Yoga benefits you probably haven’t heard
The benefits of practicing yoga begin the first time you get on the mat. And like interest on a money-market fund, those bennies (like those pennies) accrue over the weeks, months and years that you continue to practice. Here are some yoga benefits you might not have considered:
1. Your Organs Will Thank You
You don’t necessarily think about your kidneys or your liver when you begin your sun salutations, but a regular yoga practice benefits your internal organs. Since yoga gets your blood pumping and emphasizes mindful and deep breathing, it’s good for your heart and lungs, too. In addition, and this might be one of the least-known yoga benefits, it helps your digestive tract. It’s possible that yoga benefits your digestion more than a probiotic diet. And while your yoga teacher might not mention it in class, yoga will improve your regularity.
2. Diet Without Dieting
You already know that yoga helps with stress relief, but a Journal of the American Dietetic Association study showed that your practice helps you lose weight. Yoga is a physical exercise, of course, so it burns calories. But there’s more to it than that. Improving your mind-body connection promotes healthier lifestyle choices, including your diet. As you become more aware of what you feed your body, you consciously control your eating habits: eating less, watching your diet and becoming a healthier you.
3. Yoga Benefits Your Brain
Yoga is more than a physical workout. The mental focus of the practice trains your brain to be mindful no matter what you are doing. This training translates into better performance at work, when focusing on a difficult problem. It also aids your creativity. Exercising your brain strengthens it, just like any muscle. The Journal of Physical Activity and Health did a study that discovered that a 20-minute yoga practice stimulates your brain as much as a treadmill workout.
4. Get Healthy; Stay Healthy
A regular yoga practice fortifies your immune system. According to research, the changes happen at the cellular level. Your mind’s not on your cells while you’re on your mat, but that’s exactly when yoga is improving your immune response. It happens that quickly, and the effects stay with you, keeping you healthy in the days that follow.
5. Join the Fun
When you think about doing yoga, you probably see yourself and your mat. But even yogis who practice at home daily attend public classes every week. Group yoga classes not only integrate lessons you learn, but they also reintegrate you into your local yoga community. We all have “yoga friends,” but we bet you never considered them yoga benefits. Community is important in yoga… and it’s important to your health and happiness as well.
Yoga benefits much, much more than your physical existence. Explore how yoga benefits your life, and then share your experience and thoughts with us below.