Understanding the Therapeutic Benefits of Yoga


Yoga may have originated in ancient India, but it is now a worldwide practice, with at least 55 million yogis in the U.S. alone. There are also many different kinds of yoga nowadays such as Acro Yoga, which combines yoga and acrobatics, and Power Yoga, which puts together stretching, strength training, and meditative breathing. But regardless of the variation, the goal of yoga as a whole is to improve your overall wellness, from the physical to the spiritual.

So with that in mind, here are some of the ways yoga can improve your well-being:

It decreases stress

Yoga is known for its ability to promote relaxation, helping alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety. It can be very physical in nature, with variations like Vinyasa and Ashtanga, yoga helps the body release endorphins – more commonly known as the happy hormone. On the other hand, the pranayama practice helps you become more mindful of the breath, which can also lead to relaxing sensations. These aspects of the practice can improve your awareness and concentration, which can cultivate feelings of love, joy, and peace. In addition, yoga poses can help you relieve stress by stretching your muscles and releasing the tension in your body.

It promotes healthy eating habits

Yoga practices mindfulness, and you can roll this out across other aspects of your life such as your diet. There is an abundance of food choices, and distractions can shift our attention from eating. These factors can transform eating into a mindless act, and sometimes you can fall into a trap of eating for the sake of eating. Mindful eating allows you to appreciate food more and the act of eating, encouraging you to make healthier and more conscious choices along the way. You learn to eat slowly with no distractions, engaging your senses by noticing all aspects of your meal, from the colors to the textures. Mindful eating also teaches you to distinguish between real hunger and non-hunger triggers, which may include stress which we all know leads to binge eating.

It improves fitness

Aside from promoting mindfulness and relaxation, yoga is also a low-impact workout. A few rounds of your sun salutation can be invigorating and can even be a cardiovascular exercise depending on the pace. Meanwhile, yoga poses — such as standing postures, arm balances, and inversions — can help you build stronger muscles. For instance, working towards crow pose requires you to strengthen your arms and core, while warrior poses are good for developing the lower body. Overall, the postures can help you reduce the risk of injury by improving your muscle strength as well as your range of motion.

It enhances your quality of life

More and more people are becoming aware of yoga’s many benefits — so much so that yoga is being integrated into different industries. The corporate sector, for instance, hosts yoga classes to prevent burnout, increase productivity, and combat the physical results of sitting down for long periods of time. Meanwhile, in the healthcare sector, doctors are prescribing yoga therapy to help patients recover. This kind of yoga is a safe alternative to regular yoga as routines in yoga therapy are made with the elderly and clients with various health conditions in mind. Because of this, healthcare management professionals can consider implementing this as a care service in hospitals and nursing homes. These professionals are also trained in human resources, and can help find yoga therapists for patients with special needs.

It teaches you to live in the moment

If you’ve been practicing yoga for quite some time, you’ll find that it will be easier to apply mindfulness in your everyday life as well. Because of how fast or distracting our surroundings can be, it might be difficult to tell yourself to slow down. However, slowing down and paying attention to the present, such as observing your thoughts or slowing your walk, lets you appreciate every little thing that you come into contact with.

Practicing yoga on a regular basis, even for just a few quiet minutes of meditation per day, can be extremely therapeutic, beneficial to your overall well-being, and ultimately, improve your quality of life.

Exclusively written for CompleteHuman.com
By: Raevynn Jozelle

Abhishek Chauhan

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