Yoga is an ancient science linking together different traditions, and its meaning is the unity of the physical body with mind and spirit with the goal of reaching inner peace and balance. The name “Yoga” itself comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to unite. Even though in yoga much attention is given to the asanas (positions of the body), it is so much more than that. In modern times, contemporary knowledge of mind and body has strongly linked yoga to man and his needs.
Using the body as a bridge, we work on ourselves: we strengthen our will, develop our physical strength and flexibility, we let go of the stress, deepen our breathing and become present in the now, improving the overall quality of our life.
Yoga can be practiced by anyone, no matter their age or physical capabilities.
Here we provide ten reasons for practicing yoga. This list, based on findings by teams of doctors, was compiled and published by probably the most important association of yoga teachers in the world, the Yoga Alliance.
Stress relief. Yoga relieves the physical aftermaths of stress accumulation in the body: by relaxing the body and lowering the levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. Additional benefits include the lowering of high blood pressure and heart rate, improvements to digestive functions and strengthening of the immune system, as well as reduction of symptoms associated with anxiousness, depression, nausea, asthma and insomnia.
Pain reduction. Studies have shown that yoga positions – the asanas, as well as meditation or the combination of both, reduce pain in those suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, back and neck pain as well as other chronic illnesses.
Better breathing. Yoga teaches us how to breath properly. Calm and deep breaths improve vitality and lung functions and make relaxation easier.
Flexibility. Yoga makes the body flexible and increases mobility and movement synchronization whilst reducing pain in the joints.
Provision of strength. Yoga positions – the asanas, activate every muscle, from head to toe, and strengthen the whole body. This also reduces muscle tension.
Weight regulation. Even the easiest of exercises affect the cortisol levels in the body, burning excess calories quicker and reducing built-up stress which helps with weight loss. Yoga supports a healthy diet and leads to establishing a healthier lifestyle and more self-confidence.
Stimulation of blood flow. Yoga stimulates blood flow and increases oxygenation of cells in the body.
Cardiovascular improvements. Easy yoga exercises can improve the cardiovascular condition by reducing heart rate, increasing endurance, as well as by increasing the amount of oxygen in the body through yoga breathing techniques.
Better posture. Yoga improves and corrects bad posture while we walk, stand or sit, which helps to relieve tension.
The sense of the present moment. We are more aware of ourselves and of what is going on inside of us, as well as of our surroundings. In this way yoga enables us to react accordingly to stressful situations in our lives. It helps us coordinate and makes our reactions quicker, and it improves our memory.