This month Aurorae would like to focus on our inner beauty, inner peace and our general well-being. You’ve heard many times that there are numerous health benefits of yoga but do you actually know that they aren’t just physical health benefits but you’ll also find numerous mental health benefits to practicing yoga.
What Are Some Physical Health Benefits of Yoga?
It’s not a secret that yoga can improve your flexibility. If you didn’t realize that this was healthy, think again. With tight hips, for instance, you can actually strain your knees due to improper alignment of your thighs or shinbones. Crazy, right? Who would have thought that being flexible is actually a health benefit of yoga?
Improving your posture is also a health benefit of yoga. Yes, your posture is extremely important to your physical well-being! Not only does proper posture help alleviate stress from your neck and shoulders, but it can cause you to become very tired quickly. Let’s say that again. Poor posture will make you tired.
Yoga can help increase your blood flow! Yes, your blood flow is an important part of your health. As an added bonus, by practicing yoga, you are sending more oxygen to your cells, which will result in better functioning of your body in general.
One of the most important health benefits of yoga is that by practicing yoga you can drop your blood pressure. As we age, and possibly due to genetics, watching our blood pressure can become increasingly important to our health. Two studies have shown that people with hypertension who simply laid on the couch versus those who were in Savanasa (Corpse Pose), actually had a statistically significant higher blood pressure. That’s two “positions” similar to each other, but one an actual yoga pose.
Mental Health Benefits of Yoga
As we mentioned, yoga does not only help you improve your physical health, but can also lead to a number of mental health benefits as well!
In short, yoga can make you a happier person. If being happy isn’t a mental health benefit of yoga, then I don’t think so many people would pick up on it. Apparently, one study found that those who were depressed and practiced regular yoga were led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in monoamine oxidase levels (this is apparently an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. So, there is physical science evidence that you can eventually be perpetually (okay, maybe not every minute of every day) happy.
Yoga can help you focus. Yes, focus is one of those health benefits that we oftentimes don’t even think about it. But, when reflecting on our day, we can look back and realize that we weren’t as focused as we had wanted to be. Practicing yoga can help you with this focus as you practice focusing on not only your asanas (yoga poses) but also your breathing while you practice. This concentration can carry over into your everyday life now that you’ve been practicing it.
One of the most popular mental health benefits of yoga (and this author’s favorite) is that yoga can relax your system. And it does. So much of your body depends on your breath and therefore by practicing deep breathing, focused breathing, and focusing on the here and now while you practice, you are also slowing down nervous systems. This is HUGE because that means your heart rate slows down, your breathing, your blood pressure drops, your blood flow increases to the important organs and you just FEEL amazing.
This list just merely touches on the health benefits of yoga. Is there a particular health reason that you enjoy practicing yoga?