You’ve passed by the yoga studio in your neighborhood a dozen times, always telling yourself you’ll go “someday.” Perhaps you belong to a gym and have told your friend you’ll meet her at that Tuesday night yoga class next week, but “next week” comes and goes!
If you knew the amazing short and long-term benefits of yoga, you wouldn’t put off your yoga practice. As with many different types of exercise programs and classes, you’ll see some incredible benefits right away while others may take a little more time to notice. Regardless, those benefits are worth the hard work. Check out these yoga bonuses that will have you practicing your poses regularly.
Short-Term Benefits of Yoga
If you’re looking to see positive changes from yoga right away, look for these tell-tale signs.
Less Stress. Want to relieve stress in a natural and healthy way? Do more yoga! After just one class you’ll feel more relaxed because you’ve taken the time to take a breath or two. It’s amazing what deep, focused breathing can do.
Better Sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, do a few yoga poses, especially the Uttanasana Pose or standing forward bend, and Locust Pose. These help to promote rest and relaxation and you’ll instantly feel more rested.
Stronger Bones. Studies have shown that just 12 minutes of yoga a day can improve bone health and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. According to Dr. Loren M. Fishman, a physiatrist at Columbia University who specializes in rehabilitative medicine, yoga can even help to reverse bone loss.
Less Pain. If you’re feeling stiff and need a good stretch, do a few yoga poses and see how you feel afterward. You’ll notice your body feeling freer and looser. For those with more serious chronic conditions like low back pain, arthritis, and migraines, there are specific poses that can be used to alleviate severe pain over time.
Improved Blood Flow. Yoga gets your blood flowing and gets more oxygen to your cells which helps them function better. Many of the twisting poses help to wring out venous blood from your organs. Once you release the twist, oxygenated blood can flow more freely. For instance, inverted poses like the Shoulderstand and Handstand help to move blood from the legs and pelvis back to the heart. Yoga poses also help to thin the blood which lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Long-Term Benefits of Yoga
If you subscribe to the ideology that life is a marathon and not a sprint, then you’ll enjoy these amazing long-term benefits of yoga.
Better Flexibility. While you may not be able to stretch very far right away, give it time. After four weeks of practice, you’ll be celebrating small wins that start with reaching the tops of your feet, then your toes and then the floor in a Forward Fold. Eventually, you might start feeling like Gumby’s cousin!
More Muscle. Who says you need to pump heavy weights in front of the mirror at the gym to build muscle? Yoga forces you to use your body weight to hold and move through poses. By doing this, you tone and gain muscle over time. Have you noticed how lean and sculpted most yoga instructors look? That can happen for anyone who has a consistent yoga routine!
Stronger Immune System. Researchers have found that practicing yoga produces internal changes on a genetic level. Yoga lowers stress hormones that compromise the immune system, conditions the lungs and respiratory system for stronger breathing, fuels the lymphatic system to force toxins out of the body, and brings oxygenated blood to the various organs so they can function better.
Lower Blood Pressure. Studies have shown that people with high blood pressure can lower it by simply doing Savasana, otherwise known as Corpse Pose. This asana is usually done at the end of every yoga practice. According to Yoga Is Medicine by Timothy McCall, subjects in a study saw a 26-point drop in their systolic blood pressure and a 15-point drop in their diastolic blood pressure after incorporating Savasana for three months.
Healthier Lifestyle. When you practice yoga regularly, you are more mindful of just about everything around you, including what you eat. As you become more aware, more conscious of your actions, and how you feel, you can live a much healthier life both physically and mentally.
With all of these benefits and more, it’s no wonder why yoga has become increasingly popular over the years. With yoga, you can enjoy a life that’s much more comfortable and much less stressful just by practicing yoga for 12 minutes or more a day!