Yoga’s taken the world by storm over the past decade, and it’s steadily moving from the fringe to the mainstream. We’ve been into yoga for about 5 years or so, and we’ve been seeing all sorts of benefits from our practice. We’re calmer, more focused, more in tune with what our body needs from food or exercise, and we’re so much stronger through the core than we were when we were just running and working out as usual.
New studies in the past few months have been confirming the benefits we already knew existed in yoga, and they’ve demonstrated a few new ones as well.
First off, yoga is now confirmed to be a huge boost for mental health. By focusing on breath and posture, practitioners more easily dispense with stress and anxiety. They find inner clarity of mind that helps them deal with life problems and turmoil more adroitly.
It’s also a great workout, more than we ever knew. In terms of sweat and cardiovascular benefits, yoga is actually just as thorough as jogging, especially if you do hot yoga under infrared lights. Physical therapists have also been saying that yoga is a better strength-building routine than normal exercises, because it develops deep, structural muscles as well as the cosmetic ones like abs and pecs. You’re actually getting strong, not just looking strong. And it’s safer as well. Because you inhale rather than exhale as you go into strength poses, you strengthen and stretch at the same time. Yoga also encourages you to keep your joints engage, and to develop all the connective tissues that protect joints while you’re moving around. You miss out on all that by just lifting weights.
This next one is super cool. All exercise keeps you healthy, and we’ve known that for years. Getting your blood pumping and moving around keeps your immune system engaged, and maintains your inner defense mechanisms. But the specific breathing work you do in yoga is also a massive boon to your sickness prevention systems! That’s partially because yoga encourages nose breathing, which sends airborne germs through your nose hairs and mucus membranes, which trap the germs. The main benefit is actually the depth of the breath, though. You breathe more deeply and fully in yoga than in any other activity, which helps clear bacteria and germs in your lungs which can cause colds and other ailments.
Finally, this one might seem too obvious to people who practice yoga every day, but keeping a regular practice makes a world of difference in your posture. People who work on lots of lengthening and straightening poses have superior core engagement sitting, standing, and walking, which means they’re protecting their neck and back from injury. Keeping one open channel of energy from head to heels also encourages optimal immune system operations!
Between all these new health findings, and what we’ve already known about how yoga helps your flexibility, stability, and balance, it’s a better time than ever before to get back to your daily practice and feel the health benefits! Namaste!