Yoga helps bring balance to our physical and emotional self – in a sentence, its practice helps get rid of what we don’t need. Yoga helps improve our physical health (strength, mobility and vitality) and emotional health (reducing stress, anxiety and other negative states of heart and mind). Yoga can help control blood pressure and heart problems, it has been known to help cure insomnia, and can help cure depression. It also helps us to improve concentration and clarity – all of which helps give us the ability and strength to cope with the trials and tribulations that life can through our way.
Yoga exercises increase the flexibility of the body, reaching some muscles that perhaps had been forgotten for a long time! Yoga exercises the different tendons and ligaments of the body, resulting in increased lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons. The body, which may have been quite stiff and immobile, after practising yoga exercises begins to feel more flexible, even in those parts which have not been consciously worked upon. This happens because apparently unrelated “non-strenuous” yoga positions act upon certain parts of the body in an interrelated manner, whereby when working together, in harmony, the body’s flexibility improves.
Massaging the body’s organs
Yoga massages the internal glands and organs of the body, such as liver and kidneys, and including those – such as the prostate – that rarely get externally stimulated. The stimulation and massage of the organs through yoga helps to improve one’s immune system, helping to keep sickness and disease at bay. And as yoga practitioners become more sensitive and aware of their bodies, should sickness threaten, the yoga practitioner is able to take pre-emptive action to nip any such malady in the bud.
By stretching muscles and joints, as well as massaging the organs, yoga improves the blood supply to the body. This helps to flush toxins from the body, which is the long run leads to healthier life and more energy to enjoy it.
Toning of the muscles
there are a range of exercises in yoga, some are dynamic and others are passive. These exercises, including the seemingly passive postures, go deep into the body, and help tone and strengthen the muscles, leading to a stronger physique. A complete yoga practice works on the “whole” body, resulting in stronger, more flexible and healthier body, so that the body, mind and soul is balanced and healthy, and content.
There are numerous benefits, besides helping you to become fitter, stronger and healthier, yoga can also help with:
Yoga helps you breathe
more efficiently – a general yoga practice and in particular, pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), helps you to use your breath more effectively, and efficiently, leading to healthier life;
Yoga helps you to rest and sleep
Regular yoga, and certain exercises, helps to reduce stress, and facilitate deep relaxation, which in turn, is more conducive to sleep. Yoga can help cure insomnia.
Better concentration and focus
Yoga exercises helps you develop the ability to concentrate on a specific task or situation, by calming and quietening the mind, which means you can then direct the mind accordingly – by mastering your mind.
Yoga exercises help shift negative states including stress, and also, the constant practice of yoga gives you the tools and the ability to prevent stress arising so often. Yoga can help reduce high blood pressure and other stress-related disorders.
Yoga helps to develop poise, balance and mindfulness. Accidents are often the result of agitation and distraction. Yoga helps you to avoid such accidents.
Better immune system
Yoga can boost the auto-immune system, helping it to prevent and fight illness and disease. Yoga exercises massage and tone the internal organs and balance the glandular and endocrine systems. They thus serve to regulate the chemistry of the body helping it to remain free from disease.
At ease with your body and yourself
Overall yoga can help develop a greater sense of contentment, and the feeling of being comfortable with your body. It leads to a sense of lightness and clarity. If you picture your body and mind as a house, you want to feel comfortable at home, without clutter and mess around. Yoga is the house cleaner.
Yoga leads to increased self-respect and self-esteem
We can be our harshest judges and critics. Yoga helps to transform these damaging tendencies of self-loathing and low self-esteem, to foster an acceptance of who we are, resulting in a better feeling of self-respect and self-esteem.
In yoga it is said that at our core we are pure, happy and healthy, and that it’s the layers or veils that cloud us and weigh us down; by removing these layers through yoga we find our true self, one that is able to move through life at ease and at peace with ourselves and the world around us.
For more information about yoga – yoga philosophy, practice advice and tips, please read Inside Yoga – Gary’s Yoga Blog.
To read about what yoga, hatha yoga and the 8 limbs of yoga are see Inside Yoga chapters 1 to 9 – found in archive of Inside Yoga, scroll to bottom of page.