Sunday, February 5, 2023
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Benefits of yoga beyond the mat

Yoga, an art, science and philosophy, that has been around since dinosaurs walked the earth. 

Yoga is the physical practice of asanas that reap physical, spiritual, mental and emotional benefits. The word “yoga” comes from the root word “yuj,” which means “to yoke” or “to bind.”

When you are in harmony on every level, the journey through life is calmer, happier and definitely more fulfilling. Regardless of your physical level of yoga expertise, if you’re a practising yogi you can feel better from head to toe and more. 

We already know that yoga is great for our flexibility, physical wellness and even our mind and soul. But what about the benefits that extend beyond your mat? 

Benefits of Yoga —

Physical benefits of Yoga — 

 

  • Yoga helps you stay fit and boosts your immunity- Being healthy doesn’t only mean being disease free, it’s much deeper than that. Practising yoga gives you the ability to fight inflammation, boost your immunity, keep your bones and muscles supple, increase your body’s mobility and agility and even treat stress. 

 

  • Increases your blood flow- 

Yoga gets your blood flowing. It gets your heart pumping. 

Yoga helps your blood transport more oxygen to each cell in your body and allows oxygenated blood to flow like a river through your arteries and veins. 

Yoga also boosts levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues, it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky, reducing the levels of clotting proteins in turn decreasing the risks of heart attacks and strokes. 

 

  • Yoga benefits in weight loss- Yoga keeps your body moving and helps you lose weight. Regular yoga practice helps keep a check on your food intake and body weight.
  • Yoga reduces inflammation- say bye to inflammation when you say hi to yoga. Inflammation can lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease and other conditions. Introducing yoga as a daily practice in your life can help you reduce inflammation in your body. 
  • Yoga can improve brain functioning- Practising yoga activates areas of the brain responsible for motivation, executive functioning, attention, and even neuroplasticity. Yoga truly is a mind-body practice.
  • Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown- Each time you practise yoga, you activate all your joints and  muscles by taking it through their full range of motion. This regular movement can help prevent cartilage and joint degeneration.
  • Yoga helps with pain relief- Yoga should be your go to for relieving pain. It is one of the simplest and most effective pain relievers. 
  • Yoga sounds can soothe your sinuses- meditation and chanting is a part of yoga. These soothing sounds can calm down your nervous system and open up your sinuses. The humming sounds like those made while chanting OM open the sinuses, calm you down and even facilitate drainage.
  • Yoga improves strength, posture, balance and flexibility- Slow movements and deep breathing, typical of yoga,  increase blood flow, warm up your muscles and build strength. Regular yoga practice stretches and tones the body, makes you more flexible and even helps improve your posture. 
  • Yoga means good sleep, more energy and brighter moods- After practising yoga, you will feel an increase in mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness, fewer negative feelings and better sleep at night. Yoga is restorative and helps you recharge your batteries. A 10-minute meditation in the middle of a hectic day is all you need to refuel. 

Psychological benefits of Yoga —

 

  • Yoga improves mental health- Both movement-based yoga and breathing-based yoga practices can significantly improve your state of mind, center you and even reduce depression symptoms. 
  • Yoga is one of the best solutions for stress relief- A few minutes of yoga a day can do wonders for you especially when dealing and trying to cope with stress. 
  • Yoga helps for inner peace and peace of mind- We all love to visit peaceful, serene spots, but true peace lies within us. Yoga is one of the best ways to calm a disturbed mind and rest your thoughts that are running a mile a minute. If you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll likely live longer and healthier.
  • Yoga reduces anxiety- There are a number of different anxiety disorders and a number of yoga asanas that are effective as an alternative treatment for these disorders. 
  • Gives you inner strength- Practising yoga can give you the push you need to make changes in your life. The discipline that fuels the practice of yoga can be extended to the rest of your life and give you the strength and courage to go after what you want and just be the best version of yourself. 
  • Yoga improves relationships, especially the one you have with yourself- Yoga has been a great tool to help improve your relationships with your loved ones. A happy, content and relaxed mind is better able to deal with sensitive relationship matters. Yoga and meditation also help you improve the relationship you have with yourself. You become more accepting of yourself, you start healing, and loving yourself physically and emotionally. Chances are you will even experience feelings of gratitude and forgiveness towards yourself and the other people in your life. 
  • Helps you focus- An important component of yoga is focusing on the present and being in the now. Regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time and memory, all of which help you focus. 
  • Yoga can help with burnout- Burnout or excessive exhaustion is rampant especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yoga-based meditation and movement significantly reduces the effects of burnout by improving introspection and awareness. It helps you be more in tune with your body and more accepting of your circumstances. 
  • Makes you happier-  Feeling sad? Sit in Lotus pose or soar into warrior pose.  It’s as simple as a little movement and being in the present can help you be happier and stay happy. 

Takeaway —

If you’re a passionate yoga practitioner, you’ve probably noticed the benefits of yoga.

If you’re a newbie, don’t be a sceptic. Yoga is something that can heal you, inside and out. 

Increase the flow of prana and bring energy up your spine. 

Feel each breath oxygenate your every cell. 

Live a healthier and more peaceful life thanks to yoga.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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