6 Ways Yoga Will Change Your Life If You Do It Just Once a Week
Written by: Brandi Monasco
What do you think about when you hear the word “yoga?” Do you think of those weird stretches and awkward poses that you see in pictures and videos?
Yoga is actually a lot more than just stretches and poses. Yoga “is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind and spirit,” meaning that it’s a total body workout. In fact, yoga actually burns calories and helps you to lose weight.
Along with that, there are many other health benefits that come from practicing yoga, both mental and physical.
Physical Benefits Of Yoga
1. Yoga Helps Build Muscle. When you practice yoga, you’re not using any kind of free weights or resistance bands; you use your own bodyweight as resistance. Yoga requires you to hold poses for a certain amount of time and because of this, your muscles become stronger.
Having strong and healthy muscles protects your body against arthritis and other types of pain, such as back pain. In one study that was performed by the Annals of Internal Medicine, participants that practiced yoga found that their chronic back pain was lowered after a few months. Strong muscles in your back also means better posture.
2. Yoga Eases Asthma. Yoga involves breathing practice. Breathing practices help you to become more aware of your breathing and helps you to gain more control of your breathing. During an asthma attack, your airway becomes inflamed and your muscles start tightening.
When you practice the breathing techniques of yoga during an asthma attack, you’re able to calm yourself and focus on your breathing, allowing you to become more in control. A study recently found that people with asthma that practice yoga a few times a week had improved asthma symptoms.
3. Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight. Even though yoga is a slower and gentler form of exercise, it does help to get your heart rate up. When your heart rate is raised, your body tends to burn more calories, which helps you to shed fat and lose weight.
When you lose weight, you have more energy, better health and overall, you just feel amazing.
Mental Benefits Of Yoga
1. Yoga Reduces Stress. A major part of practicing yoga is also practicing breathing techniques and a major part of relieving and managing stress is to practice deep breathing and doing moderate exercise.
Just as doing more of a cardio exercise, such as running, practicing yoga also allows for the release of the feel-good brain chemical called serotonin. When serotonin gets released, your stress is reduced and you feel happier and more at ease.
2. Yoga Improves Your Memory. One of the major benefits of practicing yoga is that it improves your circulation and the blood flow to your brain. When blood flow to your brain is increased, your brain works at its optimal level.
One study found that college-level females that practiced yoga for 20 minutes a day had test scores that were “significantly superior” on tests that were taken after their yoga session.
3. Yoga Helps You Sleep. Practicing yoga allows your nervous system to relax and helps in quieting your mind. You will feel more relaxed and calm, which allows you to be able to go to sleep easier and have a deeper sleep.
When you are first getting started with yoga, there are a few things that you should remember to get the best results and full benefits from yoga:
- Devote to doing at least one session of yoga per week.
- Pick a space that you can be free from distractions. It should also be a clean, clutter-free space.
- When you first start practicing yoga, you may feel slight discomfort until you are used to the poses. Make sure that you are aware of the difference between beneficial pain and actual “bad” pain. The last thing you want is to end up hurting yourself or tearing a muscle.
- Remember to warm up.
- Stay focused when in a yoga session. Stay aware of your breathing.
Do you already practice yoga? Have you noticed any significant benefits? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below!
Source, Source, Source, Source
Source: Castleman, M. (1996). Nature’s Cures. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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