Anyone who has diligently stuck with the practice of yoga can attest to the amazing mental and physical impact it can have on your life. In fact, the many benefits of yoga are a testament to the importance of yoga in modern life.
The digital age has brought increased incidents of anxiety and stress.
There is also an accelerated and alarming decline in mental health worldwide. Also, we seem more fearful and dissatisfied with the status quo, despite the assurances of our amazing technological advancements. Regardless, the good news is yoga is an incredibly powerful strategy to combat this growing phenomenon of anxiety.
It gives you an opportunity to sit with yourself in peace and silence, affording you time to relax within a space uncluttered by modern life. Giving your body and mind the opportunity to exhale, to unwind, and to rejuvenate itself is one of the many benefits of yoga.
History of Yoga
Even though it appears to be nothing more than stretching on the surface, there is more depth to yoga.
Therefore, to understand why yoga is the holistic exercise it is today, we first have to take a quick look at its history of origin. It is there that we will unlock genesis and the benefits of yoga and meditation.
Yoga originated in northern India roughly 5000 years ago.
It was a spiritual practice conducted by priests, called Brahman. They acted through and by a collection of ancient texts called the Rig Veda. These texts contained songs, mantras, and rituals, which defined the practice of yoga. The Brahmans refined yogic practice over time, developing it into a spiritual quest for enlightenment through self-knowledge, action, and wisdom.
The first, systemic introduction to the practice was through Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras, which organized the practice into the eight limbs of yoga we know today. Patanjali is often referred to as the father of yoga, and his sutras still influence our modern practice.
A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters began focusing on the body’s connection to the mind.
This is where Hatha yoga, the type of yoga we practice most commonly in the west, really began to assert its dominance. Now, the many benefits of yoga come from a strict physical practice designed to heal the body and cleanse the mind.
Yoga’s history reveals why it has such a profound impact on our health. First, as a spiritual practice, then as a path to enlightenment, and finally as a way to cleanse the mind through the body.
Yoga for Peace and Harmony
Now that we understand where its power comes from let’s examine what are some of these amazing mental, physical and spiritual benefits of yoga. This will be a gateway into accessing health, happiness and the many other benefits to be derived from this ancient practice.
1. Improved Flexibility
This is a physical practice, and as such, your muscle and ligaments stretch and gain increased flexibility over time.
You might notice that on your first day, or even in that first week, you can barely touch your toes. However, as you redo these positions, you get closer and closer, until you can touch your toes or even hug the back of your knees.
It is an awesome experience when you hit these milestones.
2. Increased Ability to Focus
From the beginning, yoga as a way of life will give you an unparalleled ability to focus. Yoga forces you to focus on you and your body alone. All the while blocking out every external distraction.
Consistently redirecting your mind to a singular point of focus via yoga practice will reroute the traditional pathways in your brain. Your brain is a muscle, and like any other muscle in your body, you can train it and build its capacity with practice.
One of the major mental benefits of yoga is better mental focus and clarity. Especially in our distraction-prone world, this is certainly something we could all use.
3. Aches and Pains Disappear
Continued practice of yoga, minimizes the occurrence of joint stiffness. Your joints and muscles will experience less pain, and you won’t be achy most of the time.
In today’s society, there is an increase in the number of people who have a sedentary lifestyle. Many 9 to 5 jobs require that we sit at a desk, almost for the entire duration of a day.
This is certainly not good for the body and our overall health. And, this is why the rates of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure are on the increase. However, one of the benefits of yoga in the morning or even at night when you come home from work is loosening those stiff joints and muscles.
4. Gain Strength
Over time, you will also notice that you get stronger.
Increased strength means that you are less likely to suffer from joint pain, back pain or develop issues like arthritis.
5. Better Blood Flow
One of the keys to better health is to get your blood pumping. Yoga does this very well.
When your blood is circulating efficiently throughout the body, all your cells get the oxygen and nutrients that it needs. Areas such as your hands and feet perform many tasks a day. So, they need oxygenated blood flow. The same goes for your organs.
But, when you do certain positions like the shoulder-stand or handstand, the blood in your lower limbs can flow back to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated, quicker.
6. Better Emotional State of Mind
The responsibilities and stress of life often take a toll not only on your body but on your emotional or psychological well being.
It has been long proven that exercise is the key to getting out of a depressive state.
When you practice yoga, you are flushing your system of all the day’s stress. The breathing exercises help you to engage in positive thoughts mindfully as you meditate on your goals and how to achieve them.
You might also notice that you come out of these sessions feeling relaxed. But there is a bonus! You might have better resolutions to your problems.
The more time you take each day to practice yoga, the less you will succumb to psychological stressors.
Practice Yoga for Better Health and Spiritual Wellbeing
As you explore the world of fitness and exercise, continue consuming these vital strategies and information about yoga.
While we have not provided an exhaustive essay on the benefits of yoga, our article today presented a certain number of benefits and important information, which will help you to understand the practice.
When you fall in love with yoga, you fall in love with living a healthy life!
Also, remember, it is integral that you start any exercise gradually.
If you have health concerns, consult a doctor. Do not start if you have ligament strain or any broken bones. Speak with your medical professional first. While yoga involves doing stretches, twists, headstands, and handstands, the aim is to practice it safely.
What are some of the health and spiritual benefits of yoga that you have experienced over the years?
Share with us in the comments below!