The Benefits of Yoga
Maybe you are looking to get more flexible, build strength, calm the mind, or connect with your breath and your community. There’s really no single reason or benefit to practice yoga. Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. This ancient practice (some believe as old as 5000 years!) connects the mind, body, and spirit for optimal health and happiness. The word, “yoga” originates from the word “yoke” which means to connect. We love this idea. Connection is the soul fuel to happiness. So, no matter why you came to your mat, there are many benefits. Click here for a really good article on the benefits of yoga or read more below.
- Increases flexibility
- Stress, anxiety, & depression management
- Fosters resiliency (mental strength and toughness)
- Increases focus and concentration
- Mind-Body connection
- Healthy coping mechanism for recovery (Yoga 12 Steps of Recovery)
- Increased confidence and body image.
- Increases energy
- Improved posture
- Strengthened immune system
- Regulates metabolism
- Strengthens lower back, decreases back pain
- Detoxifies the body as it improves circulation
- Weight loss/maintain healthy weight
- Prevents injury and improved athletic performance
- Tones muscles
- Breath awareness, increased lung capacity
- Increased sense of balance
- Strengthens bones
- Helps with headaches and migraines
- Lower blood pressure & cholesterol
- Reduce chronic pain
- improved digestion
- Improved sexual function and aids in fertility
- Improved sleep
- Eases inflammation
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Helps control emotional reactivity (such as angry outbursts and actions)
- Improved brain function
Let’s face it. Some of us are born with mobile joints and long, flexible muscles. But, many of us aren’t. Or, perhaps you enjoyed years of your favorite sport that resulted in shorter, tighter, muscles and joints. Whatever the reason, yoga will certainly help your body become more supple, mobile, and just generally feel better in everyday movements.
The physical practice of yoga is targeted movements and poses called asanas. Yoga will help increase flexibility in a safe and purposeful manner. Over time, your ligaments, tendons, muscles will lengthen and increase in elasticity.
INCREASED MUSCLE TONE AND STRENGTH
It’s common to feel a little soreness the next day, but if you stick with your practice you WILL get stronger.
The muscles that are actually doing the work in each shape get stronger while moving through a range of motion. At the same time, the other muscles are toning as they work to balance and support the body in space.
CARDIO AND CIRCULATORY HEALTH
Heart health is a key component to happy lives. Yoga lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate. Coupled with a healthy diet, yoga will both increase the physical health of your heart by challenging the body in different shapes, but will also aid in heart health by balancing hormones and stress triggers.
Your heart is a muscle, after all. It’s the heart of all bodily functions. We strengthen it in yoga class with challenging poses (remember you can control the intensity by modifying), balancing shapes, and focused breath work. Then, we support and heal it with restorative mind and body connection and increased blood flow.
A consistent yoga practice will help balance your hormones. We know that Cortisol, the stress hormone, can also zap energy levels. When you move the spine in all directions, you help open the flow of energy, blood flow, and oxygen levels thought the body. Through asana (yoga shapes), pranayama (yoga breath work) and meditation or mindfulness, you may be able to skip that second (or third- no judgement) cup of coffee!
MAINTAINING A BALANCED METABOLISM AND HEALTHY WEIGHT
As we age our metabolism changes. Yoga helps us balance hormones and creates an opportunity for a relationship between our breath and body. With the connection of breath to movement in yoga, you will see a focus on inhales and exhales of the breath equally — facilitating fresh, oxygenated blood throughout.
IMPROVED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Athletes of all ages are encouraged to practice yoga as part of their training. High school soccer players or even triathletes don’t come to us to become “yogis” necessarily. They just want to improve their game, and are looking to yoga to add that secret sauce to their regular training. Jen (the founder of True You Yoga) struggled with many injuries while training for triathlons and distance running. It wasn’t until she had a regular and consistent yoga practice to truly realize the benefits. Not only was she able to run farther distances (an ultra marathon of 55k/34-ish miles was the longest) with fewer injuries and the recovery time afterwards was faster.
In many sports our muscles become tight and shortened. Many athletes have strength and stamina, but lack the flexibility needed to balance that strength. Yoga helps bring back that passive elasticity to the muscles. This results in less injuries, quicker recovery, and more cardio fitness. In most classes, you’ll work slow-twitch (endurance and long distance) and fast-twitch (strength and muscle contraction ) muscle fibers.
CONNECTION TO SELF AND COMMUNITY
To “yoke” or connect breath to movement, body to mind, or one to community is the essence of yoga. In a world where we may feel more and more disconnect both internally and externally, yoga is here to reignite that connection.
Connection fuels happiness and when you’re able to take what you learned on your mat, and refer to it, share it, or access it in every day life that is when the real benefits of yoga are felt. We love seeing and feeling the connection we have together as a community. Everyone at True You Yoga is so supportive and literally cheers for you both on and off the mat. We also have a Facebook group called “True You Yoga Community” where members connect outside of the studio doors.