Yoga comes in many forms. Hatha, meaning force, is the most common. It involves the physical and so covers the popular choice among practitioners. Vinyasa flow and power yoga, one involves flowing and another intense movements, are examples of hatha yoga.

In some cases, you perform some physical activities before moving toward meditation. Kriya is an energizing yoga that usually precedes meditation.

Despite the many types, yoga as a practice has endured. This exercise may be more than just an exercise after all. It actually promotes mind-body connection. And the benefits of this approach permeate everyday life. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.

Mind

Boosts your mood

Any type of yoga involves physical movements in various degrees of difficulty. So even if it’s not your main workout, it can have a positive effect on your mood. More meditative practices allow for deep breathing and focus.These can help reduce your body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone. You’ll feel lighter once the undue pressure from stress is taken off. So don those yoga pants and find a spot at home to move and meditate.

Improves your ability to focus

Distracting thoughts are dealt with in yoga, particularly in Transcendental Meditation. TM is a technique that aids in the achievement of pure consciousness. WebMD describes this state as experiencing “perfect stillness, rest, stability, order, and a complete absence of mental boundaries.”

Does that sound familiar to you? The description above feels similar to moments you call “in the zone.” Perhaps the constant training of the mind enables it to be in the zone more often.

Gives you peace of mind

With constant practice, the mental buzz is silenced layer by layer. Even doing simple asanas (poses) can diminish the distractions living in your head. You will start to operate on a different level. And a kind of serenity will dawn on you. However, most yogis know that the quiet tends to disappear once you step out of an ashram or studio. The key here is to keep doing yoga, and peace of mind will be easier to attain.

Increases your self-esteem

The yogic philosophy promotes self-awareness. At the same time, it encourages people to look at their present self without judgment. In a studio, for example, you’ll get this sense of acceptance from your teacher and classmates. Seen from this perspective, you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll also be less inclined to compare yourself with others. This gives your self-esteem a nudge. And when you’re feeling positive in and out, you’re likely to pursue paths toward greater personal growth and development.

Strengthens your inner being

According to Dr. Timothy McCall, in his article for the Yoga Journal, the Sanskrit word tapas means the fire or the discipline that fuels the yoga practice. It is this force that can help you overcome inertia in your life. In other words, yoga provides you with tools you can use to strengthen your inner being. It offers guidelines as to how you can build a resilient inner system.

Body

Makes you flexible and strong

The asanas stretch your muscles, widening your body’s range of movement. This is why you can see long-time practitioners wrap their limbs around their torso effortlessly. Or you find your friend transition to a headstand in a heartbeat. Also, yoga strengthens parts of your body. It takes strong arms, legs, core, and back to hold many of the yoga poses.

Don’t worry if you don’t see immediate results on your flexibility and strength when you’re just starting. You’ll get there eventually.

Helps decrease chronic pain

Various research efforts have been studying the effects of yoga on people suffering from chronic pain. One study involved 42 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome. They were given either a wrist splint or prescribed to do yoga for eight weeks. Those who practiced yoga were shown to decrease their pain faster and improve their grip strength.

Meditation has also been reported to reduce pain. While more studies on yoga’s impact on chronic pain have to be conducted, incorporating it in your lifestyle can potentially let you handle pain more effectively.

Enhances fitness

Yoga is the ideal workout for when you’re transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle. It may be low impact, but it can really assist you in enhancing your muscle strength and flexibility, endurance, and even cardio-respiratory fitness. Further, those who have been practicing yoga for at least 30 minutes a week for at least four years are shown to have gained less weight over the said period.

You may complement yoga with a fast-moving and intense workout to get the most out of your fitness routine.

Promotes mindful eating

Seeking mindfulness is the underlying motto of many yogis. And that pursuit extends to other areas of your life, not just the physical. You are likely to develop a keener sense of connectedness among your body organs. And you listen to cues, even the tiniest one, to determine what you’ll eat. This behavior is called mindful eating. It is the “nonjudgmental awareness of the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating,” according to Harvard Health.

Offers a low-impact option to people with health conditions

People with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can take on yoga as a workout. Make sure to consult your physician before you start your practice. There may be certain poses that you’ll be prevented to do. Even pregnant women can benefit from the slower, gentler forms of yoga. Look for prenatal yoga classes near you and don’t skip talking to your OB.

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