Jan 20, 2020

Maybe going to the gym may not have been the best fit for you; lifting weights could have made you pass out. Practicing martial arts might be a little too excessive and engaging in sports isn’t always introvert-friendly. Apart from all these different forms of exercise, yoga has proven to be just as beneficial and challenging, and could be the best addition to your fitness plan.

Derived from a part of Eastern philosophy and practices, yoga not only exercises the physical body but also the mind and soul. Yoga is a practice that focuses on flexibility and endurance of physical and mental well-being. It includes breathing patterns that strengthen your focus into the movement of the body and its coexistence with the environment around it. 

Others may think of yoga as an easier exercise, mistaken as just simple breathing and stretching. However, with the different kinds of yoga practice, most of these prove to be rigorous and sweaty. Hatha yoga, the most common form, includes poses that stretch and relax the joints and muscles of the body. While the Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga flow pushes for more difficult, movement-intensive poses that engage the muscles and core. Other than physical exercise, here’s more of why you should try out yoga.


Reduces stress and relieves anxiety

A number of studies have been conducted that prove how yoga reduces stress and anxiety. As its practice is rooted in deep breathing, yoga naturally allows people to relax as they move. This study shows that people who engaged in yoga for 10 weeks had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Another study had women diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) practice yoga for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, a majority of these women no longer met the criteria of PTSD.

Yoga reduces stress and anxiety
Photo by JD Mason on Unslash

Has long-term health benefits

A yoga practice is composed of a series of dynamic poses that stretches the muscles and keeps the body active. Because of this exercise, yoga reduces the chances of a dangerous inflammation in the body. This consistent movement helps in fighting viruses and diseases. Studies have shown that it improves the health of diabetes patients, reduces chances of cardiovascular disease, and helps manage high blood pressure.

Yoga has long term benefits
Photo by Kike Vega on Unslash

Improves body awareness

Because the practice of yoga encourages people to pay full attention to their body’s internal sensation, people who practice it are more aware of what’s happening with their body and are more likely to combat any feelings of stress or pain. This study shows that women who engaged in yoga showed more signs of body satisfaction. Another study showed that it promotes mindful and healthy eating habits.

Yoga improves body awareness
Photo by Avrielle Suleiman on Unsplash

Reduces chronic pain

Many people who experience chronic pain turn to yoga to revitalize their muscles and joints. Studies show that it alleviates lower back pain both for long- and short-term effectiveness, improves grip strength for those with carpal tunnel syndrome, and helps in healing osteoarthritis of the knees.

Yoga reduces chronic pain
Photo by The Form Fitness on Unsplash


Header photo courtesy of Anupam Mahapatra from Unsplash

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Read more:

A self-care guide for working homebodies

What 3,000 minutes of guided meditation taught me

7 mindfulness exercises to power you through the new decade


TAGS: anxiety benefits chronic pain exercise fitness health mindfulness nolisoli yoga

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