Yoga, the discipline and exercise of balancing the body and mind has a lot of health benefits. While active exercise such as dancing, and other cardio aerobics seek to get the heart and lungs working, yoga offers some additional benefits of total body health. Below are just a few of these benefits.
Flexibility: Because of the yoga positions that are taught and practiced by both the teacher and student of the discipline, the body stretches and works various joints and muscle of the body that through regular exercise, have never really been used before. While in the beginning, the practitioner may feel stiff and rigid, with continued practice of beginning level positions and slowly moving into the advanced levels, the body will begin to work in harmony and soon flexibility will be attained easily.
Massaging organs of the body — It might seem quite odd that a spiritual discipline full of stretches and breathing, could actually help exercise and enhance the organs of the body. However, don’t let this fool you. With careful study of each yoga position, the practitioner will learn that each position is not only good for stretching out areas of the body, it also helps stimulate those muscles of the body that perhaps we have taken for granted in our lifetime. Thus, when this occurs, the fighting and prevention of disease and infection will increase as well.
Detoxification — Besides working the organs, joints, and all muscles of the body during yoga practice, breathing becomes most important in order to bring plenty of oxygen to the blood stream. When this occurs, blood within the body will become oxygenated and will flow with ease throughout each tissue of the body. As a result, toxins stored within the body will not only be flushed out easily, but also energy will increase and aging will be slowed by a few years.
Toning of the muscles — With all exercise programs, muscle toning is most important. Most people will generally use weights and barbells for strength training to make sure their muscles are supple and in shape. With yoga practice, this is not needed. Because of the many postures learned in yoga to achieve balance and stillness, the muscles within the body are also controlled through holding and squeezing of those areas of the body being used for each posture.
Besides the physical benefits of yoga, there are also the spiritual and mental benefits that go along with it. Because one needs to be mindful of where they are placing their body through each posture and position, they also need to learn to relax breath deeply and clear the mind so this proper balance can be achieved effortlessly and with ease. This is done because one is detached from the world and is seeking discipline and exercise with focus on the self, both inside and out. When this happens and just like regular exercise, stress levels are decreased and a sense of well-being and calmness are achieved as a result.
In ancient times, the goal for yogis and other yoga masters when practicing the discipline was to reach self-realization. Today, yoga is used as a stress reliever and a way to achieve the perfect health in not only the mind, but also the body and spirit.