No matter how organized and well- planned you are, there will be times when life gets extremely busy and stressful. Things pile up and you just wish to push the pause button to breath for a while. Unfortunately, a remote that controls life does not exist yet, but there is something you can do that might have the same effect: Yoga.
Yoga is a 5000 years old spiritual practice, developed to balance the mind, body and spirit. It combines breathing exercises, meditation, stretching and postures that target different muscles. Unlike other workouts, Yoga is very gentle and adaptable and people of different shapes and ages can do it.
Yoga is great to rest and recharge mentally. It is also effective to stay fit and to prevent and treat different health conditions. If you think that yoga is not for you, here are 4 benefits of Yoga for mental and physical health that can change your mind.
- Yoga can help relieve stress and anxiety:
Yoga is one of the best ways to relax and stay calm. Many researches have shown that it can decrease the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and ease anxiety. When you do yoga, you unplug from the outside world and only focus on your movements and the present moment. This sooths your mind and helps you let go and forget about your worries, making you less anxious. The breathing techniques help reduce the physical effects of stress. They regulate your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and improve your respiration.
- Yoga can help combat depression and enhance well-being:
Yoga is a recommended treatment for depression. A study at Boston University has shown that practicing Yoga twice a week can alleviate chronic depression symptoms. This is because yoga stimulates the production of serotonin, a chemical that maintains mood balance, also called the happiness chemical. This helps increase positivity and satisfaction and improve your well-being as well. In addition to that, Yoga is a combination of gentle and fluid poses that make you feel better and calmer, and ‘’power’’ poses that make you feel stronger and more confident.
- Yoga can help increase flexibility, strength and endurance :
The most popular benefit of Yoga is increased flexibility. The poses stretch your muscles and develop your range of motion, making your body more supple and less tense and tired. Yoga might seems like a passive exercise but it provides great strength benefits. Each pose, even the simplest one, targets and tones specific muscles and builds core strength in the upper and lower body. Holding the poses for several long breaths can also improve your endurance and stamina, which helps you undergo physical and mental efforts for a long period of time without feeling tired and with less chances of injury.
- Yoga can help with weight-loss:
Yoga increases mindfulness, which changes how you perceive and treat your body. This makes you seek more healthy and nutritious food, instead of eating junk food that makes you gain weight. It improves digestion and increases metabolism as well, helping your body to get rid of buildup easily. Intense styles of Yoga can help you burn fat and calories and prevent weight gain. However, yoga alone cannot help you lose weight. You should combine it with a balanced diet and other activities like walking and cycling.
Practicing yoga is life-changing. Besides the benefits mentioned above, it can also improve posture, increase focus and awareness, relieve joint pain and boost energy. The best thing is that you can enjoy all these amazing effects from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a mat and a quiet space. What are you waiting for? Give it a try as soon as possible.