So why does this multi-billion dollar industry continue to grow? The reason is clear—the benefits of yoga are simply undeniable.
From addressing physical limitations like flexibility, to improving mental health in terms of focus and stress relief, there’s little yoga can’t do.
1. Improves Your Flexibility2 of 11
It's no secret that yoga improves your flexibility. Though the original intent of yoga was to prepare the body for meditation, modern yoga focuses more on the physical practice and helping you move your body without restriction.
You don't need to find your inner Gumby, but working on flexibility is beneficial for everyone.
2. Improves Your Coordination3 of 11
Coordination, just like anything else, requires repetition to master. The yoga practice provides you with an opportunity to slow down and focus your attention on moving your body with purpose. As your coordination increases, so does your ability to learn and perfect new movements.
3. Increases Your Balance4 of 11
Overall balance is a product of lower leg stability, which includes your feet, ankles and calves. Through standing postures like Tree, Crescent Lunge and Warrior III, you will begin to strengthen your lower legs and improve your overall balance and coordination.
4. Increases Your Core Strength5 of 11
Yoga teaches you to move from your center. Your core, or trunk as it is more accurately described, is made up of the core muscles which include the six-pack, transverse abdominus, external and internal obliques, plus the hip flexors, back, diaphragm and pelvic floor.
Many of the yoga postures, transitions and sequences strengthen all aspects of your trunk, unlike hyper-focused ab exercises.
5. Improves Your Posture6 of 11
So far we've discussed some of the physical benefits of yoga, which include flexibility, coordination, balance and core strength. The final piece is improved posture.
Because you've stretched the areas that are tight and can cause movement dysfunction, you will see naturally better posture. Increased core strength will also help you stand and sit up taller.
6. Teaches You Breath Control7 of 11
How you ever found yourself holding your breath during a stressful situation? Understanding how to regulate your breathing helps you regulate your overall physical and mental reactions to stress.
The most common breathing practice in yoga is called Ujayii Pranyama or ocean-sounding breath. This type of breath work teaches you to not only find a smooth and rhythmic breathing pattern, but to maintain focus through the sound and feel of that breath.
7. Sharpens Your Mental Focus8 of 11
Stress can wreck havoc on your mental focus. When we feel out of control or "stressed out," our mind swirls with anxious thoughts, and it is sometimes hard to bring ourselves back to a place of relaxation. Yoga is a surefire way to practice mental focus and learn how to bring your attention back to your breathing.
8. Decreases Stress9 of 11
Combine breath control and mental focus, and you will notice a decreased stress response, thanks to yoga.
Because stress starts as a physiological response to a perceived threat, learning to breathe and regulate your body and mind's reaction is the first step in learning how to noticeably decrease stress in your day-to-day life.
9. Boosts Immunity10 of 11
By moving your body through various postures, your lymph nodes—the small glands throughout your body that help protect you from disease—will experience better drainage. This can help you fight infection, dispose of bodily waste and even destroy cancer-causing cells.
10. Encourages You to Unplug11 of 11
How many hours during the day do you get to devote to yourself? Without emails, calls, kids or work? When you step into a yoga class, you've given yourself permission to unplug.
By carving out this time for yourself, you're saying that your physical health and mental well-being are important.