Five Ways Yoga Improves Your Body and Soul
We all know that yoga gives you an amazingly toned body, but a regular practice also offers several other benefits that are so important for your health and wellness. Here are five ways yoga can have a profound impact on your mind and body.
In one study of yoga practitioners who took classes to lose weight, the participants reported that they saw a noticeable difference in their relationship with food that wasn’t there during their other weight-loss attempts. That resulted in reduced cravings, a decrease in appetite, and fewer instances of stress eating. This adoption of a healthier diet, and the subsequent weight loss, could be attributed to many factors related to yoga. Among them: an increased metabolism, elevated mood, and a social network and role models that promote mindful eating habits.
All those backbends and forward folds feel good as we stretch and hold the poses, but they also have a wonderful long-term effect that lasts well past the end of your session. Yoga supports joint and cartilage health as well as a supple spine, allowing your body to retain its full range of motion. Your muscles also stretch and grow strong and limber, which also improves your body’s functionality. This flexibility is especially important as you grow older, because joints can feel stiffer as you age.
Better Bone Health
Over time, our bodies tend to lose bone mass, which can lead to thinner, more brittle bones and conditions such as osteoporosis. Yoga is a great way to enhance bone health and slow down bone loss due to aging because it is a weight-bearing exercise that builds lean muscle mass. Research has shown that this kind of exercise helps maintain bones, and gives you the balance and coordination to help prevent falls that can cause broken bones.
That deep relaxation you feel at the end of savasana is proof positive that yoga helps immensely at relieving stress. Your body also releases tension as you unwind through poses, and the rhythmic, deep breathing during a practice clears and calms the mind, putting you in a serene, meditative state. Without this outlet, built-up stress can lead to symptoms such as headaches, irritability, insomnia, listlessness, or depression. With a regular yoga practice, your body feels better, but most importantly, so does your mind.
Your strong muscles and relaxed mindset from yoga can both have a positive effect on chronic pain. Areas that are particularly helped by yoga include the neck and lower back; in fact, one study found that yoga eased chronic low back pain similar to physical therapy. Another study indicated that chronic pain changes the brain’s structure and how it perceives pain, but that effect can be negated through yoga.
Firefly Wellness is known for its private yoga sessions and group classes. Because we know how important it is to support your mental, emotional, and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering a virtual yoga workshop on April 14. Learn more about our virtual yoga program and how it can benefit you.