7 Healthy Benefits of Yoga

I’ve always wanted to start practicing yoga and this year I decided to invest in a month worth of hot yoga classes from Magnolia Yoga Studio here in New Orleans. So far, I’ve completed two classes without walking out, lol! The first class was 60 mins and the second was 90 mins. Honestly, the first class I felt as if I was going to fall out but I continued pushing myself to the end. I was very proud of myself for being able to focus and be my own cheerleader in my head. I kept telling myself, “You can do this P! Look around you, everyone’s pushing themselves to their maximum potential. Just keep going.” I pushed myself to do all of the poses and it felt great! I plan to do yoga at least 3 times a week along with going to the gym. Yoga is how I am practicing self-care this year. If you’re not familiar with my self–care regimen read more about it here.

Helps you to focus

An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores.

Joint Support

By gently taking joints ankles, knees, hips & shoulders through their range of motion, asana helps keep them strong, which researchers say may help keep you moving freely in athletic and everyday pursuits as you age.

Improves flexibility

Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear.

Increase blood flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated.

Improves your balance

Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance. People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain.

Helps you to sleep deeper

Yoga can provide relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Restorative asana, yoga nidra (a form of guided relaxation), Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system.

Gives you peace of mind

Yoga slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. And since stress is implicated in so many health problems from migraines and insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, high blood pressure, and heart attacks if you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll be likely to live longer and healthier.

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