a guest post by Frank Apodaca of TheSleepJudge.com
In the bustling society we inhabit today, it is nice to take the time to unwind and relax while engaging in an activity that soothes the soul. Yoga has always been touted as one of the activities that centers not only a person’s energy but allows them to enter a space of peace and quiet. There are numerous physical health benefits to practicing the art of yoga, from calorie-burning to core strength to increased flexibility. The benefits of yoga will differ for each person that tries this activity but there are some common virtues that cannot be ignored!
Yoga is a style of movements that are designed to release tension from the muscles of the body and allow the mind to relax into a state of meditation. It also offers the physical benefit of greater core strength from holding certain positions for prolonged periods of time. Yoga can also increase a person’s flexibility the longer they practice and the more advanced in their movements they become.
Throughout this article, we will discuss what mental benefits and even spiritual benefits taking up the practice of yoga can offer you.
What is Yoga?
The basic definition of exactly what the practice of yoga is:
A complete mind and body practices with ancient origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Many styles of yoga unite physical postures, various breathing techniques, and meditation combined relaxation. Developed in ancient India, it is a way to increase physical and spiritual health. It is now practiced by millions of people all around the globe, and there are numerous styles and types of schools in operation for people in all stages of yoga. There are beginner classes, regular classes, and even advanced classes.
Some of the physical benefits people describe after practicing yoga for extended periods of time where higher flexibility in all limbs and their core as well as a greater core strength for maneuvering the body. Balance is noticeably increased, and posture is aligned to recommended positions.
While the physical benefits of yoga cannot be ignored, the mental benefits deserve their moment in the sun and should be recognized for the greatness they provide.
Lower Stress Levels – Reduce Anxiety and Depression
When sources of stress are literally everywhere you turn, it can be difficult to shake stress and anxiety off from your mind. Yoga uses a combination of meditation poses and breathing techniques that allows the practitioner to actually feel tension and stress melting away with each new pose. Yoga is generally practiced in a quiet room, sometimes with candles or incense burning to increase your senses or perhaps even a diffuser offering scents of essential oils accompanied by soft music playing. Entering the room in which the yoga session takes place can be a stress reliever in itself.
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Without stress and worries at the forefront of your mind, the stress response system naturally built into your body relaxes and comes off guard against anxiety. This break can aid the body heal and relax which in turn helps sleep patterns become more routine, allowing the body to gain fuel from sleep and restore the previous damage.
The use of yoga can actually boost a person’s mood from down in the dumps to up in the clouds. Exercise sends signals to the mind that continue on to the glands of the brain, instructing it to release feel-good hormones. This hormone coupled with the validation of doing something for you is exhilarating. This phenomenon of the body being connected to the mind can work in the opposite way as well for regular yoga practitioners. Their joyful, peaceful mood can become sour and unpleasant if denied the chance to release their frustrations in a physical outlet. There are certain yoga positions that promote feelings of peace and ease whereas some positions infuse you with energy, effectively changing your mood and soothing your soul.
Improve Memory and Concentration
Thanks to having to remember all yoga positions previously taught and thanks to having to fully concentrate on moving your body to match your instructors, yoga can improve your memory over time and increase concentration levels to new heights. When the body is relaxed and the mind is clear, more information filters in to be stored in your memory.
Reduce Aches and Pains
Then you wake up with aches and pain, your mood and energy levels instantly plummet. The thought of spending the day trying to sit a certain way to relieve pressure or moving in a particular way to avoid aggravating areas of the body can create tension and stress throughout the body. Yoga has been proven to reduce tension and pain in the body so the brain doesn’t have to send and receive as many pain signals as before. The more flexibility gained from yoga allows the body to maneuver itself into positions it couldn’t previously. These new movements add a stretch to the body, acting as a natural pain reliever! To also reduce pain, along with giving the body the support it needs to sleep deep, invest in a mattress specifically made to reduce aches.
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To list all the benefits of yoga would take a long time and that list can change for each person you ask. What benefits one might not benefit the other and that’s ok! Check out local classes and learn with other beginners to find the right balance for you.