The Benefits Of Yoga
By now, you’ll have almost certainly heard that yoga is good for you. Our simple guide on yoga for beginners will help you unlock the benefits of yoga for a lifetime of improved wellness.
What Exactly is Yoga?
Even if you’ve never previously shown an interest in the physical practice of yoga or taking yoga classes, you’ll be aware of what it looks like and probably know one or two of the basic poses and breathing exercises. It has been practiced for thousands of years around the globe and is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “a set of physical and mental exercises, originally from India, intended to give control over the body and mind”.
The word itself derives from the Sanskrit word for “to unite” and is designed to connect the body, mind, and soul while simultaneously connecting the individuals’ energies to those of the universe around them. In that sense, it is a powerful tool that can alter a person’s consciousness and perceptions through physical stretches and breathing techniques. A number of statistics underline the growing popularity of yoga, including but not limited to;
Over 300 million people now actively practice yoga or yoga and meditation.
The yoga industry is enjoying a CAGR of 11.7% worldwide.
The UK’s yoga sector is worth £908m.
On average, a yoga class in the UK will include 15 participants.
Almost half of all practitioners do yoga 2-3 times per week.
The growing popularity and widespread enjoyment of regular yoga practice and meditation gives immediate indications that the activities deliver a range of rewards, which is further underlined by the fact that 94% of people do yoga for wellness-related reasons. Meanwhile, several demographic studies show that younger people are now open to the benefits of practicing yoga. through their own practice or by joining yoga classes.
Unlike many popular activities that see a spike in popularity, yoga practices like hatha yoga are far from a fad. After such a rich history, it is clearly here to stay – and there’s good reason for it.
Is Yoga Good For You?
Before looking at yoga for beginners and the stretches that you may try, any prospective yoga practitioner will need to confirm that it is the right choice of exercise for them. Quite frankly, the benefits of yoga are simply incredible. Regardless of your age or current fitness level, scientific research shows that you can reap the rewards. Because it is designed to connect the body, mind, and soul, the benefits of yoga can fall into three categories;
Regular yoga is shown to help individuals reduce their high blood pressure levels due to a combination of inner calmnerss and physical activity, with studies showing that individuals can see a 5 mmHG (millimetres of mercury) reduction. Reduced blood pressure can subsequently help individuals reduce their risk of heart problems and strokes.
As well as fighting high blood pressure, the physical practice of yoga has been shown to fight chronic pain, such as headaches, back pain, and arthritis. Yoga retreats have also be shown to help reduce inflammation, which translates to reduced pain and discomfort from various conditions as well as protection from muscle injuries in the upper body and lower body alike.
The physical benefits of yoga additionally include increased flexibility, energy, and respiratory health. When used in conjunction with healthy diets, it can be a great step towards healthy weight loss as you’ll lose fat while simultaneously toning up the muscles without causing problems for the joints. The physical poses can also boost the immune system and bone health while also supporting your body’s nervous system.
While yoga works to deliver many physical rewards and body awareness, most people primarily link it to mental wellness. Breathing exercises for anxiety are a great example of this. Yoga’s benefits allow you to focus your attention and energy on achieving inner peace. Aside from fighting anxiety, it can relieve stress and help you maintain balance in your life.
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of yoga right now, especially as modern life is immensely stressful. Reduced stress levels will encourage a better quality of sleep, reduce physical pains, and allow you to concentrate on positivity and progress. Even a few minutes per day can deliver a significant change to your mindset and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Physical and mental health are very closely linked, which further underlines the need to combine the two. Studies additionally show that depression levels can fall by 50% after just three months of yoga. With mental health problems at an all-time high, adding yoga to your daily routines is highly advised.
Finally, it should be noted that yoga can deliver lifestyle rewards. Joining yoga classes at yoga studios can add a social element while the routines of yoga and breathwork will organise your life. Yoga’s ability to promote an increased sense of control can make you healthier and happier with quick progress and lasting results.
Keeping a yoga journal to record all aspects of your yoga practice, from the yoga postures you practice and the progress you make, also puts you in a positive mindset that can subsequently lead to increased self esteem, which supports success in other aspects of your life ranging from relationships to your career. Mental clarity and reduced stress can be the catalyst for better health and a happier future.
The regular practice of yoga is also supported by scientific evidence that suggests you’ll fall asleep with greater ease while also reaching the REM stages with ease. As such, yoga helps improve balance, blood flow, and manage chronic conditions for improved men’s or women’s health.
So, is yoga good for you? Absolutely.
Yoga For Beginners
Anybody wanting to get the most out of yoga for beginners and its ability to manage health conditions shouldn’t only focus on the benefits. It is equally important to find the best yoga and meditation techniques available. The great thing about yoga is that it is accessible to all. While you may not be able to complete some of the more difficult yoga exercises right now – or maybe ever – the basic stretches will be possible.
Studies suggest that you start with short sessions (perhaps 20-30 minutes) a few times per week before gradually increasing the duration of each session. You can always combine this with a few minutes of meditation. Choosing the right yoga pose is also vital – some of the following simple yoga stretches should serve you well;
Child’s pose – start in the tabletop position with big toes touching. Following this, you can sit back on your heels, bringing your torso to the thighs. This move should help open up the shoulders because your hands will stay flat (palm down) on the floor.
Triangle pose – start by standing with legs apart, with one foot facing forwards and the other at a 90-degree angle. Your arms should be stretched out to the side (palm down) and then tilt your body so that the hand touches the floor next to the 90-degree facing foot. Make a conscious effort to control your breathing throughout the stretch.
Bridge pose – start by laying on your back with legs bent so that your soles are touching the mat. Bring your heels to your bottom and then exhale. Keeping your knees over the ankles, you should then lift your hips. This is a great move for your buttocks.
As well as trying these stretches, there are many more to consider, such as the downward dog. You can find them with online yoga teacher or by attending a yoga class or yoga retreat. Finally, be sure to invest in suitable attire to stay comfortable and supported while practicing yoga. When you do, the rewards of regular yoga practice will be all yours.