health benefits of yoga

Health Benefits of Yoga

As a health coach and personal trainer I feel like it’s my responsibility to always try and step outside the box and attempt different physical activities which challenge not only my body, but my mind and overall well being. Yoga is no exception and I thought I’d share my recent experiences with Yoga as well as talk about the numerous health benefits it provides.

Overview of Yoga

Originating from India several thousand years ago, Yoga is a practice which includes techniques to bring about a higher state of consciousness through meditation, physical postures, and breathing. In the Western World Hatha Yoga is the most practiced although there are several other types identified by the religions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

For a beginner who may not have ever been exposed to spiritual meditation through childhood many of these practices may seem way out there, but considering the fact that most elite athletes in the world are now including Yoga as an integral part of their training, there is definitely something remarkable about it that should not be ignored.

All you need is an open mind and willing to understand the benefits that will come through practice of this ancient art, so let’s look at just a few of these benefits…

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

Because the main objective of Yoga is to result in balance of the mind, body and spirit, one of the biggest benefits is reduction of daily stress. In fact, many great instructors will first ask you to let go of all your stresses once you enter the room. Those who are masters of yoga are pros at this, they are cool, calm and collected at ALL times.

If you can see the power in this one point then you will begin a fantastic journey that will bring you peace even at the most trying of times. Read that sentence again because it really is what I have just begun to understand after trying yoga a handful of times (at the time of writing this article).

One very cool analogy I heard a while back is that when you begin yoga it is like a drop of blue ink in a large pool of water. It starts out dilute, but as you add more and more drops it eventually changes the entire pool to a rich blue color. In other words, the more you practice over time the more benefits you will see from it. The more relaxation you bring into your life the more rich your life will be.

Since Yoga implements meditation and allows you to be present at any one moment, the relaxation is mirrored in one other major benefit….sleep! To be frank, I was quite shocked how much yoga has already improved my sleep. We all know that sleep is important for our mental well being, but this is also reflected throughout our body and also allows our muscles to recover quicker which is the next major benefit I’d like to mention….

Muscle Recovery Benefits of Yoga

So with less stress that means our body also produces less cortisol which a hormone related to unhealthy weight gain and catabolic muscle activity (where our muscles are broken down to produce energy). Simply stated – less stress means less fat production and more muscle growth!

But the benefits don’t stop there. Yoga involves deep stretching of all body parts from your toes to your head (well your neck anyway!) This means improved range of motion, less muscle tension, better blood flow and detoxification of muscles, and even an increase of joint/tendon lubrication.

WOW right?!

Increased range of motion means you get more results from your workouts.
Less muscle tension means less muscle pain at any time of the day.
Better blood flow means your muscles are able to get rid of toxins easier and your muscles are able to recover quicker.
Increase joint/tendon lubrication means better life-time health of your knees, ankles, shoulders, hips, etc.

Conclusion of Health Benefits of Yoga?

There is a question mark because after writing this article I realized there are even more health benefits from Yoga! I’d like to continue this article into a 2nd part (Health Benefits of Yoga Part 2) which goes further and talks about benefits with regards to weight loss and sexual health. With that said you may want to try booking your first Yoga experience, of if you’ve tried it already think about all these benefits as a way to enhance your experience.

Have you tried Yoga? Why or why not and what has your experience been like if you have? Please leave a comment below…