Yoga is an ancient Indian practice dating back 5000 years, first mentioned in Sanskrit texts as the word “yuj” which means “union” or “to join”. Here we see the link with modern yoga, where we connect our minds, body, and spirit through movement. These days, we have all types of opportunities to get involved in yoga, whether through local yoga studios or with a simple mat at home. But many of us have yet to start including yoga in our daily routine, so we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best reasons why it should be!
With even 20 to 30 minutes of light yoga, the body moves through its full range of motion. This helps build strength in all of our joints and sends nutrients to our cartilage. As we get older, this constant movement becomes extremely important for keeping us mobile for much longer.
Improved bone density
Many yoga postures require us to bear our own weight, which helps build strength in our bones, wards off osteoporosis, and protect us from fractures. Yoga is especially recommended to those of us who are involved with sports – especially contact sports – to keep us safe from injury.
Boost your circulation
Oxygen starts to pump through your cells when you twist and invert your body! Relaxation through yoga will help blood flow and prevent blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Trying particularly twisty poses out of our comfort level will have the best long-term effects.
Fight off infection
Yoga movements actually help boost your immune system to fight infection and destroy diseased cells by draining your lymph – which transports nutrients and oxygen for the cells as well as immune cells. During its circulation, lymph will pick up many of the body’s waste products and carbon dioxide. By practicing yoga, we can help our bodies to properly take care of this system!
When we take faster yoga classes such as power yoga, we can boost our heart rate into the cardio range which over time will lower the resting heart rate, increase endurance and improve oxygen flow during exercise. Regularly keeping our heart rates in the “aerobic range” or cardio range lowers our risk of heart attack, depression, and anxiety.
Regularly practicing yoga improves our ability to feel what our bodies are doing and be more aware of “where it is” in its space. Over time, this gives us better control over our balance – which leads to fewer falls and clumsy mishaps. As we get older, this balance means more independence much later in our lives.
Lose weight to feel better
Yoga is a very lightweight easy way to lose weight over time. Unlike other more high-intensity exercises, yoga helps us gradually lose weight as we keep our hearts in the aerobic zone and improve our balance. This is one of the safest ways to lose weight so as not to shock our systems with quick weight loss.
Since yoga places a lot of emphasis on breathing patterns, such as breathing through the nose and out through the mouth, it helps filter, warm, and humidifies the air we breathe. This creates a more calming environment, can prevent asthma attacks, and removes pollen and dirt from reaching your throat. Between our breathing patterns, increased circulation, and better cardio our body will drift off without a fight!
More movement means better digestion, which helps the body more rapidly and efficiently process food and waste. Healthy digestion will lower our risks of colon cancers or any other disease from our digestive tract. Additionally, the more you move the less tempted you are to eat unhealthy foods – as the negative impact of foods that are high in sugar or fat seem more pronounced to a body that is treated like a well-oiled machine! Exercise encourages us to eat better to feel better.
Doing yoga gives us all time to meditate and stop for a moment when we would otherwise have very busy days without much time to ourselves. In these moments, it becomes easier to find peace of mind to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
So with that in mind, try out some poses by adding 15 minutes to your morning or evening routine and watch how your life improves!