Yoga, one of the oldest forms of exercise in the world, is a physical activity with a purpose. It is one of the only fitness routines that exercise your mind, body, and soul all at once. By incorporating yoga into your weekly life routine, you can transform yourself into a calmer, happier, and fitter being. For the uninitiated, it might take some time getting used to the discipline and mindset that yoga requires. However, yoga’s ancient stretching and meditation techniques will reveal their secrets and benefits to anyone willing to dedicate their time and devotion to the practice.
I personally have used yoga as a tool for improving my life in many different ways. I am a former addict, and yoga has been truly instrumental for me during my mission to stay sober. It has helped me stay mentally focused on important life goals and been a consistently positive influence for me. When I started to see the real progress and benefits that yoga can provide, I knew it was for real. I have been sober for nine years now and have used yoga throughout that timeframe to help me overcome my alcohol addiction.
I’ve decided to share 5 of my favorite health benefits you can receive by practicing yoga below in hopes of spreading the power of yoga with the world.
1. Improves Focus
Perhaps one of the most crucial concepts of yoga is focusing on the present rather than letting your mind wander to the various distractions and concerns of daily life. Often times, we simply don’t take the necessary time out of our days to reflect and clear our heads. We are constantly distracted by the omnipresent stimuli of technology that demands our attention throughout the day. Yoga is a break from that. It is just as much a practice in mindfulness and meditation as it is a physical activity. I have seen an increase in my focus and overall mental fortitude during my time spent practicing yoga. Inner peace and mental focus are some potentially life-changing benefits one can receive by practicing yoga.
2. Provides Flexibility
Practicing yoga requires lots of stretching and will inevitably help your muscles become more flexible. The variety of poses and techniques push your body to its limits. All of your muscle fibers that are vital to keeping your body in good shape receive attention throughout a yoga routine. You might even notice that everyday aches and pains can decrease over time if you stick to a solid yoga routine. Yoga also provides flexibility in a non-physical sense. You can practice yoga pretty much anywhere, and you can adjust your routine based on your skill level and personal preference. Flexibility is yet another great benefit you will receive from practicing yoga.
3. Boosts Blood Flow
Another physical benefit of practicing yoga is improved blood flow throughout your body. As you twist and contort your body into a broad range of yoga positions, your blood begins to flow to your hands and feet. Oxygen is reaching different cells all over the body, which ultimately benefits your overall health. Our society spends countless hours in sedentary positions, where blood flow is limited. Allow your life essence to flow freely by practicing yoga.
4. Tones Your Body
Have you ever noticed how the prototypical yoga guru or instructor always seems to have a rocking, well-toned body? That’s because yoga is great exercise that helps to tone your muscles and burn fat. Consistently practicing yoga and adding new poses to your routine will challenge your muscles in ways you never knew existed. You typically will hold yoga poses for extended periods of time, which means you really feel the burn on some of the more difficult ones. I personally have seen my body transform for the better by incorporating yoga into my weekly exercise routines.
5. Provides Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to living a healthy life. Often times, I find myself stressed out by work, relationships, and the demands of everyday life. It can certainly have an impact on my sleep patterns. However, after I do yoga, my mind feels at ease. I always get quality sleep after a solid yoga session. The breathing patterns and mental clarity that yoga provides me has improved my sleep and continues to allow me to rest easy.
As you can see, the benefits of yoga are plentiful. Practicing yoga during my recovery from addiction was a game changer that has had a lasting impact on my life. I can honestly say that I am an overall fitter, healthier, and happier person thanks to yoga. Improved focus, increased flexibility, boosted blood flow, a more toned body, and better sleep is all benefits one will experience by committing to yoga for an extended period of time.
Have you experienced any of the benefits mentioned above by practicing yoga? I would love to hear your story and how yoga has benefited you personally. Please leave a comment below!