Whether in your mind, body, or soul, it’s highly likely that yoga has or will transform your life. While the change may not be evident immediately, you gradually start to notice small shifts in your temperament, the way you hold your body, your health, and the way you think.
When you begin your yoga practice, you’re embarking on the start of a lifelong journey toward wellness, no matter how old or out of shape you think you may be.
If you’re a brand-new yogi or have been on your path to enlightenment for years, here are just a few of the benefits you’ll reap from a regular yoga practice:
Balance the scales.
Yoga’s going to help you become aware of and sort out any issues you may be dealing with from aspects of your being: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
Unwind your body and mind.
Whenever you need an instant uplift, yoga’s got your back (literally as well as figuratively!). If you need an immediate mood boost, or are just looking for that “Aah!” feeling of relaxation elation, try going into Downward-Facing Dog poses, combined with slow, deep breaths, 10 times in a row.
Get glorious glutes.
Yoga’s going to give your lower body the lean, toned look you covet, without any unnecessary bulk. Try Happy Baby or Big Toe pose to lengthen and send some much-needed love to your buttocks and hamstrings.
Say goodnight to insomnia.
Research has shown that a daily yoga practice can lead to a better night’s sleep. This is because it allows us to clear the hustle and bustle from our minds and truly relax into the present moment.
This lets us slow down and prepare for a night of restful slumber. Try Pigeon Pose or a Seated Forward Bend prior to winding down for the night. Both of these poses are bed-friendly, so afterwards, you can roll over and enjoy a good night’s worth of deep, restorative sleep.
Yoga could change your brain.
A United States research study took MRI brain scans of people who practiced yoga regularly and compared to those who didn’t practice it at all, yogis had more grey matter and brain volume.
Another study showed that the precuneous, posterior cingulate cortex, which both contribute to a person’s sense of self, and the hippocampus, which helps curb stress, were bigger in the brains of participants who practiced yoga regularly.
A study done in Norway showed that a consistent yoga practice could alter your genetic expression and give you a boost in immunity. This is because learning to breathe better results in increased circulation, allowing your organs to function optimally.
Better blood pressure.
Yoga has been shown to improve hypertension even more than changes to a person’s daily diet and nutritional habits. What’s great about practicing yoga is that it not only alleviates the symptoms, but by slowing down the heart and signaling to the body and mind to relax, addresses the root cause of the issue.
Try a cooling down pose, like a seated forward bend. Rest your head on a pillow or a yoga block so you can drop into the pose with ease.
Alleviates low back and neck pain.
In your yoga practice, when you hold a pose for a certain amount of time, your muscles begin to relax as you exhale. These poses lead to better posture, by teaching you how to properly support your body throughout the day.
We are learning more and more about yoga’s life-transforming abilities every day. Hopefully these benefits will motivate you to get on the mat and begin your lifelong journey toward peace and well-being today!