Human body has amazing ability to heal itself. When it comes to health it is always better to prevent illnesses than going for costly treatments which not only burn a deep hole in the pocket but has varying degree of side effects depending on systems of medicine. Yoga has proved to be very effective in maintaining balanced physical and mental health. While its postures have direct positive effect on various body organs, the numerous breathing exercises calm the mind, alleviate the stress and they together help cope up with challenges of modern life. This is the reason popularity of yoga has spread far and wide and it is hardly possible to find any community in the world which is now not aware about its benefits.
Unlike exercises in a gym, yoga poses are slow and breathing is deep. This improves flow of blood in various body organs and warms up the muscles, thus bringing strength and flexibility. As a practitioner progresses on the path of yoga, he or she is able to push the body limits and acquire greater strength. The asanas or poses along with deep breathing raises awareness about the body and mind. Over a period of time, they deeply understand themselves layers after layers and eventually at molecular level. Progressively, the oneness with nature is realised and one finds the real meaning of life. As a practitioner indulges in yogic life, does asanas and pranayamas consistently over long period, and deepens observation he/she enters the realm of yoga philosophy.
It is rightly said yoga is a vast ocean and the potential to acquire knowledge is infinite. But before yoga practice starts bringing benefits at deeper level, there is visible change at physical and mental level in the beginning of joining a program. To be sure, benefits of yoga are gradual but last forever. Following are some of the benefits of the ancient practice:
Strength and flexibility in body
Yoga is suitable for people of all age groups and can be started at any stage of life. As you age you body loses flexibility and strength. The process of ageing cannot be stopped but it can certainly be slowed down and therefore flexibility and strength can be maintained. Yoga poses help smoothen the joints and reduce muscle tension. Tight muscles can lead to strain and poor posture. Some of the yoga postures that can improve flexibility are Sun Salutation, Warrior Pose and Triangle Pose.
Reduces body pain
Yoga poses are very effective in pain management. As it enhances mobility in various body parts, stress on muscles gets reduced. In many lifestyle diseases such as back pain, shoulder pain and other chronic pains. A 45 minute session for a week can bring huge relief for those suffering from pain arising from wrong postures and sedentary lifestyle.
Yoga improves heart health
Cardiac arrests have been on the rise globally especially after Covid pandemic. There are always reports of sudden heart attacks even in young people. Various yoga postures improve blood flow and reduce the risk of artery blockages. Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Pose, Plank Pose and Mountain Pose have incredible benefits in case of cardiovascular ailments.
Sleep is very important for overall physical and mental health. During sleep, body heals itself. Child’s Pose (Balasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) and Savasana or Corpse pose relax the body and improve sleep quality.
Yoga reinvigorates body and mind
Working at multiple levels, yoga postures relax body and mind and prepare the practitioner for new tasks with renewed strength and energy. A combination of asanas and breathing exercises rest the functions of the body just like rebooting of computer. They improve the flow of vital energy in the body.
Managing mental stress
A short session of yoga and meditation can calm the mind. It helps in secretion of happy hormones and alleviates the mood. A number of studies have found yoga’s efficacy in reducing anxiety and mental stress. A few rounds of deep breathing alone reduce restlessness of the mind. Cat-Cow pose, Bridge Pose and Child’s pose bring instant relief in alleviating stress.
Yoga makes you compassionate
Yoga practices make you more aware of your body and mental state. Gradually it cultivates self-compassion and progressively changes your brain to have compassion and empathy for others. As you practice meditation you become kinder and caring for others. Some of the basic requirements of yoga which include higher degree of ethics and morality make you gentle towards your colleagues and friends.
Yoga broadens your outlook
Yoga practice liberates you from various bondages of caste, creed, religion and other narrow identities. It helps you build humane approach towards all living beings. Yoga brings drastic change in your personality and expands your knowledge. For a yogi, the whole world is family.
Yoga takes care of overall well-being
Yoga is not only helpful in physical and mental health but it also improves psychological well-being. It activates various energy centres in the body and help in achieving full potential in life. It removes negativity and fills the mind with positive energy.
Yoga brings clarity in life
Majority of people are not aware of their true calling and remains confused. This inhibits personal development and also restricts career growth. It is only after the time has passed people realise how they wasted precious years in life. Yoga brings clarity early on and helps the practitioner set meaningful goals.