What are the health benefits of yoga?
Mainstream science is finally accepting what yoga practitioners have known for thousands of years – that yoga movements and poses have multiple benefits for health and wellbeing. While some of these can be instant and obvious, like increased flexibility, others develop powerfully over time through consistent practise, such as reduction in stress and migraines.
Here are 10 of the most striking physical and mental health benefits yoga can provide:
1. Enhance flexibility
If you often feel stiff and have trouble reaching, bending and performing other movements, yoga can be tailored to the muscles and joints you need to achieve fluid, painless motion.
2. Better balance
Many people find themselves struggling with balance as they get older. One-legged yoga poses and inversions help to develop core strength and keep you stable.
3. Build strength and muscle
Yoga teaches you to carry your body's weight in new ways. Supporting yourself on a single leg or with your arms helps to build strong, long and lean muscles, particularly in the limbs, back and abdomen.
4. Boost immunity
Yoga improves overall health to keep your organs functioning at their peak, but it can also boost your health at the cellular level. A Norwegian study found that yoga participants were much more likely to experience a change in gene expression that improved immunity, compared to subjects engaging in other therapeutic activities.
5. Support joints
Yoga is ideal for people with joint issues such as arthritis. Low impact yoga movements do not cause injury to joints like more strenuous exercise. They also strengthen the surrounding muscles and help cartilage to retain more nutrients.
6. Soothe back pain
Sitting at a desk, driving a car and other static activities cause tightness and compression in the spine that frequently leads to back pain. Yoga movements such as back bends, forward bends and twists keep your spinal discs flexible and build muscle strength to alleviate the pain.
7. Improve heart rate
Regular yoga sessions lower the resting heart rate, reducing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions.
8. Ease migraines
Migraines are thought to be caused by mental stress combined with bad posture. Daily yoga has been found to reduce the rate and pain of migraines over a three-month period.
9. Relieve stress
Yoga doesn't only take care of the physical side. Poses, breathing exercises and meditation techniques performed for just a few minutes every day can all help to clear the mind and put problems into perspective.
10. Get a good night's sleep
Daily yoga helps to relax and de-stress the mind. A study by Harvard University found that breathing and mental exercises performed daily for eight weeks helped people with insomnia to sleep more soundly.
Join a yoga class in Coolangatta
Whether you're passionate about yoga or trying something new, head to Boardriders at The Strand Coolangatta for weekly yoga classes led by local instructor Crystal O’Rourke.