7 health benefits of regular yoga

Yoga Teacher Deborah King demonstrates Downward Dog pose

Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. Regardless of your level of yoga expertise, if you’re attending yoga regularly, you can feel better from head to toe, inside and out. Here are 9 reasons why you need to ‘downward dog’ everyday!

1. Yoga ‘Asana’ improve strength, balance and flexibility.

‘Asana’ are the physical postures in a yoga class. These involve slow, dynamic movement synchronized with the breath and ‘held’ postures where you become still. These exercises increase blood flow, stretch and strengthen your muscles.

Try it: Tree Pose
Balance on one foot, while holding the sole of the other foot to your standing leg at a right angle. Begin with your big toe on the floor and raise the sole up a little each time you try. Do not press into the knee of the standing leg. Hands can be on the hips, at the heart with palms together or if you fancy dynamic exercise try taking the hands up over head as you breathe in and then down to the heart as you breathe out. Focus on a fixed point in front of you. 

2. Yoga helps with a bad back.

Yoga is great for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. Many scientific research studies have shown that regular gentle exercise is the best way to relieve and resolve back issues.

Try it: Cat-Cow Pose
Get on all fours, placing your palms underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. First, inhale, as you let your stomach drop down toward the floor. Then, exhale, as you draw your navel toward your spine, arching your spine like a cat stretching. 

3. Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms.

Gentle yoga has been shown to ease and alleviate the discomfort of painful, stiff, tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis and rheumatism. The best exercises are ‘PMA1’ which are demonstrated in the following video.

4. Yoga benefits heart health.

Regular yoga practice can reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to a healthier heart. Many factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, are addressed through regular yoga classes.

Try it: Downward Dog Pose
Get on all fours, then tuck your toes under and bring your sitting bones up, so that you make a triangle shape. Keep a slight bend in your knees, while lengthening your spine and tailbone.

Yoga Teacher Deborah King demonstrates Downward Dog pose

5. Yoga relaxes you and helps you sleep better.

A consistent bedtime yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can try my guided relaxation recordings or find plenty on YouTube or Spotify.

6. Yoga can mean more energy and brighter moods.

Yoga can give you a boost… once you have learnt the correct ways to practice the ‘asanas’ you can string them together to form energetic sequences. These give you a great workout for your cardiovascular system. The most well-known sequence is the Sun Salutation. You may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga.

7. Yoga helps you manage stress. 

Scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.

Try It: Corpse Pose (Savasana) 
Lie down with your limbs gently stretched out, away from the body, with your palms facing up. Try to clear your mind while breathing deeply. You can hold this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.

Published by yogadeb

Yoga teacher in Stamford, UK, and online

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