If you’re a passionate yoga practitioner, you’ve probably noticed some yoga benefits—maybe you’re sleeping better or getting fewer colds, or simply feeling more stimulating and at ease. But if you’ve ever tried telling a newbie about the benefits of yoga, you could find that explanations like “It escalates the flow of prana” or “It brings energy up your spine” fall on deaf or skeptical ears.
Improves your flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of many first and most obvious great things about yoga. You most likely won’t have the ability to touch your toes through your high grade, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick to it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. Additionally, you will probably observe that aches and pains begin to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint as a result of improper alignment of the thigh and shin bones. Tight hamstrings can result in a flattening of the lumbar spine, which may cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, may cause poor posture.
Builds muscle strength
Strong muscles do more than looking good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain and help prevent falls in older adults. And whenever you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you went along to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the trouble of flexibility.
Perfects your posture
Your mind is much like a bowling ball—big, round, and heavy. When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it will take much less benefit your neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, however, and you begin to strain those muscles. Endure that forward-leaning bowling ball for eight or 12 hours per day, and it’s no surprise you’re tired. And fatigue mightn’t be your only problem. Poor posture may cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your system may compensate by flattening the standard inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
Every time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full array of motion. This helps prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing thekontent and soaking” cartilage areas that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out, and a new supply may be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.
Protects your spine
Spinal disks—the shock absorbers involving the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only path they manage to get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.
In much of conventional medicine, most patients are passive recipients of care. In yoga, it’s that which you do yourself that matters. Yoga provides you with the tools to help you change, and you might begin to feel a lot better initially when you try practicing. You may even observe that the more you commit to rehearsing, the more you benefit. This results in three things: You obtain involvement in your care, you find that the involvement provides you with the ability to effect change, and seeing as you can effect change provides you with hope. And hope itself may be healing.