Why Yoga ?
“Practicing yoga once a week gives you a time every week to focus on your breathing, which in turn, allows you to be present,” says Patanjli, a yoga instructor at Patanjli. “Being in the present moment gives you a total time-out from the rest of the world and resets your system.”
Physically, a one hour yoga class won’t tout the same calorie-blasting effects as 60 minutes of cardio. But it will increase your blood flow, get your oxygen moving, and, “get any stuck parts of your body ‘unstuck,’” Patanjli says.
“If you commit to a weekly practice, depending on the class you take, your flexibility will improve over time, leading to fewer injuries, and you will experience toning in all of your muscles,” Patanjli says. “Not to mention a stronger core, which leads to less back pain.”
No matter your age, your physical capabilities, your current weight or your fitness goals, you should be doing yoga. (Talk to your health-care provider, especially if you suffer from any medical condition. I’m just a yoga teacher not a doctor.)
With all this and much more to offer, the benefits of yoga are felt in a profound yet subtle manner. Here, we look at the top 10 benefits of yoga practice.
1. All-round fitness. You are truly healthy when you are not just physically fit but also mentally and emotionally balanced. As Patanjli puts it, “Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life – in terms of how joyful, loving and enthusiastic you are.” This is where yoga helps: postures, pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation are a holistic fitness package.
2. Weight loss. What many want! Yoga benefits here too. Sun Salutations and Kapal Bhati pranayama are some ways to help lose weight with yoga. Moreover, with regular practice of yoga, we tend to become more sensitive to the kind of food our body asks for and when. This can also help keep a check on weight.
3. Stress relief. A few minutes of yoga during the day can be a great way to get rid of stress that accumulates daily – in both the body and mind. Yoga postures, pranayama and meditation are effective techniques to release stress. You can also experience how yoga helps de-tox the body and de-stress the mind at the Art of Living Yoga Level 2 Course.
4. Inner peace. We all love to visit peaceful, serene spots, rich in natural beauty. Little do we realize that peace can be found right within us and we can take a mini-vacation to experience this any time of the day! Benefit from a small holiday every day with yoga and meditation. Yoga is also one of the best ways to calm a disturbed mind.
5. Improved immunity. Our system is a seamless blend of the body, mind and spirit. An irregularity in the body affects the mind and similarly unpleasantness or restlessness in the mind can manifest as an ailment in the body. Yoga poses massage organs and stregthen muscles; breathing techniques and meditation release stress and improve immunity.
6. Living with greater awareness. The mind is constantly involved in activity – swinging from the past to the future – but never staying in the present. By simply being aware of this tendency of the mind, we can actually save ourselves from getting stressed or worked up and relax the mind. Yoga and pranayama help create that awareness and bring the mind back to the present moment, where it can stay happy and focused.
7. Better relationships. Yoga can even help improve your relationship with your spouse, parents, friends or loved ones! A mind that is relaxed, happy and contented is better able to deal with sensitive relationship matters. Yoga and meditation work on keeping the mind happy and peaceful; benefit from the strengthened special bond you share with people close to you.
8. Increased energy. Do you feel completely drained out by the end of the day? Shuttling between multiple tasks through the day can sometimes be quite exhausting. A few minutes of yoga everyday provides the secret to feeling fresh and energetic even after a long day. A 10-minute online guided meditation benefits you immensely, leaving you refreshed and recharged in the middle of a hectic day.
9. Better flexibility & posture. You only need to include yoga in your daily routine to benefit from a body that is strong, supple and flexible. Regular yoga practice stretches and tones the body muscles and also makes them strong. It also helps improve your body posture when you stand, sit, sleep or walk. This would, in turn, help relieve you of body pain due to incorrect posture.
10. Better intuition. Yoga and meditation have the power to improve your intuitive ability so that you effortlessly realize what needs to be done, when and how, to yield positive results. It works. You only need to experience it yourself.
Remember, yoga is a continuous process. So keep practicing! The deeper you move into your yoga practice, the more profound are its benefits.
Let’s talk about yoga. Do you think it’s a calming and low impact form of exercise? While it can be. Yoga also offers challenges that are suitable for exercise newbies and professional athletes alike.
Although mastering the form and spending time showing off a perfect pose on an empty beach or atop a scenic mountain looks good, yoga is about building strength. No matter how much I can bench press, there will always be a need for yoga in my life. But for many years I viewed is as simply gentle stretching in peaceful surroundings. Pretty much something I would do on my rest day from what I considered to be ‘real exercise.’ I loved the calm, but at about the 30-minute mark I’d be desperate to leave any class because my mind would start to get busy thinking about all of the errands I needed to do. Watching the clock, I’d be thinking to myself, ‘When is this going to be over?’
We Our self have experienced yoga’s healing power in a very real way. Weeks before a trip to India in 2002 to investigate yoga therapy, I developed numbness and tingling in my right hand. After first considering scary things like a brain tumor and multiple sclerosis, I figured out that the cause of the symptoms was thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve blockage in my neck and chest.