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7 ways yoga can improve your life

7 ways yoga can improve your life

A mind, body, breath practice, yoga can transform your life in several ways. It’s not just about practicing yoga postures, but adapting yoga as a lifestyle. The depth of knowledge and philosophy yoga has provides us with a guideline to live a life that is balanced, peaceful and stress-free. 

An hour on the mat makes us feel rejuvenated and energetic. A few minutes of breathing practice makes us calm and peaceful. 20-minutes of meditation improves our focus, productivity and mental strength. No matter your age, the benefits are multifold. The benefits of yoga for students go all the way to improving grades. Benefits of yoga for adults helps one reach greater heights at work, manage relationships better, and achieve optimum health. So, let’s look at how yoga can change your life. 

How can yoga improve your lifestyle 

Yoga improves physical strength, balance and flexibility 

You don’t have to be flexible to start yoga - yoga makes you flexible. Practicing yoga postures and breathwork increases blood flow and warm ups muscles, while holding a pose can build strength. Stronger the muscles, better is our resilience to conditions like arthritis and back pain. It also helps us age in a healthy way. 

Improved flexibility will allow you to gradually practice postures in a better way. Aches and pains will start to disappear. Tight hips, bad posture and a hunched back will start correcting themselves. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. Inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue can cause poor posture. All of this gets corrected with yoga practice. Mobility also improves. With consistent practice, one can correct muscles, and over time our ligaments, tendons, etc get stronger and more flexible. Eventually, mental resolve and strength will also improve. 

Yoga helps you manage pain 

When physical and mental strength is more, the ability to manage pain is better. Yoga can ease pain. Many studies have shown that practicing yoga postures reduces pain for people with various conditions. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in better posture and pain relief especially in the back, neck, joints and muscles. When we feel better physically, we show up more fully in our lives. 

Yoga improves cardiovascular health 

Regular yoga practice reduces stress, improves blood circulation and oxygen levels. Inflammation reduces, toxins get thrown out and heart health improves. Several factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be managed with yoga.

Even a few basic stretches and asanas can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering your resting heart rate, increasing your endurance and improving your oxygen uptake during exercise. More dynamic and vigorous forms of yoga, like Vinyasa, get the heart going and improve stamina.

Yoga improves lung health 

Breathing practices and asanas which open up the heart, chest and lungs improve respiratory health. The muscles get stronger, breathing patterns are corrected and unwanted particles get thrown out. Mindfulness improves which allows you to breathe better and fully. Posture is corrected which also allows for better breathing. Pranayama or breathing exercises makes it possible to control the breath, while also releasing stress and toxins. 

Yoga de-stresses you and helps you sleep better

Yoga practices help calm the ‘monkey mind’, switch off from the day’s tasks and activities and get a restful night’s sleep. A little bit of yoga before bedtime and help you release stress from the day and sleep better. Certain postures like the corpse pose, reclined spinal twist and legs up on the wall pose truly relax the body and prepare it for the night’s sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.

Yoga’s impact on managing stress is significant. Through deep breathing and relaxation, yoga helps lower cortisol levels, balance the nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This then works on lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as managing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.

Yoga also brings you to the present moment, makes you more of bodily sensations and the breath. This improves our decision making, productivity and ability to manage situations effectively. We become more calm and adaptable, and less reactive. 

Yoga energizes you 

Very often our bodies hold tension and blockages in many parts. Practicing yoga helps us release these blockages, improves the flow of prana (vital life force) and infuses the body with energy. We begin to feel a boost in alertness and enthusiasm with fewer negative feelings. Unlike a gym workout where you often feel exhausted after a session, a yoga class leaves you feeling energetic and happy. 

Cultivates compassion and kindness 

Yoga has a profound effect on the self. Since it makes us happier and less stressed, we feel more positive and compassionate towards ourselves and others. We approach people and situations with kindness, rather than any negative emotion. Yoga also reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation. A large part of this happens when you join a group class and meet like-minded folks too. 

Apart from these, there are many more positive ways in which yoga improves your lifestyle. You will experience sustained and healthy weight loss, better habits and routine, mindful eating, better immunity, improved productivity and focus, among others etc. 

These are benefits and changes you will notice in your life over time. What is important is staying dedicated and committed to your practice, giving yourself time and being open to adapting a yogic lifestyle.

7 ways yoga can improve your life
Shvasa Editorial Team

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