50 Health Benefits Of Yoga That Actually Improve Your Daily Life

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So you have heard that yoga is supposedly good for your body, spirit and mind - but you always wondered what the actual health benefits are?

Don't worry - we've got you covered! Here are 50 health benefits of yoga that actually make a difference in your life.​

1. Improve Flexibility

Yoga is one of the most efficient ways to work on your flexibility: flowing from pose to pose introduces heat to the body, preparing the muscles to relax and lengthen into each stretch. (1)

2. Build Muscle

During your yoga practice you use your own body as resistance to build long, lean and powerful muscles. (2)

3. Perfect Posture

Performing yoga poses teaches you what correct posture feels like, while stretching and strengthening exercises enable muscles to properly support the body while maintaining a full range of motion. (3)

4. Joints

Moving your joints through their full range of motion promotes prevents breakdown of cartilage and can stave off degenerative joint disease and preserve function as we age. (4,5)

​5. Keep Bones Strong

A regular yoga practice helps to improve bone density and prevent bone resorption in order to counteract the effects of osteoporosis. (6,7)

6. Reduce Blood Pressure & Heart Rate

Yoga’s focus on relaxation is effective in lowering heart rate and reducing blood pressure in both normal practitioners and those suffering from hypertension. (8)

7. Manage Diabetes

A regular yoga practice not only helps maintain a healthier weight, but actually increases insulin sensitivity and improves glucose tolerance and lipid metabolism. (9)

8. Improve Immune Function

Practicing yoga helps maintain you immune system, stimulating the lymphatic system and increasing natural killer cells. (10) By promoting equanimity, yoga also eliminates the impairment in immunity associated with stress. (11)

9. Reduces Cortisol

Even a single yoga class can lower your level of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronically high concentrations of cortisol are associated with a myriad of ailments; including depression, anxiety and weight gain. (12)

10. Lowers blood sugar

Yoga helps to improve your glucose tolerance, preventing type II diabetes and helping manage weight gain. (13)

11. Release Muscle Tension

If left alone, muscle tension can result in tension headaches. Yoga encourages these stiff, achy muscles to release their contraction by gently stretching and massaging the body. (14)

12. Improve Lung Function

A regular yoga practice is associated with an overall improvement in lung function: Increasing lung capacity and improving lung health and strength. (15)

13. Clears The Sinuses

Certain yoga poses and breathing exercises - such as Alternate Nostril Breathing - help clear your sinuses and prevent sinus infections by strengthening your airways. (16)

14. Digestion

Many yoga poses help improve digestion by gently massaging the intestines and internal organs to stimulate peristalsis. Likewise, by activating our “rest and digest” response, yoga creates the optimal state for proper digestion. (17)

15. ​Manage Pain

Yoga is effective in managing the chronic pain associated with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, low back pain and fibromyalgia. (18)

16. ​Increase Cardiorespiratory Endurance

Regularly practicing yoga improves cardiorespiratory endurance: both decreasing heart rate and increasing maximal oxygen uptake. (19)

17. ​Promote Healthy Pregnancy

Practicing yoga during pregnancy improves the health of both mother and infant. (20) Additionally, prenatal yoga can reduce the length of labor and delivery, lower the need for intervention, and significantly reduce the associated pain. (21)

​18. Allergies

By reducing inflammation, yoga can help mitigate the effects of seasonal allergies. Lowering your stress levels with yoga takes pressure off your immune system, enabling it to better tackle the allergens. (22)

19. ​Promotes Healthy Fascia

Our fascia is the fibrous connective tissue that connects every cell in our bodies. Yoga helps to restore fluidity in our fascia for the ultimate relief of body tension. (23)

20. ​Reduce Oxygen Consumption

By combining stimulating practices with periods of relaxation, yoga reduces oxygen consumption more than relaxation alone. (24)

21. Reduce Sympathetic Activation

Guided relaxation as part of your yoga practice reduces the activity of the sympathetic nervous system - our fight-or-flight response - allowing the body to enter a state of rest-and-repair. (25)

22. Regulate Metabolism

Yoga is more effective than conventional exercise in regulating blood levels of glucose, lipids and insulin. (26)

23. Weight Management

The effects of yoga on weight loss go far beyond your mat: A regular yoga practice is accompanied by various lifestyle changes. These diverse behavioral, physical and psychosocial effects work together to promote healthy, sustainable weight loss and management. (27)

