Yoga has been steadily growing in popularity over recent years with more and more people turning to it as a form of exercise, relaxation, and self-development. Any form of exercise is usually beneficial to both our body and our mind, but yoga seems to directly work your mind rather than just focus on your physical fitness with indirect mental health benefits as a result. There are actually quite a few body and mind benefits to yoga so if you haven’t tried it yet, maybe it’s something to add to your training program.
Being flexible can help reduce the risk of injury, it can make everyday life more comfortable, and it can also help keep you mobile later in life. Although there are quite a few different types of yoga to get involved with, all of them have the potential to increase your flexibility. The various positions you put your body into during a yoga session means you can actually stretch out and increase flexibility in all areas making yoga a very beneficial thing to do.
Yoga is not just the common view of stretching and holding different body positions. Breathing exercises, meditation, and chanting are all parts of yoga too. When you combine the physical side of yoga with these, you can get quite a dramatic reduction in your stress levels. Stress reduction is great and can benefit a lot of people but the physical and breathing-based parts of yoga have also been seen to improve the overall mental health of those people who take part. With mental health issues proving to be more and more of an issue for millions of people, this is a huge benefit of yoga.
Having good balance can help prevent falls, it can keep you stable while moving around, and it can also help reduce bad posture through a stronger core. As we get older, staying on our feet becomes even more important as a simple fall can do quite a bit of damage to aging bones and joints. Yoga incorporates movements and static positions that can help improve your balance - this improvement has been felt by older generations through adapted variations of yoga such as chair-based yoga. No matter your age, having good balance and a stable base is something not to be overlooked.
Helps You Sleep
There have been several studies completed surrounding yoga and sleep quality. The majority of these studies seemed to show a link between yoga sessions and improvement in sleep. These improvements came in the form of falling asleep quicker, but also sleeping deeper too. While some of this impact is likely a result of the physical aspect of yoga (which could be felt with any other physical exercise), the breathing exercises and meditation appear to have a calming effect on the people who participate. Being calmer and less stressed will very likely lead to better sleep so if you struggle to switch off at the end of the day, yoga might be able to help.
Improves Brain Function
During one study into yoga, scientists found that when doing yoga, the parts of the brain responsible for motivation, executive functioning, attention, and neuroplasticity were activated. Neuroplasticity should be of particular interest as this relates to your brains' ability to rewire itself to learn and develop new skills. There aren’t many physical activities out there that benefit the brain as greatly as yoga so this is a key benefit to adding yoga into your exercise program.