Three Reasons to Start Practicing Yoga Today
Do you keep telling yourself that you’ll sign up for that yoga class, or that you’ll start waking up early to do a morning sun salutation? Maybe you need that extra push to finally get back into yoga after a long break. Yoga will improve your mental health, boost your immunity, and help you be stronger and more flexible.
1. Yoga Will Improve Your Mental Health
Yoga focuses on not only the physical aspect, but the mental aspect as well. You will notice your instructor telling you to focus on your breath and to let your mind be still. Yoga sessions end with Savasana, which is a posture used to deeply relax and even meditate.
This, along with the deep breathing and focus, can help alleviate anxiety and depression. People who have anxiety and depression tend to have lower amounts of GABA in their bodies, so raising the levels can help symptoms. A one-hour session of yoga can increase GABA levels by 27%. Gaba is a neuotransmitted that, when low, makes it hard to relax.
A study by The Journal of Psychiatric Practice found that yoga could even help people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms. Twenty percent of people in the study said that their yoga practice was life changing.
Yoga can also improve focus and memory, so even if you don’t have mental health concerns, yoga can help you at work and in your daily life.
2. Yoga Will Boost Your Immunity
Do you get sick a lot? Yoga can boost your immune system in many ways. By practicing yoga flows and poses, you improve your posture, which makes it easier to breathe, since your chest is open. By focusing on your breath, you are able to open up your lungs. This can help prevent infection.
Increasing blood flow helps your organs function better. When your organs are functioning better, your body will be able to fight off sickness easier.
Several studies have found that yoga lowers your stress levels. When your stress is low, your body is better able to fight off illness. Stress is related to cortisol — when you are stressed, your body has higher cortisol levels. When your cortisol levels are high, your immune system suffers.
A 2016 study found that mindfulness meditation — which is often practiced during yoga — helps your body respond to antigens.
2. Yoga Will Make You Stronger and More Flexible
Finally, Yoga builds strength and flexibility. Yoga is especially good for people new to fitness who are looking to tone up or lose weight and who haven’t exercised much in the past. If you can’t do a pose, there are always alternates and modifications. It’s also a great way to see your progress. You might not be able to touch your toes now, but after practicing yoga regularly, you notice that you’re a lot closer, if not already there. There are lots of different styles of yoga, and every instructor teaches differently. So if you’re new to exercise, or if you’re recovering from an injury (and your doctor says it’s okay), you can start out with a gentle yoga class that focuses on stretching, meditating, and basic flows and poses.
Yoga complements other types of exercise well, too. For example, strength trainers use yoga to keep their flexibility, and runners can use it to stretch and to build their core and muscle.
Being stronger and more flexible will make daily life easier, too. You’ll have less trouble opening that jar of peanut butter, and reaching down to pick up your pet will be easier, too.
Are you convinced yet? By practicing yoga, you can improve your mental health, boost your immune system, and build strength and flexibility. If you’re not ready to go to a yoga studio, try some poses from this website, or follow along to a video. Ask a friend to join you. There is no better time than now.