Is yoga part of your wellness routine? Yoga began as an Indian spiritual practice sometime between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago—the word “yoga” means “unite”—and is a full integration of your physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. But it was relatively recently that yoga took hold in the US—a trend-turned-timeless wellness technique—where now 20 million people practice. With this kind of history, there must be something to it! Here are six of the most transformational benefits of yoga, as well as techniques you can try at home:
Yoga strengthens immunity
Research has shown that yoga can reduce chronic inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Regular exercise, including the gentle movements practiced in yoga, can also help to cleanse your lymphatic system, improving respiration and circulation. Proper lymph flow is vital for filtering out viruses and bacteria in your system.
Yoga promotes better breathing
That deep, cleansing breath goes a long way. It’s easy to forget, but oxygen is vital to literally every function in our bodies from our energy levels to immune systems. Breathing mindfully helps to oxygenate the brain and body, allowing you to make the most of its presence. Yogic breathing practices, often called Pranayama, have helped people gain the endurance needed to support an active lifestyle, reduce stress, and even improve metabolism!
Yoga reduces stress
Yoga is a known stress-reducer for many reasons, beginning with the fact that movement is vital to the mind and body for all of the above reasons (when your body is functioning properly, your mind can too!). However, there are a few different types of yoga that may be particularly good for promoting relaxation, such as restorative yoga which focuses on easing muscle tension through gentle stretches. There’s also yoga nidra, which, through meditative deep breathing, can propel you into such a relaxed state that you feel you’ve slept for hours!
Yoga boosts inner strength
Yoga has as many internal benefits as it does external, as challenging yourself physically and mentally will increase your self-confidence and help you develop discipline. These aren’t just feelings you’ll enjoy while practicing, either—they’ll soon seep onto other parts of your life, helping you maintain the strength to achieve goals and follow through on commitments.
Yoga improves balance and posture
One of the biggest culprits of muscle tension and strain? Poor posture! It’s the cause of countless pains in the back, shoulders, neck, and even chest. A regular yoga practice will improve balance and correct posture, which may in turn solve some of those mysterious aches.
Yoga helps you sleep
Have you heard of Pranayama? ZENTS founder Cord Coen utilized yoga and Pranayama on his healing journey and continues to practice Pranayama every morning. It’s the simple practice of breath control—which, as you now know, is vastly beneficial to your overall wellness! Pranayama breathing exercises are quick to relax you, offering a sense of calm throughout your day and easing your body and mind into sleep at night. There are also yoga poses such as savasana (Corpse Pose) in yoga nidra, you can practice to put you at ease.
How to Get Started with Yoga
Have we convinced you of the benefits of yoga yet? You don’t need a fancy studio or even a yoga mat to start stretching those limbs. Try our intro level yoga classes online in the ZENTS Wellness Room and see how you feel when you’re finished!
Still a little intimidated? Start with Pranayama by practicing this Calming Breathing Technique with Cord. So simple, yet incredibly powerful!
Immune system: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201802/new-research-how-yoga-boosts-your-immune-system
Blood pressure: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260699#does_yoga_reduce_blood_pressure
Better breathing: https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/science-breathing