24. Prevent Injury

A regular yoga practice can lower your risk of injury by ensuring your muscles are flexible and your joints are well supported. It can also shine light on areas of imbalance so that they can be corrected. (28)

25. Ease Migraines

When used in conjunction with conventional migraine care, yoga therapy helps to reduce both the frequency and intensity of headaches. (29)

26. Fertility

Stress can compound fertility issues, by encouraging relaxation and calm yoga helps to balance out hormones and can likewise help couples deal with the taxing experience of fertility treatments. (30)

27. Lower risk for Heart disease

Yoga is effective in reducing most biological cardiovascular disease risk factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio and cholesterol. (31)

28. Ease Asthma

Certain yoga breathing exercises and postures can help ease the symptoms of asthma, improving autonomic function and quality of life. (32)

​29. Fight arthritis

Yoga gets right to the source of arthritis pain: Reducing inflammation and promoting the body’s creation of anti-inflammatory cytokines for the maximum benefit. (33,34)

30. Improve Vagal Tone

Yoga corrects underactivity of the parasympathetic nervous system through stimulation of the vagus nerve - the central pathway of the peripheral nervous system. (35)

31. Reduce Menopausal Symptoms

Yoga helps to reduce the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. A regular yoga practice is associated with lower levels of FSH and LH in menopausal women. (36)

​32. Improve Balance

A short-term yoga program is sufficient in improving balancing ability, as well as increasing leg strength and improving leg muscle control. (37)

33. ​Strengthen Core

Hatha yoga significantly improves core strength and stability: Those muscles of our abdomen and back which are essential to supporting our bodies through all activities. (38)

34. ​Quiets the “Me Center”

Meditation reduces the activity of the part of the brain responsible for self-referential thoughts and ruminations -- bringing us instead to the present moment. This is associated with less worry and more feelings of happiness and satisfaction. (39)

35. ​Focused

Yoga trains your brain to focus, which better enables you to learn new skills by resisting distractions and controlling impulses. (40)

36. ​Improve Sleep

Meditative movement practices such as yoga are associated with improvement in all aspects of sleep: Taking less time to fall asleep, experiencing fewer nighttime awakenings, and increasing time spent in deep sleep. (41)

37. ​Ease anxiety

Yoga is an effective tool in treating anxiety, and the benefits increase with the number of hours spent practicing. (42)

38. Boost Self-esteem

Yoga helps boost self-esteem by promoting a positive internal dialogue and reducing self-destructive thinking patterns. (43)

39. Improve Body Image

Regular yoga practitioners report higher levels of body satisfaction than conventional exercisers. (44)

40. Treat Depression

Yoga is a great complimentary treatment for depression: Decreasing ruminating thoughts, improving self-esteem and promoting mindfulness. (45)

​41. Increase Tolerance To Stress

Yoga increases our distress tolerance, improving emotional regulation and better enables us to adapt to stressful situations when they come our way. (46)

42. Cultivate Awareness

Yoga encourages you to cultivate a deeper self-awareness: motivating you to work on areas you wish to change while accepting those that you cannot. (47)

43. ​Improve Relationships

Yoga and mindfulness develop qualities that promote healthier relationships: Boosting compassion, improving communication skills and promoting problem solving. (48)

44. ​Promotes Self-Care

A regular yoga practice promotes the adoption of healthy habits, such as increased activity level and mindful eating. (49)

45. ​Boost Sexual Performance

Yoga boosts scores on all aspects of sexual function, including: desire, satisfaction, performance, and confidence. (50)

46. ​Relieve Stress

A short, daily yoga practice is an efficient way to reduce stress, improving your overall quality of life and better enabling you to tackle the challenges that come your way. (51)

47. ​Improve Memory

The combination of active and resting postures throughout a yoga practice significantly improves memory scores immediately following a class. (52)

48. ​Increase Energy

Yoga promotes feelings of vitality and vigor. Relieving stress and symptoms of depression and reducing the severity of fatigue. (53)

49. ​Improve Concentration

Yoga and meditation significantly improve scores on attention tasks, decreasing the time it takes to complete the task while simultaneously reducing the number of errors made. (54)

50. ​Stabilize Mood

Yoga increases levels of the neurotransmitter GABA - a mood-stabilizer. This mechanism promotes equanimity in regular practitioners and is related to the reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. (55)

There you have it! Interested in giving yoga a try? Check out this free yoga challenge!​

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