Yoga is something that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. And with roughly 11 million Americans benefiting for the healthy habit, it has taken the world by storm.
Most Westernized yoga classes tend to focus mostly on learning physical poses known as “asanas.” Usually these classes also include some sort of breathing exercise to calm the body and the brain.
Health Benefits of Yoga: Physical
Physically, yoga helps with weight loss, flexibility, strength, and breathing. Best of all yoga allows you to ease into the exercises by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use which causes pain, tension, stiffness, and fatigue. Additionally, yoga also helps increase the lubrication and range of motion in joints.
Practicing yoga also involves a lot of deep and mindful breathing. Consequently, yoga allows for the improvement of lung capacity. Most forms of yoga emphasize the deepening and lengthening of your breath. This stimulates a relaxation response and helps you focus on the present moment.
Health Benefits from Yoga: Mental
Yoga students are generally calmer than the average person. Even beginners tend to feel less stressed after their first class. Many yoga styles use specific techniques that allow your brain to quiet down.
Yoga also helps with the biochemical factors that cause stress and anxiety. Some research even suggests that yoga boosts the hormone oxytocin. This is the hormone associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others.
Finally, yoga students also experienced improved concentration and moods. Many yoga students will claim that they feel happier and more content, an effect that may be a result of yoga boosting oxygen levels to the brain.
Whether it is for weight loss or treating depression, yoga has proven to be a healthy habit for many.
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