If you’ve been wondering whether to take up yoga or not, take a look at all the awesome benefits you can reap from doing so. Yoga can help you in so many ways. Here are 15 benefits of yoga:

 

  1. Increased Flexibility

 

Improved flexibility is the most obvious benefit of yoga. When you begin practising yoga, most poses seem impossible to pull off. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to do such deeds. Although it may seem hard at first, the power of stretching is undeniable. If you stick to it, you’ll slowly feel your body loosening with time. Poses you never thought you could do are actually doable. Becoming more flexible also means your posture will be better, and you’ll probably ease some of the back and joint pain you may have been feeling.

  1. Increased Muscle Strength

 

If you have gone to a yoga class and left with your muscles feeling sore, you may have wondered if it could ever act as a strength training workout. Well, in a way it can! When you do yoga, you need your muscles to support your body weight so you can practise all of those incredibly difficult poses. Instead of lifting weights you are lifting your body. In fact, doing this can be more beneficial than weight training. Yoga tones muscles all over your body, so you can achieve equilibrium. Instead, lifting weights usually focuses on one particular muscle group at a time. My advice is to skip the gym once in a while and do yoga. It is far more relaxing and good for your well-being!

 

  1. Ups your heart rate

 

There are a lot of different types of yoga. Some are calmer and incorporate meditation and easy, slow stretches, while others are more fast-paced and focused on exercise. Practising yoga in a style like Power Yoga, which is more physically active and agile, can up your heart rate and train your respiratory capacity. When this happens, you do cardiovascular exercise which can result in weight loss, better energy levels, and long term effects on your heart health.

 

  1. Good for your metabolism

 

Yoga can be a great way to increase your metabolic rate. Aside from elevating your heart rate, yoga poses massage the digestive organs. This helps your digestive system function smoothly. By doing this you boost your metabolism. Yoga also boosts metabolism by improving blood circulation. Pranayama breathing (deep and slow breaths) during yoga allows the arteries to loosen up and increase blood flow. Although these things can be great metabolic boosters, the big reason yoga helps with your metabolism is by building muscle. When you practice yoga you train your muscles to assist you in every pose. This means you are constantly lifting your own body weight. When this happens, obviously, your muscles start to develop. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.

 

  1. Helps with weight loss

 

Can yoga help you lose weight? Yes, it can. But not every type of yoga. When it comes to weight loss and yoga, experts say that there is no short answer for this. As with everything, there are a lot of factors that come into play. Practising a more relaxed yoga with light stretches will probably not get you very far when it comes to losing weight. Instead opt for Power yoga, that is more focused on exercise. These classes consist of 90 minutes of stretching and strengthening your muscles, which in turn ups your heart rate, builds more muscle and burns more calories. Stay consistent with your sessions and keep a balanced diet to start seeing changes in your body.

 

  1. Improved athletic performance

 

If you are an athlete, practising yoga can have great results in your performance. Yoga helps you align your body and strengthen your muscles. This correlates directly with speed, which means doing yoga can increase your power. Also, by improving your breathing you significantly increase your respiratory capacity, which in turn will give you better endurance. Besides all of this, yoga can also improve your balance as it strengthens your core. As a result, not only is performance enhanced but your training sessions become more effective. Finally, the most important aspect of yoga when it comes to performance is focus. When you practise mindful yoga and become aware of yourself and your surroundings you take that awareness and mindfulness to your regular training sessions and improve your abilities.

  1. Protects from injury

 

By improving your body’s range of movement and awareness, yoga can drastically reduce the risk of injury. When you practise yoga, you become more aware of your body and how it feels. This makes it easier to recognise any imbalance or discomfort prior to actually sustaining an injury. Furthermore, besides working on your spine and muscles, yoga also works on your tendons and ligaments, making them less prone to injuries. However, yoga can only help your body in this way if it is practised the right way. Make sure you choose a class with a good teacher that can understand your body and what it needs.

 

  1. Perfects posture

 

Bad posture can cause back, neck and other muscle or joint problems. Yoga can help better your posture if you stay consistent with your practise. Most yoga poses force you to align your spine and muscles in order to do them correctly. However, you don’t have to do incredibly hard poses to reap the benefits. The simples act of stretching and straightening up can change your life.

 

  1. Helps you relax

 

Yoga poses, or asanas make your body move and stretch, which is what you need to let go of all the nervous energy you are holding onto. After the body is worked out, it can let go. Besides, yoga reduces stress by stimulating deep, slow and rhythmic breathing. It makes you relax by focusing on the present and making you aware of your surroundings. Some styles of yoga even include meditation or the repetition of a sound, which can have a deep effect on your state of relaxation.

 

  1. Helps you sleep better

 

Have you ever stayed up until late because your brain just won’t shut down? Or have you ever laid in bed staring at the ceiling worrying about the future? Yoga can just be the answer to your prayers when it comes to sleeping better. As I’ve mentioned previously, yoga relaxes your system. When you are relaxed, you unwind and destress. Yoga also regulates your nervous system by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which means it helps you get to sleep and stay asleep for longer periods. Mindfulness has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels. If sleeping well, or at all, is a struggle for you, then consider implementing a yoga practice every day.

 

  1. Betters your bone health

 

Bone loss is extremely common in individuals over the age of 30. This can lead to severe problem like osteoporosis, arthritis, scoliosis, etc. Yoga is a powerful way to prevent bone loss. Maintaining bone density can be achieved by many factors. One of which is how much do the muscles pull on your bones. Many yoga poses are weight-bearing exercises that do just that. When you lift your own body weight, your muscles have to work very hard to keep up. Moreover, yoga improves the range of motion of your joints by making you more flexible. It is shown that it can also reduce symptoms of arthritis, improve scoliosis, and better the function of tendons and ligaments.

 

  1. Lowers blood sugar

 

Studies show that the regular practise of yoga can lower blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol. This can be achieved by several ways. One of which is reducing cortisol levels – the stress hormone. Controlling mental stress is one of the keys of diabetes treatment. When we are stressed out, our blood sugar levels rise. Yoga is considered a great and promising option for lowering your blood sugar, and in the treatment or prevention of diabetes.

 

  1. Keeps you drug free.

 

Many illnesses or problems such as arthritis, scoliosis, asthma, diabetes, stress and anxiety related issues keep you a subject of drugs. If you suffer from any of these, then you probably need some kind of medication to keep you healthy. We all know that many of these drugs can have severe side effects. Yoga and meditation can help you reduce the amount of pills you take or even eliminate their need completely. Yoga can do this by: relaxing you, helping you destress, lowering your cortisol levels, improving your flexibility and physical capacity, etc. It can also, as I’ve said before, improve your bone health, lower your blood sugar levels, and so on.

  1. Improved respiration, energy, and vitality.

 

A lack of oxygen in our system can lead to severe illnesses such as asthma, shortness of breath and allergies. But in worst cases, it can lead to death. It is clear how breathing correctly can have a deep effect on your health. Pranayama breathing exercises in yoga can increase your intake of oxygen up to five times. Furthermore, by building muscle and increasing your metabolism, you have more energy that can be spent doing the things you love. Also, many studies have shown that yoga can better the body’s ability to ward off illnesses. When you sleep better, eat the right foods, destress and feel more energized, you also increase your vitality.

 

  1. Makes you happier

 

Besides all the benefits that I’ve mentioned here, the most important one is that it makes you a happier person. Practising yoga, meditation and mindfulness has a long lasting effect in your overall happiness. It improves your body in ways you would never think of and it improves your state of mind in everyday life.