Yoga was originally conceived by the ancient Indian sages primarily as a mental-cum- physical exercise for a spiritual union with God. The physical part comprising certain postures was only meant to relax the body and the mind so that both could become free from tension. With the passage of time, however, the emphasis shifted more to the physical aspect so that Yoga, these days, has come to be identified with physical postures, which, nonetheless, bestow immense benefits to the mind and body of the practitioners. It doesn’t matter if you have online yoga lessons, or you do it in real-life classes, these ten benefits will improve your daily life…
10. Relaxes the mind and the body
As mentioned above, yoga relaxes both the body and the mind. Quite often, we become anxious and stressed due to a host of day-to-day problems which can range from physical to emotional. Yogic exercises relax our minds and they also cure a number of physical diseases naturally which means that you don’t have to depend on medicines for relief. Medicines, no matter how useful, do have some side effects, especially if taken over the long term.
9. Promotes weight loss
Obesity is fast becoming an epidemic worldwide as more and more people are becoming economically prosperous and taking on a sedentary lifestyle. Studies at the University of Washington have revealed that yoga creates a balanced relationship between mind and body. Regular yogic exercises promote mindful – as against mindless – eating and also an awareness of mental and physical sensations caused by eating. Practitioners of yoga become better attuned to emotions arising from food cravings and can, therefore, exercise better control over them.
8. Boosts immunity
It should be noted that our system is one whole entity comprising mind and body. Yogic exercises strengthen the body as a whole and enable it to fight a variety of psychological and physical problems. A recent study conducted in Norway has found that yoga can significantly strengthen the genes and cells that promote the overall immunity of the practitioners even when they are on the mat. According to Mitchel Bleier, a yoga teacher in Connecticut with two decades of experience, “as you breathe better, move better and circulate better, all the other organs function better.”
7. Cures insomnia
Since yoga relaxes both the body and the mind. It cures insomnia and promotes peaceful and quality sleep. Studies at Harvard have established that yogic exercises can significantly eliminate insomnia over a period of two months. According to another study, yoga can help even cancer patients to sleep better; the reason being that it relieves the tension, stress and anxiety resulting from such serious ailments. Shavasana or corpse posture involving diaphragmatic breathing is probably the easiest and most efficacious yogic exercise that brings sleep even a person is performing it.
6. Promotes all-round health and well-being
Health does not just mean the absence of physical diseases but a state of complete balance in the functioning of the mind and body. According to Sri Sri Ravishanker, the exponent of the Art of Living, “health is a dynamic expression of life.” True health means living a life of love, peace and joy and that is what yoga and pranayama-breathing exercises – bestow on their practitioners. It imparts calm and inner peace, an invaluable asset, in the life of a common person.
5. Promotes awareness
Pranayam and meditation are natural adjuncts of yoga. Both these exercises promote awareness of the present moment. Our mind, according to the wisdom of the sages, is like a wild horse driven by a directionless cavalier. It loves to keep reverting to the past or telescoping into the future instead of staying in the present, which deserves its utmost attention. Awareness of the present not only boosts professional efficiency and productivity but also mental and physical health.
4. Promotes quality of relationships
Most relationships whether in love, marriage, society and business suffer strains and tensions damaging the peace and harmony in our life. Yoga, pranayama and meditation not only relax and rejuvenate the person mentally and physically but also inculcate a deep sense of discipline and commitment. All these qualities cumulatively exercise a healthy influence on the quality of our relationships.
3. Promotes mental and spiritual qualities
Regular performance of yoga with its attendant practices of meditation and pranayama sharpen our mental and spiritual faculties such as intuition, empathy and far-sightedness. It instils the divine virtues like love and compassion not only for the fellow human beings but animals and birds also. You generally experience oneness with the whole universe. You become more positive, joyous and optimistic.
2. Lubrication and flexibility
Yoga exercises comprise a huge variety of physical postures and movements including twists, turns, stretches, bends and other formations which cumulatively impart immense flexibility, suppleness and strength to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones of the body. Yoga postures massage and stimulate various glands and organs of the body and protect them from a host of ailments.
1. Detoxifies the system
Yogic exercises are non-violent in the sense that they are mild, harmless and gentle. You do not have to exert unnecessary force or pressure on various organs of the body. The increased blood circulation resulting from various exercises flushes all the toxic fats and impurities from the system. The person remains disease free and feels young, energetic and dynamic after performing yoga.