Yoga for Peace of Body and Mind

Yoga for Peace of Body and Mind

When you find many, including the likes of Gisele Bundchen and Gwenyth Paltrow boisterously advocating yoga, you need to get with the program. Besides the multitude of benefits on the body, yoga has the ability to chase away the woes that cloud the mind. Find out what this ancient practice can do for you below.

Improves your flexibility

The late Tao Porchon-Lynch, who recently departed us the perfect example to depict the benefits yoga has on flexibility. This of course, takes discipline and consistency, so if you can’t reach your toes in your first class, don’t be discouraged. With every class, you will notice a gradual loosening of the muscles and soon, aches and pains begone. Often, the aches that one experiences such as on the knee joint can be attributed to tight hips, or tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which leads to back pain. Meanwhile, the inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue is among the cause of poor posture.

Builds muscle strength

Having strong muscles surpasses aesthetic quality, to more vital roles like protecting us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and helps prevent falls in elderly people. Through yoga, one learns the art of building strength as well as flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.

Perfects your posture

You might not notice it off the bat, but with every regular yoga session, you will eventually feel  that you stand straighter and sit differently. This is because yoga corrects and perfects one’s posture. Poor posture can cause various  muscle and joint problems. As you hunch, your body tends to compensate with say, flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This as a by product, causes pain  and degenerative arthritis of the spine in the long run.

Protects your spine

Contrary to the notion that backbends, forward bends, and twists might hurt your back, yoga actually works quite the opposite, keeping your spinal disks supple. Help keep your disks supple. Spinal disks - the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That's the only way they get their nutrients.

Betters your bone health

It's well documented that exercises involving weight  strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Most of the yoga asanas require you to hold your own body weight. Poses like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog,  strengthens the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga's ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol (see Number 11) may help keep calcium in the bones.

Increases your blood flow

The stretches and bends that come with yoga promotes blood circulation, especially in the hands and feet, hence the tingling sensations. There is a notion that twisting asanas wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. On the other hand, inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourages the flow of venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, subsequently to the lungs to be replaced with fresh oxygen. This can help relieve swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems. As you know, yoga boosts hemoglobin and red blood cells - the oxygen carriers. It also thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood which significantly decreases the chances of heart attack or stroke.

Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity

The lymphatic system plays an important role in draining toxins from the body and maintaining its immunity against pathogens. When you contract and stretch muscles going through poses,, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells).

Helps you focus

While practicing yoga, you are focused on your breath and mindfully aware of your postures. Some studies have revealed that when practiced regularly, yoga improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate great problem solving abilities, storing and recalling information because they're less distracted by their thoughts.

Deeper sleep

There is a reason why many metropolitans turn to yoga - to relieve themselves from the constant hustle and bustle. Restorative asana, yoga nidra (a form of guided relaxation), Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, turning the senses inwards. This act gives the nervous system some rest. Another advantage of a regular yoga practice, studies suggest, is quality sleep.

Boosts your immune system functionality

Asana and pranayama probably improve immune function, but, so far, meditation has the strongest scientific support in this area. It appears to have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system, boosting it when needed (for example, raising antibody levels in response to a vaccine) and lowering it when needed (for instance, mitigating an inappropriately aggressive immune function in an autoimmune disease like psoriasis).

Agent of peace

Yoga is an agent of relaxation. It quells the fluctuations of the mind that can cause stress. Since stress is associated with many ailments from migraines and insomnia to lupus, high blood pressure, and heart attacks, learning to tame the monkey mind will let you live longer and healthier.

Increases self-esteem

Reclaim your confidence and feel comfortable in your own skin. As yogic philosophy teaches,  you are a manifestation of the Divine. If you practice yoga with the intention of self-reflection and betterment, you can learn a different side of yourself. Experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you're but a speck in a bigger picture. While better health is not the goal of spirituality, it's often a by-product, as documented by repeated scientific studies.

Forging better relationships

The benefits of yoga is like a chain reaction. When you’ve harnessed clarity, you then have empathy, greater equanimity to support friends, family, and community. Along with yogic philosophy's emphasis on avoiding harm to others, telling the truth, and taking only what you need, this may improve many of your relationships.

Sounds to soothe sinuses

The basics of yoga, asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation all work hand in hand to improve health, but there's more yoga can offer, like chanting. When you chant, the act tends to prolong exhalation, which shifts the balance toward the parasympathetic nervous system. A recent study from Sweden's Karolinska Institute suggests that humming sounds, like an Om, open the sinuses and facilitate drainage.

Self-care through yoga

Yoga prepares you with the tools for change. Given your commitment to practice frequently, you will notice three main aspects - you are more involved in self-care, you discover that you have the power to bring change, and that brings you hope, which is healing.

Tames the monkey mind

Want to know how people leave a class feeling calm and relaxed? Yoga and meditation teaches how to center oneself, which subsequently reduces the millions of thoughts and makes you calm and present. Yoga also reduces stress by calming the overall nervous system - lowers blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels.

Chases away negative emotions

Stress is a negative entity that comes with a package of other negative emotions that is likely to lead to anxiety, worry, and even depression. To keep these feelings at bay, practicing the yoga poses will increase blood circulation and release dopamine (happy hormone) to set a better frame of mind.

Promotes productivity

One of the most important principles of yoga is mindfulness - the ultimate habit for success. Being mindful or present makes you more focused on your undertakings and in turn, boosts productivity. When your mind is at peace, you tend to work in a calm, stable, and confident manner.

Clarity of mind

With stress and negativity ever present and ubiquitous, self-reflection through yoga will grant you inner peace and will help tide you through difficult times. Akin to giving your full concentration on balancing a yoga pose, this would subconsciously help set aside any unnecessary thoughts and feelings..

Mindfulness to face challenges

Life is like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. Similar to the aforementioned point, cultivating mindfulness leaves you focused on the needful and voila, you have the clarity to take on any adversity that comes your way.