3 Life-Changing Benefits of Yoga

Mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body. This is what Yoga promises to those who decide to practice. And if you ask any yogi about the benefits of a regular practice, you would probably find out that yoga has a strong impact on physical and mental health. Let’s have a look at what research found about yoga.

The Physical Benefits

It would be too reductive to define yoga as a “sport”. In fact, yoga covers many aspects that other sports don’t (read our article “What is Yoga?”). However, the physical benefits of yoga are similar to those you can get by lifting weights, playing football or dancing. The main difference is that few sports improve so many of your motor skills at the same time.

Increase your Strength. Strength is the exertion of force on physical objects. Yogis lift their own body weight every time they practice and use all their muscles to do so. Depending on the posture, the pressure on muscles can be much more than your body weight.

Boost your Endurance. Endurance is the ability to maintain an effort for a long period of time and without any decrease in efficiency. By holding postures for a long time and switching from one to another, yogis make their muscles capable to stay contracted over a long period of time. Yoga pushes your body to new limits.

Become more Flexible. Flexibility refers to the range of motion of a group of joints (ligaments, tendons) and the level of extensibility that a muscle group possesses. Some Yoga poses lenghten and stretch your muscles and improve your flexibility. If you are afraid of yoga because you are as flexible as wood, don’t worry! Practice makes perfect.

Improve your Coordination. In sport science, coordination is your capacity to master motor actions accurately and efficiently. Yoga makes you aware of every single part of your body and improve your balance. Your muscles will be finally used for what they were made for!

Avoid injuries. Last but not least, yoga proved its capacity to help people recover from injuries. Moreover, the risk to break your bones or get a muscle strain while doing yoga is close to zero. Yoga is gentle but demanding.

The Mental Benefits

The mental benefits can be much more perceivable than the physical ones since everybody feels peaceful after the very first yoga class. Recent research confirmed what yogis felt in India years ago.

Relieve stress and anxiety. Holding postures while controlling breath has proved to lower blood pressure and heart rate. As a consequence, doing yoga regulates nervousness but also gives people the means to deal with anxiety.

Sharpen your concentration. Yoga clears your mind and calm your senses. Once your head gets rid of the noise, you feel much more focused on present and even boost your memory.

Improve your mood. Experts still don’t know the mechanism behind this observation. However, by mixing physical practice and relaxation, yoga improves your mood and quality of life.

Increase mindfulness. Stop thinking about your past experiences and worrying about the future. Yoga brings you back to the now, which is good for your mental health, happiness and social relationships.

Trust yourself. Yoga literally boosts your self-esteem. The more you practice, the better you feel and fitter you become.

The Health Benefits

When we have some pain or disease, we usually start by taking modern medicine and switch to gentle/traditional medicine in case the modern/Western one doesn’t work. Yoga is not considered as a medicine. However the benefits of yoga have helped millions of people worlwide. For some of them, yoga was the last solution to treat their pain and guess what… it worked!

Decrease chronic illnesses such as migraine headaches, diabetes, backaches, asthma, high blood pressure, menopause and many others.

Fight cancer. Yoga has been used for years as a complementary intervention for cancer patients and proved to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and to increase anxiety control.

Improve your posture and reduce back and neck pain. Yoga requires physical alignment, strengthens back muscle and lengthens the spine.

Reduce overall heart disease. Yoga gets your blood flowing. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.  By reducing stress and blood pressure, yoga practice is great for heart health.

Be happy! Why are yogis happy? Science found the answer. Yoga practice increases serotonin levels and decreases monoamine oxidase levels and cortisol. This, added to a heightened activity of the left prefontal cortex is correlated with greater levels of happiness!

Extra Benefit: The Social One

There is a benefit in yoga practice that is never mentioned by papers. Yoga has created a big family. Yogis travel around the world to meet other yogis, they exchange tips online and share the same passion for healthy lifestyles. Thus, starting to practice yoga is an incredible opportunity to join a huge family who will help you feel better, day after day.

Panther wants to make yoga more attractive and give every people the chance to feel better. If you live in Shanghai or are planning to visit this incredible city, have a look at our upcoming events and feel free to join us!

Welcome to the family!

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