Over the last three decades, yoga has swept the West, creating fashion fads and health crazes. The hype can be off putting, but science has demonstrated the benefits of yoga to so many elements of the body and the mind. A regular practice can relieve stress, encourage good sleep and even prevent a hangover! Read on to discover eight benefits of yoga that might surprise you.
1) Yoga Can Prevent A Hangover
The yogi lifestyle isn’t often associated with hard drinking, but science has shown that a round of yoga after a heavy night can stave off the hangover and expedite recovery. “Yoga encourages blood flow around the body which will inject a shot of energy into your morning,” reports Sharon Gillespie, lifestyle blogger at 1day2write and Write My X. “This can ease headaches and fatigue that are the hallmarks of a hangover. You’ll freshen up faster and be ready to take on the day.”
2) Yoga Can Help You Sleep
Insomnia is a common problem and can lead to agonizing nights tossing and turning between the sheets. Yoga has become a natural cure for insomnia as the restful and meditative practice can help you wind down in the evening. Relaxation poses can ease the stress and tension of the day and, when practiced in the evening, facilitate a good night’s sleep.
3) Yoga Can Help You Breathe Better
One thing you’ll learn early on your yoga journey is that it’s not all about the poses. Breath is so important in yoga, and by bringing mindfulness into your breathing during your yoga practice you can generate better breathing throughout your day. If you’re prone to shallow breathing, the deep lungfuls that yoga encourages can make a huge difference to your breath.
4) Yoga Helps Emotional Processing
The benefits to yoga have always been dual and a yoga practice is equally beneficial for body and mind. “It’s easy to build up a surplus of negative emotion in today’s world without really realizing it – stress, guilt and anxiety can be easily tucked away,” says Arturo Fortuny, health writer at Britstudent and NextCoursework. “Despite this, they’re still present in our thinking. Yoga can help release this cognitive tension and give you an emotional release.”
5) Yoga Can Supercharge Your Metabolism
Anyone getting on in years will relate to this one, it just gets harder to shift the pounds as we get on in years. A yoga practice is a fantastic way to counteract the effects of aging on the metabolism as increased physical exercise stimulates the body to work faster in digesting what we eat. The impact of a healthy metabolism can be profound, affecting everything from weight loss to digestive issues.
6) Yoga Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation of muscles, tissue and tendons can result in all manner of health problems, even inducing cancer or exacerbating asthma. Yoga’s practice of combining breath with standing and seated poses can lower the oxidative stress and boost anti-inflammatory markers in your body, ensuring inflammation is kept low and you stay healthy.
7) Yoga Will Lower Your Blood Pressure
For anyone suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure or elevated levels of stress, yoga can have a huge impact on your blood pressure, lowering your risk of heart attack and other associated conditions. The way your body balances blood levels can be impacted as yoga’s central poses improve baroreceptor activity, ultimately lowering your blood pressure.
8) Yoga Can Relieve Arthritis
Chronic pain and mobility issues associated with arthritis quickly suck the joy out of life and can be incredibly frustrating. Yoga can both relieve arthritis and be a preventative measure for those who are concerned about their joints. Restorative practices of yoga – the gentler approach that takes place mostly on the floor and limits standing poses, can relieve joint swelling and encourage flexibility, providing instant relief for arthritis.
The benefits of yoga to the body and mind have been well demonstrated. Yet, the impact yoga can have on small parts of your daily life from joint pain to breathing are subtle, despite having an enormous effect on your quality of life. To get the benefits of yoga, a regular practice is encouraged. Why not start today?
Michael Dehoyos is a health writer and editor at Essay Writing Services and Dissertation Help and a blogger at PhD Kingdom. After gaining his medical degree in the United States he spent six years practicing yoga in Varanasi, India, discovering the holistic benefits of an east-meets-west practice.