The literal meaning of 'yoga' is union or merger. Yoga is an art of living that balances our body and brain. Yoga has been practiced since ancient times, for more than 5000 years, as the source of spiritual and healing energy. The health benefits of Yoga is achieved by four main practices: asanas, meditation, pranayama, and chanting.
What are the health benefits of Yoga?
Researches have revealed the excellent health benefits of Yoga. Yoga is more than just a fitness activity or exercise. It is the science of life and the way of living. Unlike other forms of exercise, Yoga strives to achieve complete physical and mental development. There are immense physical and mental benefits of Yoga.
What are the physical benefits of Yoga?
Yoga's physical benefits range from curing the disease, increasing flexibility or core strength to promote the entire physical well-being. The physical health benefits of Yoga are listed below:
a. Increases flexibility of your body: one of the most important physical benefits of Yoga is increasing flexibility of the body. Asanas stretch muscles and soft tissues of the body. Thus, our body parts can be moved in different directions with significantly less discomfort.
b.Improves muscle strength and energy: Asanas enhance the strength and tone of your body muscles. Yoga increases the core strength of the muscles. The regular practice of Yoga increases the energy flow in the body by awakening the energy centers known as chakras. Thus you will be more energized and healthy each passing day.
c. Improves body posture and balance: Improved flexibility and strength of muscles help you attain a correct posture. You can maintain proper posture with ease while you stand, sit, or sleep. Body ache that may arise as a result of incorrect posture is also prevented. Besides, you can enjoy your physical health by achieving balance in your body.
d. Improves immunity: boosting immunity and preventing diseases is one of the essential health benefits of Yoga. Body movement during asanas not only increases blood flow but also helps in draining the lymph. Lymph is the viscous fluid enriched with immune cells that fight against infection and removes harmful toxic substances from the body. Similarly, Yoga reduces the level of stress hormones and makes you resistant to several diseases.
e. Losses weight: Yoga enhances the metabolic process of the body. Increased metabolism helps in burning excess fat of the body. Yoga balances the hormone level in the body and prevents from building fat in the body. Besides this, Yoga's regular practice makes us more sensitive about the food we eat and helps us achieve optimum physical health.
f. Improves blood pressure and heart health: a healthy heart is an essential component of physical health. Yoga increases the blood flow to the heart. It stabilizes the rate and rhythm of the heart and normalizes blood pressure. As one of the essential health benefits of Yoga, Yoga prevents various cardiovascular diseases such as Heart attack, dysrhythmia, Angina, etc.
g. Improves your breathing: during pranayama, a form of Yoga practice, maximum contraction, and expansion of the lungs occurs. The movement of the lungs strengthens it. Similarly, the total volume of air entering into the lungs also increases, and blood gets oxygenated. Yoga also stabilizes and smoothes your respiration rate. Thus, enhancing respiratory function is one of the significant physical benefits of Yoga.
h. Betters bone health: movement of the body during asanas strengthen the bones. Complex yoga asanas require lifting your weight, which improves bone health. Similarly, Increased blood flow supplies bones with adequate nutrients and oxygen. Calcium is retained in the bone with a lower stress level. Thus, fractures and other bone disorders are prevented, and physical health is enhanced.
i. Maintains healthy cartilage and joints: Yoga Asanas improve your joint and adjacent cartilages' range of motion. Yoga also increases the blood flow to your joints and cartilages. So, it prevents various degenerative diseases of joints like arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. It is one of the fantastic health benefits of Yoga.
j. Improves digestion: Yoga regulates the secretion of the digestive juices. Similarly, it keeps your digestive organs like the pancreas, liver, stomach at its optimum function. Digestive problems like constipation, gastritis, bowel diseases, ulcers, etc. are prevented and relieved. The lower level of stress checks the exacerbation of digestive symptoms.
k. Helps to relieve pain: If you have been dealing with chronic pain conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain,etc., this can be a significant health benefit of Yoga for you. Several asanas practiced correctly can strengthen those body parts and increase body flow and range of motion of the affected parts. It can give you a huge relief and alleviate your pain.
What are the mental benefits of Yoga?
The power of Yoga is that it makes us beautiful inside out. We develop a healthy mind along with a healthy body. Promoting mental health is one of the vital health benefits of Yoga. There are numerous emotional and mental benefits of Yoga. Some of them are listed below:
a. Improves concentration: Yoga boosts mental health by improving concentration. A correct yoga posture requires you to focus on your breath. Meditation is that form of Yoga practice where you pour your entire attention upon your breath. So, regular Yoga practice naturally enhances your concentration power.
b. Helps achieve control over mind: Yoga is that powerful tool through which you can earn a desirable control over your thoughts, emotions, desires, and mind. Persistent and uncontrolled feelings and thoughts make it difficult for us to achieve mental health. But with meditation, pranayama, and other forms of Yoga, mental health can be easily achieved. So, it is one of the crucial mental benefits of Yoga.
c. Reduces stress and anxiety: Researches have shown that Yoga is an excellent stress buster. Yoga increases the GABA level ( Gamma-aminobutyric acid), a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that is beneficial to reduce the level of stress and anxiety. Similarly, the level of stress hormones, cortisol, is reduced, and the level of happiness hormones (serotonin, dopamine) is elevated.
d. Enhances self-esteem: Yoga and its philosophy teach us the power of self-esteem. It helps us realize self-worth. Emotions like empathy, sympathy, forgiveness, and gratitude become more prominent within us with meditations and asanas' regular practice.
e. Brings peace of mind: a peaceful mind is an essential aspect of mental health. Negative emotions like frustration, irritation, anger, regret, fear, stress, or guilt disturb the peace of mind. Yoga, especially meditation, slows down these emotions and calms your mind. Besides this, a peaceful and healthy mind resides in a healthy body.
f. Improves your sleep quality: today, most people in the world are struggling due to insomnia and sleep problems. Enhancing the quality of sleep is one of the essential health benefits of Yoga. Yoga promotes your mental health by pushing away the negative emotions, making your body the powerhouse of positivity, and bringing calmness and relaxation. You can sleep well with a healthy and relaxed mind.
g. Improves memory and learning efficiency: Different yoga postures and meditation benefit your mental health by improving memory and learning capability. A calm, relaxed, controlled, and concentrated mind has a good memory power, IQ, and learning efficiency.
Yoga, a popular ancient practice, balances the holistic health of an individual. Due to the amazing health benefits of Yoga, it is practiced globally by a large number of people as a way of life. An increasing new body of evidence suggests excellent physical and mental benefits of Yoga. Yoga promotes physical health by improving flexibility, posture, immunity, maintaining homeostasis, etc. Similarly, Yoga is a powerful tool for mental well being.