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Yoga was founded thousand years ago in India as a well-being technique encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Its ultimate purpose is to empower you in transcending yourself and achieving enlightenment. 🧘🏻♀️
The essential core of yoga is raising the life energy at the base of the spine. On a physical level, the strategies include a variety of yoga postures that attempt to maintain the body healthy. Breathing techniques and meditation are two mental practises used to control the mind.
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular as individuals discover it provides a more profound feeling of harmony, balance, and calmness. Here are just a few of the physical, health, and mental benefits of this physical activity.
How can yoga help you?
Various yoga postures, meditation, breathing, and other methods can give numerous health benefits. People who practise yoga may see improvements in:
Body benefits of Yoga
If you haven't tried yoga before, you've probably heard a lot of preconceptions like 'it's only for really flexible people,' or 'it's just stretching and sleeping.'
Although yoga increases your flexibility and involves a lot of stretching, there are many excellent reasons you should give yoga a go this year. Let's start with the benefits it has on your body. 🏃🏻♀️
Yoga increases your flexibility
This one's obvious, but not every yogi starts as flexible as they look in the videos or on the mat. Flexibility is grown as you go along, and the more you practice, the more relaxed you become. 💃🏼
For example, the first time you try to touch your toes, it might seem foolish as you can't even reach your shins, but as you keep trying, you'll be tickling your toes in no time!
Yoga protects you from injuries
Not to say that you won't get injured if you take up yoga. Still, the practice of it strengthens your muscles so that if you do get an injury, your body will be able to recover much faster. 💪🏼
Again, flexibility comes into play here, as the more you're able to warm up and stretch out your muscles, the less of a shock it will be to them if you injure them - think less pulled and cramped muscles!
Yoga lowers blood pressure and cures insomnia
When you're stressed, what happens? Your blood pressure skyrockets, and you might find it challenging to get to sleep.
Here's where the regular practice of yoga really comes into play. The relaxation techniques taught in yoga, such as deep breathing and mindfulness, help lower your blood pressure. In addition, the slow stretches your body goes through allow it to feel rested after your practice, enabling you to sleep better. 😴
Yoga gives you more energy
Unlike your typical all-out cardio workout, yoga gives your body a workout without complete exhaustion afterwards. As a result, you may feel more energised after your yoga practice because your blood flow increases from all of that stretching. 🙆🏻♀️
In addition, your mind will take a break from stressors to focus on completing the poses. Finally, you will feel more relaxed after doing all of this tremendous deep and calming breathing!
Mind Benefits of Yoga
We've talked about how practising yoga is good for your body. It may help improve your flexibility, protect you from injuries and lower your blood pressure.
But what about the many other benefits yoga has for you? From enhancing your concentration and focus to relieving anxiety, here's how taking up yoga can benefit your mind.
Yoga increases your focus
Unlike other forms of movement and exercise, a big part of practising yoga is focusing on your breathing and yourself. You might do this during a heavy gym session, but it's usually to help you push through, not to help you become attuned to yourself and your body. 🏃🏻♂️
Also, because many yoga poses require higher concentration levels, your overall ability to concentrate and focus becomes increased the more you practice.
Yoga calms your mind
Usually, no matter what we're doing during the day, our minds are filled with thoughts racing around at a million miles an hour. We're thinking about what we're going to do for dinner, where we need to go, when, and what we need to do tomorrow. 🤔
However, with yoga, because of the concentration and attentiveness to your required breathing, you'll find that your thoughts slow down and are only focused on the present moment. Something that we could all stand to practice more often!
Yoga helps with productivity
Because yoga encourages mindfulness and helps you stay present at the moment, it enables you to be more productive. If you're working on a task, and your mind is focused solely on that task in the present moment, you're more likely to get it done quicker and better. 🧠
Although multitasking has been said to be a highly desirable trait, it actually can lessen your ability to get each job done well.
Yoga promotes positivity
When you practice yoga, all sorts of positive brain hormones are released, including dopamine and oxytocin, which help you be happier and maintain a positive mindset. You'll know what we mean if you've ever practised yoga, as your practice often leaves you feeling satisfied and relaxed. ✨
Unlike typical exercise practices, yoga isn't done primarily to increase fitness or attractiveness. Instead, it's actually been shown to promote positive body image as you're focused more on what your body can do instead of what it looks like.
Soul benefits of Yoga
We've talked about why practising yoga should be your new goal for its benefits for your mind and body, but what about the spiritual gains you can get from yoga? Because the focus is on the 'oneness' of ourselves and everything around us, there is a lot to gain spiritually from yoga, making it the perfect practice for your soul.
Yoga helps you with gratitude and contentment
Because of the measured and balanced nature of yoga, it's excellent at helping you slow down and appreciate yourself and others. You're almost forced to be patient with your body and accept that nothing and no one is perfect, but we're all beautiful in our own ways. 🌸
Learning to thank your body for what it does for you and accepting your own limitations is a standard part of yoga. It teaches you to let go and feel grateful for what you have and can do.
Yoga opens your spiritual centres
Have you ever heard of chakras? Chakras are energy centres around your body. Each of the seven chakras has a different meaning and provides you with additional energy. ✨
Many yoga poses are designed to open these centres to feel more connected to your soul and your spiritual self. Postures that open the heart centre help you feel open and loved. Those stimulating the third eye chakra can help with your intuition and awareness of your higher self.
Yoga creates a sense of 'oneness'
When you practice yoga, you really need to use all of your body, mind, and soul to help you with the poses. Obviously, your body is involved in physical movements; your mind focuses and concentrates. 😌
Your soul is open to whatever you feel in the present moment, because this is such a holistic practice. It helps you see how everything is connected, not just within yourself but in the world around you.
Yoga exercises your compassion
Because you need to be patient with yourself when practising yoga, this creates space for you to be patient with and compassionate towards other people too. 👨🏼🤝👨🏽
Accepting when you might not be able to complete a pose as well as you'd like helps you understand the need to show compassion when it comes to your body and how it learns and grows. This also teaches us humility and enables us to relate a bit more to those around us when they are learning or struggling.
The key is to practise yoga regularly
It's vital to note that these benefits only come with consistent practice. So continue to practise! 🧘🏼♀️
The more you include yoga into your everyday practice, the more lasting its effects!
Find the method that works best for you, even with a crystal, and keep in mind that investing in a yoga practice is an investment in yourself!