If you haven't already jumped on the yoga bandwagon, it might be because you see it as little more than New Age experimentation. Or maybe you think you're too injured, too tired, or just too busy. Yoga has been around for generations for a reason, though. Millions of people across the globe practice this ancient art form, and the results they report may seem unbelievable at first. If you care about your health, though, trying yoga could be the very best decision you make this year.
1. Better Mental Health
Study after study has demonstrated the mental health benefits of exercise, especially for combating depression. You don't have to work up a sweat at the gym to boost your mental health, though. Research suggests that yoga can improve mood, reduce depression, and even help practitioners cope with chronic anxiety, trauma, and even phobias.
2. Reduced Pain
Sure, your first few days of stretching may be challenging, and it's likely that you'll experience some soreness. If you're serious about eliminating chronic pain, though, yoga should be your first strategy. The gentle stretching and improved circulation can help heal long-standing muscle injuries, reduce muscle knots and, over time, eliminate tension-related conditions such as headaches.
3. Improved Strength and Flexibility
Yoga forces you to support some or all of your body weight with the assistance of your legs, arms, hips, or some combination of the three. Over time, this adds up to a significant increase in muscle strength. Better still, you'll be more flexible, which can decrease your risk of injury while helping to eliminate chronic muscle pain.
4. Balanced Body Chemistry
Research suggests that yoga doesn't just change the way your body looks. It can even change your body's chemistry. Yoga helps increase metabolism, and may also improve hormone balance. If you struggle with fertility, painful periods, or low testosterone, you may be surprised by how much relief a few yoga sessions each week offer.
5. Improved Heart Health
Any form of exercise that gets your heart pumping has the power to improve cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure, boost circulation, and reduce your risk of a heart attack of stroke. Yoga, though, offers additional benefits. The focus on slow, deliberate breathing can help slow your heart rate, resulting in less heart exertion over time. Yoga also helps to reduce anxiety, which is terrible for your heart, and may help you maintain a healthy body weight.