Benefits of Yoga

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Looking for a reason to start or keep doing yoga??  There are almost too many benefits of yoga to even count.  I’ve captured many of them in the picture above and expanded on some of the main ones below:

1. Strengthens Muscles – When you think yoga, you may not think strength, but many of the poses in yoga are weight bearing and held for extended periods of times building not just your muscle strength, but bone strength as well!  Strong muscles help protect us from back pain and arthritis as well as helps improve our balance. The great thing about yoga is it combines strength with flexibility.  Many people when trying to build strength, just focus on the repetitions that will increase muscle tone, and are successful, but at the expense of flexibility.

2. Improved Flexibility – This might be the most well known benefit of yoga.  Improved flexibility is an outcome of practicing yoga, not a requirement.  Let me emphasize that…you do not have to be flexible to start practicing yoga.  As you continue to practice yoga you’ll notice gradual improvement in your flexibility.  Improved flexibility doesn’t just allow you to touch your toes, it helps align the joints and straightens the spine to prevent knee, hip, and back pain among other ailments.

3. Improved Posture – Do you have back pain and feel tired from sitting all day in front of a computer or hauling around kids or pets?  When we don’t think about how we’re sitting, standing or carrying things, our posture suffers. And when our spine is not aligned, not only does that result in back pain and poor posture, it can also cause fatigue. The body has to work harder to carry itself incorrectly, so this causes you to tire more easily. Yoga asanas (postures) help to align the spine and improve posture to keep you moving correctly throughout your whole day.

4. Improved balance, focus, and memory – Yoga requires you to work to connect the body and the mind.  This can be challenging at first, but with practice you’ll notice that it becomes easier.  And you’ll notice these benefits off the mat too.  The ability to balance that you learn in yoga will help you balance more in life.  This is especially important as we age and our center of balance starts to go.  Along with better balance comes focus.  Do you ever find it difficult to focus on a task you’re working on, or stay engaged in conversations.  Yoga challenges your focus by pushing you to let go of distractions and focus on your practice in the moment.  This lesson in focus is one that is useful in our daily lives as well.  As you practice yoga, it has been found that you can more easily remember things. This is thought to be due to the fact that you’re able to clear your mind more easily of unimportant thoughts and distractions.

5. Improved Digestion – This one was a big one for me.  I struggled with symptoms of IBS for years.  In addition to changing my diet, yoga helped me find relief for these symptoms.  Yoga improves blood flow and circulation throughout your body getting it to organs faster so that they can do the jobs they were created for.  Yoga involves a lot of twisting which is thought to help eliminate waste and move food more quickly through the digestive system.  Yoga also helps relieve stress, which is a big contributor to ulcers, constipation, IBS and other digestive ailments.

What benefits do you find from practicing yoga?  Or what benefits do you want to get from practicing?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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