and body relax through yoga. The work can be intense, but it serves to separate you from your outside worries, instead allowing you to turn inward. Your everyday worries tend to stay with you over the course of a day, or week, or month. Yoga wrests you from those burdens for the duration of each session. It enforces a breather, a chance to step back and, for your time in the studio, to relax. The positive impact of doing so for your health cannot be overstated.

7.Increases Circulation

Your circulatory system carries blood, oxygen, and nutrients through your body, to every internal organ. For it to work properly, you need a strong heart, open blood vessels, and a relaxed body. Yoga helps contribute in all of these areas! Tension and stress tend to tighten your blood vessels, making the heart work harder to do the same amount of work in your body. Yoga helps relax your body and open up those passages. It also contributes to strengthening the
heart to make it work even less hard. The poses, stretches, and breathing techniques that yoga requires all facilitate a stronger, smoother-running circulatory system. This helps you avoid health concerns like high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease. You come out stronger and healthier, and you better maintain your heart, lungs, muscles, skin and more—every part of your body. The more work you do, the greater the benefits you will experience.

8.Bolsters Immunity

Illnesses come for some of us every winter. But this does not mean that cold causes viruses—far from it. If you delve deeper, you will start to identify another common thread: sickness often comes at times we have been pushing ourselves too hard, whether through a lack of sleep, high stress levels, over-exertion, or some combination of all of them. Your immune system suffers with high levels of cortisol, the hormone released when your body endures stress. This can help make you more susceptible to any illnesses going around.Yoga helps combat this problem in a few different ways. One is by simply pulling you out of your daily stress-creating routines; taking a break, even for just a 30-minute session, can do wonders to replenish your ability to relax. Another comes through the exercises themselves.

When you go through the different bends, twists, poses, and exercises, you open up your airways and help your body work out some of the toxins affecting your immune system. Finally, the breathing and relaxation techniques you do help you reduce your overall stress levels and keep your body strong, relaxed, and healthy. It is part of a more body-friendly and mind-friendly lifestyle, and keeps you going stronger for longer.

9.Lowers Blood Pressure

An important aspect of your circulatory benefits comes through the reduction of blood pressure concerns. These come through stress, through partial blockages or clogging of your arteries, or through pinched blood vessels. Your heart works harder to compensate for the problem, and soon you may have a very serious health concern on your hands. Yoga will help you open up
both the blood vessels themselves and the body passages that may compress those vessels.

You stretch, loosen, and generally make your body more fit over time, and as a result, you eliminate some of the dangers lurking in your body.But there is still more. The exertion you do in every yoga routine helps strengthen your heart
itself, and gets the blood flowing to flush impurities out of your system. With less to block or impede your blood flow, you find yourself feeling much more relaxed, because your heart need not work as hard to do its job. High blood pressure leads to a tightening in your chest, and can cause significant discomfort if it lasts long. Yoga helps relax those passages and open up your chest. It may leave you feeling like something heavy has really been lifted from you, removing the physical ache of the burden that life all too often puts on our physical wellbeing.

10.Improves Digestion

Some of us, when we experience stress, feel it as a tightening in the stomach. It can make eating feel uncomfortable, and can make it feel like what we do eat sits heavily without moving through the system. This may have some psychological elements, but it has significant physical elements as well. Our digestive system provides the main way we get waste out of our bodies. If this suffers for very long, it leaves us feeling sick, bloated, and uncomfortable.Different yoga techniques can help directly in improving our digestive health. When we twist our bodies, for instance, it squeezes and stimulates the liver, in turn spurring our internal detoxification processes into action. The deep breathing techniques you do also help, as filling with air helps push on the stomach and urge your body’s natural processes on as well. Finally, the overall relaxation results that you achieve from yoga help your body function more smoothly. All of this works to let your body more completely cleanse itself.

11.Helps You Sleep Better

One of the most powerful ways of maintaining and restoring our health over time should be one of the simplest: getting a full night’s sleep on a regular basis. Unfortunately, too many of us fail to do so. We pack a great deal into every day, without building in down time to decompress and get ready to sleep. We let our concerns run through our minds well into the night, pushing sleep back further and further without anything useful to show for it. And when we push ourselves further and further through this cycle, we put our health and wellbeing at greater risk.

Yoga helps with this in two seemingly contradictory ways. First, its meditative aspects help clear your mind and encourage you to relax. When you learn to let go of the mental and emotional strains you regularly experience, you learn to prepare your mind for sleep. Regular yoga practice can help you free your mind from the mental strains you create or endure. Second, the exertion that yoga requires from a physical perspective pushes your body to a place where it does a better job of feeling on a visceral level the need to rest and replenish. The combination of a tired body and a relaxed mind can prepare you for better, more regular sleep patterns that will make you and your doctor very happy!

12.Improves Your Mood

Some of the benefits of yoga don’t just help you. Physical and emotional health often go hand in hand; the better your outlook on life, the better you feel throughout the day. And this in turn passes your emotional improvements on to those with whom you interact every day. Being in a good mood helps lift the spirits of your spouse, children, parents, co-workers, bosses, and subordinates. And the more positive interactions you have, the more you all feed off each other, improving each other’s approach to everything you do, whether together or apart.

Yoga contributes a great deal in this regard. Almost anyone can benefit from a little time away from the daily grind. Taking time to do something for yourself will work wonders—and when you do so regularly, it extends to looking forward to each time. Further, the something you are doing in this case includes physical exertion to boost your endorphin levels, and meditative focus to rein in the rampant worries that you face each day. Regular yoga practice will make you feel better, throughout your body and your mind. In the end, this is good for you and for everyone in your life.

Benefits of Regularly Scheduled Yoga

The benefits of regular yoga experiences go well beyond the above. Every part of your body, and really every part of your life, improves with each session in which you participate. Yoga stretches you physically and mentally, providing simultaneously a tension in your body and a release of far too many negative elements to count. You and everyone you know will be better for your yoga work.

The greatest level of benefits, though, come not through a single session, but through regular practice in yoga. When you settle into a regular schedule, you are feeding yourself a steady diet of self-improvement. You carry years of experiences with you wherever you go; to balance that out with a random session or two would be too much to expect. Schedule regular yoga work with Versatile Vitality, and watch your whole life improve around you.

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