YOGA – Benefits BEYOND

Jayanti Krishnan

njkbPracticing Yoga has many benefits for both mental and physical health. It is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Yuj‘ meaning union. In true sense, it not only gives flexibility but also heals the mind from inside.

In this edition, I bring you six benefits (apart from weight loss) that I have witnessed after practicing yoga. It can be any type of yoga at any time of the day; even fifteen minutes can make a big difference and bring a new energy within you.

Elevates the mood 

Practice of yoga can ease stress and promote relaxation. The stretching, breathing and meditation specially calms the mind and helps us see within. It also emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment which could help us in treating anxiety and finding peace within. Chanting, for example, helps soothe the mind.

Many workplaces now offer lunch-time yoga sessions. Studies have also shown that those people who regularly practice all the three elements – Stretching, Breathing and Meditation – are better able to regulate their HRV (heart-rate variability).

End result – Happier You

Improves flexibility and builds muscle strength

Yoga can help the body relax through the use of specific poses that target flexibility and balance. Initially, you probably would not be able to do toe-touching or crunches, but if you stick with it, you will notice a gradual improvement, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. People with bad posture are more susceptible to knee problems and back pain. With regular practice, you will notice your aches and pains disappearing.

End result – Perfect Posture

Promotes sleep quality

While it is said that 8 to 10 hours of sleep is a must, quality is a more important metric than quantity. Sound 6 hours of sleep is said to be enough compared to a disturbed 10 hours of sleep. Yoganidra can help you fall asleep faster, more peacefully and can make you feel energetic and well-rested in the morning. Regular and sound sleep eventually helps in better brain activity, helping you solve problems and recall information, improving your overall performance during the day.

End result – Focused You

Increases your blood flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can improve your circulation. Yoga postures helps in blood flow helping to get more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Especially the difficult inverted poses such as head-stand, hand-stand and shoulder-stand ensure that the blood from your legs and pelvis flow back to your heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated.

End result – Glowing You

Boosts your immunity

Yoga is a natural immunity booster which can help us lead a healthier life. Especially if correct breathing techniques and regular pranayama are followed. It is important to keep in mind that yoga is an effective preventive measure to keep diseases at bay, but is not a substitute for medication. It can, at best, supplement treatments of diseases such as asthma, diabetes etc. However, please do remember to take your doctor’s advice before doing yoga and regular medication if suffering from an ailment.

End result – Healthier You

Builds inner strength

Yoga can help you make changes in your life. Yoga and meditation build awareness. And the more aware you are, the easier it is to control your emotions like anger. You can still react quickly when you need to, but you can take that split second to choose a more thoughtful approach, thereby reducing suffering and taking the right decisions. It also helps in developing will power and patience.

End result – Peaceful YouPicture1Yoga is becoming increasingly common as a therapy in itself to improve the overall quality of life. This new year, I urge you all to let yoga become a part of your daily regime by starting simple breathing exercises like pranayama and suryanamaskar. You can start slow, increasing the number of exercises gradually as your body becomes used to it.

*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*

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