Yogis around the world will often refer to the fact that it has changed their lives, usually through the mental, physical, social and emotional benefits that come along with this kind of a practice. Many first timers are deterred from trying yoga as they have a common misconception that it mostly involves just stretching and breathing. This stems from the stereotypes we grew up seeing on the big screen, which never painted a holistic picture of the benefits of a consistent practice. One of those untold benefits is the dramatic improvement of our physical health, in ways that are visible to the naked eye, as well as others that touch closer to the core of our overall wellbeing. Let’s dispel any myths and explore the five ways that yoga improves our physical health here today.
1. Expect Improvements To Your Flexibility
How often do we do something that forces us to loosen our muscles? For many of us, it may have been years since this happened, likely on a school playground or while playing a sport of some sorts. In 2020, the COVID-19 lockdown has made us even less mobile than before, resulting in the body taking a bit of a hammering, especially if you’ve spent extended periods sitting down at home or while working from home. Here’s the good news! The more yoga you do, the more your flexibility will improve over time.
2. A Moment on the Lips, a Lifetime on the...
Hips! No, we’re not talking about the weight loss benefits of practicing yoga, although that may also be a byproduct of leading a more healthy lifestyle. Our hips rarely come up in conversation, unless twerking is part of the conversation. Proper hip hinge movement, which is one of the physical benefits of doing yoga, lessens the chance of you picking up an injury while performing other physical activities like running, hiking or workouts involving dumbbells. What that means, is that yoga, when practiced safely and not doing too much, too soon, too fast, builds strength which will make injuries less likely, especially if you’re keen to up your activity level as a whole.
3. Boosting Internal Systems in the Body
Physical health cannot be judged by physical appearance alone, and whether we are truly healthy depends on all the internal systems of our bodies operating as they are supposed to be. Yoga is known for lowering blood pressure, especially as it helps to slow the heart rate, in turn promoting healthy heart function. Some poses also contribute to the strength of the lymphatic system, which helps to flush out toxins and stimulates some of the other glands in the body. Why are more people not considering yoga to be an athletic activity? IT IS!
4. Good Posture is Everything
If you’re reading this in the 2020’s, you’re officially considered to be a member of one of the most sedentary human populations in the history of the world. We spend hours upon hours at our work desks, often doubling up our time for a side hustle, just to keep paying the bills. I’m going to bank on the fact that many of us don’t own ergonomic chairs, especially if you’re working from home as a result of COVID-19. Yoga will enable you to find your proper alignment, which promotes better posture, enabling the body to synchronise its movements better. This affects other physical activities too. Voila!
5. Yoga as a Means of Strength Training
Here’s the bottom line. Yoga is not a passive exercise, as much as it may have been sold that way in tinseltown over the years. Each pose is carefully designed to target specific groups of muscles, in turn toning those muscles, and increasing the overall strength of your body. Running for the weights when you need to strengthen your core or you’re looking to work on key areas of your body may not be the right call. Start with a simple 4 week yoga program (this one is free!) and watch it all come together over the course of a consistent practice. Regardless of your intentions, yoga has the ability to transform your life, often in surprising and mysterious ways.