Do you know the benefits of yoga? If that’s a no, but tell me more or yes, but still tell me more! Let’s dive into 8 benefits of yoga…
1. Let’s get flexible.
My level of flexibility has improved massively and continues to do so the more and more I practice. My body has developed the ability to move in some poses I never thought I would be able to. Whilst this has been my experience, it’s important to point out that there are many contributing factors based on the composition of our bodies which will determine what we may or may not be able to do and we should always embrace that with loving kindness to ourselves.
I also want to highlight that you don’t have to be flexible to practice yoga, as the beauty of yoga is that all poses can be shaped and moulded into different ways for our bodies, so please don’t shy away from it due to some of the images/videos you may see on Insta or elsewhere. Doing poses like warrior ll, downward-facing dog, forward bends and others may help you feel the difference in your flexibility.
2. Improves your muscle strength
Don’t like machines or free weights to build muscle? There is evidence that yoga may improve your strength when practiced on a regular basis as it helps to stretch and tone your muscles. I do a great deal of power yoga and those chaturangas (known as low planks) will have me wanting to cry some days due to the amount of upper strength that is required – especially when I’m doing them over and over again! Not something I recommend, just sharing my personal yoga journey and experience.
3. Burn calories burn
Depending on the kind of practice you are doing, you can burn a decent amount of calories. For example, when I do a cardio flow practice I can burn anywhere between 215 – 368 calories, which is very much dependent on how hard I go. How do I know this? Because I have an Apple watch and when I was studying, I would track my calorie burn via a Google sheet as a way to track my progress. It’s important to note here that burning calories is not the focus of yoga, so whilst it can be one of the benefits of yoga, don’t get fixated on the need to burn calories.
4. Improve your posture
Find yourself slouching all the time? Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can improve your posture by helping you to walk taller and sit up straighter. Poses like mountain, cobra, tree, cat-cow, standing forward bend, hero, locust and child’s pose are all highly beneficial.
5. Positively impact your sex life
We ain’t about to let all that flexibility/mobility go to waste! 😂 Becoming more flexible/mobile means you’ll be able to get more creative in the bedroom and try out different sexual positions. Doing yoga also helps you to become more in tune with yourself and increase your confidence, so what that means is you can develop a greater sense of awareness of the sensations that run through your body, because you learn to slow down and be in touch with all parts of your body. When you are aware of what your body is capable of doing, the more present you can be during intimate moments, leading to a better experience for both of you.
6. Let’s balance
When I first got into yoga, I would fall out of balancing poses within short periods of time. I share that because whilst I can balance way better than I could when I started out, there are some poses that still throw me off balance and that’s OKAY because it’s all about embracing the journey and learnings that comes with it. Physically, balancing poses strengthen and elongate our muscles and, mentally, balancing poses help us to keep our attention focused and disregard external stimulation and centre ourselves.
7. Breathe better
How much attention do you give to how you are breathing each day? Most of us take shallow breaths and rarely give much thought to our breathing because it’s just something we do. Pranayama supports focusing our attention on breathing and teaches us how to take deeper breaths, which benefits the entire body. When you get your breathing under control and you can connect your breathing to every part of your body and feel how your muscles contract, it can support your practice and other areas of your life too! Checkout my YouTube channel with Breathwork videos.
8. Reduce stress levels
Yoga promotes relaxation, which is the complete opposite of stress. When we practice it helps to moderates the nervous system, balances hormones and regulates nerve impulses – three factors that can reduce stress levels, making you better equipped to handle stressful situations. When I have a stressful day and I get on my mat and start to flow, the stress begins to melt away because it takes me into a different headspace where nothing else matters but the moments of flowing freely. For me personally, yoga is taking time out on my mat to connect with my inner self. When I practice yoga, I feel invigorated, rejuvenated and calm within.
It’s important to close with the fact that yoga is all about connecting with your mind, body, and soul, so always keep that at the forefront of your practice. These benefits of yoga are add-ons!
So, there you have it. 8 benefits of yoga. Are you a fan?
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto