THE BENEFITS OF YOGA
Kiana Ng Yoga
Besides the obvious reasons of improving flexibility and strength, here are several benefits that practicing yoga offers:
- Releases Tension. Yoga gives you an opportunity to unwind and let go of your busy, modern-day life. It focuses on being in the present and leaving all of your problems at the door! As you move through your practice, each pose allows you to let go of any leftover tension you might still be carrying in your body (emotionally & physically).
- Boosts Immune System. Draining of your lymphs is activated when you move in and out of yoga poses. Lymphs contain immune cells. By draining them, this helps the lymph system to combat any ill symptoms.
- Eases Pain. There are many studies that prove yoga helps ease physical pain. I’m an example! When I first started yoga, I had a shoulder injury and back pain. Once I started practicing, I found my back pain to be less and less and my shoulder injury completely healed!
- Stress Relief. Practicing yoga helps lower cortisol levels by taking you out of that constant fight or flight mode. When you’re always in a state of high alert, even when a stressful situation is over, cortisol levels are still being raised which begins to have a negative effect on your body.
- Increases Self Esteem. Yoga encourages you to accept yourself in your practice exactly as you are. It sends out the message that everyone is different, so everyones practice will be different, meaning for you to keep your focus on your mat and don’t compare yourself to those around you. This is a strong message that you can practice on & off your mat!
- Improves Balance. There are many balancing postures in yoga. These asanas help build strength in the ankles, calves and knees while helping you improve your body awareness, which is important in balancing.
- Calms the Nervous System & the Mind. By focusing on the breath, you are practicing stilling the mind and moving into the present moment, which helps your body to relax and come out of that fight/flight state your busy life always asks for.
- Improves Posture. Many asanas involve the alignment principle of lengthening your spine, which generates good posture (as opposed to slumping forwards)!
- Increases Focus & Concentration. Those who have practiced yoga know that these poses are a lot harder than they look and yoga is more than just stretching! Each pose asks you to bring your entire awareness into the moment because, with many poses, that is what’s required in order for you to find success in the pose.
- Increases Happiness. Yoga is meditation, but moving. Meditation is said to increase activity in the left pre-frontal cortex which is the area related to positive emotions and emotional regulation. Studies have shown that meditation and yoga also increase your levels of serotonin.