The Many Health Benefits of Yoga

Article by Leanne Smith

Yoga is not something new at all – in fact it’s been part of human history for the last five thousand years or so. In the Western world, however, yoga is still in its early phase, and it’s mostly the health conscious who have taken to the practice. Some people mistakenly think that yoga is just another get into shape and weight loss fad, similar to various exercise programs made popular by celebrity endorsements in the past. The truth, however, is that yoga cannot be simply categorised as exercise. It is a way of life, and it offers a more holistic take on the body’s development and empowerment. It’s not just another fad that will fade away in time. Yoga offers the strengthening of the body, the mind, and the spirit. It is quite unfortunate that in the West, most of the focus is on the “poses”, wherein the body is stretched and contorted. Although the poses are authentic to yoga, they are not the end form of the practice. Yoga is the complete package, and it seeks to improve the body’s physical form while also encouraging relaxation and spiritual rejuvenation. Yoga enthusiasts already know that there are health benefits to be gained from the practice. This is especially true if you have the good fortune to meet a true teacher who will impart not only the physical poses to you, but also the meditative part of yoga. The following health benefits will be yours, through yoga:

Improvement of the physical bodyThe easiest effect of yoga that practitioners can see and feel is the immediate improvement of the physical form. This is not in a weight loss sense alone, but in terms of becoming physically healthier. The poses in yoga can be quite demanding, and some are really difficult to perform. However, with constant practice, one’s body will increase in flexibility.Being flexible is crucial to maintaining a healthy physical form. A flexible body is less likely to suffer internal injuries, and will not easily succumb to the pains of old age. Joint pains and muscle strain won’t be your concerns as lon g as you keep your body nimble, limber, and flexible with yoga.For the stressed out employees, yoga can loosen up your body. It releases the pent up tension, stress, and strain that your body suffers from. Your daily worries can contribute to physical problems, so yoga will help you release these problems and improve your health. Finally, constant yoga practice will undoubtedly help you achieve a slimmer and more toned body.

Emotional and spiritual relaxation

It’s not just the body that needs help; the spirit needs to be rejuvenated, too. Practicing yoga is also a form of relaxation. There are certain resorts or vacation hotels that offer yoga retreats. Basically, a yoga retreat lets practitioners enjoy their daily routine while enjoying the beautiful scenery. In some cases, this change of pace doubles the impact of yoga, as it helps relieve the person of stress at well. Yoga retreats allow you to focus on meditation as well, which is just as important. True teachers of yoga know that meditation and the proper breathing techniques are necessary. These techniques help keep the body in balance and will help you improve your body and mind. For those who don’t know, meditation has always been crucial to yoga, as early religious ascetics in India were the foremost practitioners. Stress hurts not just the body but also the spirit; yoga retreats can improve the health benefits delivered by yoga. Also, yoga retreats can bring you far away from your daily concerns. Even emotions and other baggage can harm the body, the mind, and the spirit. Yoga retreats help you leave everything behind.

AlertnessIf you thought yoga was just all about the physical and the emotional, then you were wrong. Our minds are constantly bogged down by worries and problems so we can’t focus enough and use our full mental capacities. It’s impossible to solve a problem when you’ve got five other things on your mind to worry about. Basically, everyone knows that worries keep the brain on overdrive. This is inefficient, as you might get too wrapped up in the problems that you won’t have time to actually think things through. Practicing yoga helps de-clutter the mind, as the meditation helps you regain your focus. More importantly, the holistic approach to body, mind, and spirit helps you improve your mental alertness while still working on your physical requirements.

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