Most of us have heard about how great yoga is for improving strength and flexibility, but there are several other benefits that this ancient form of exercise can provide, no matter your age, gender, or fitness level. Below are seven awesome health benefits of yoga that you probably didn't know.
1. Yoga is good for your brain.
The deep breathing exercises that are such an integral part of yoga aren't just for show--they actually work wonders in terms of providing increased oxygen to your brain, which helps you to think more clearly. This improved cognitive function will reduce stress and boost your focus and concentration, enabling your brain to operate more efficiently.
2. Yoga is good for your digestive system.
All of those bending, turning, and twisting movements that happen during and between yoga postures have a way of squeezing and massaging the intestines, which actually promotes the healthy movement of food through your digestive system. When your digestive system is being engaged in such a positive way, it also improves the absorption of nutrients into your body, which in turn boosts your energy levels by increasing your supply of available calories.
3. Yoga helps you fight off impulsive food cravings.
One of the main characteristics of yoga is its emphasis on mindfulness (a.k.a. awareness) through specialized breathing techniques. These breathing exercises calm your mind and body, giving you control over fleeting cravings that dart through your thoughts. Most food cravings will pass after about ten minutes, so if you can employ some yoga-inspired breathing techniques during those times, you'll more than likely avoid succumbing to those temptations.
4. Yoga is good for your skin.
This may sound strange at first, but yoga can actually affect the health of your skin. The deep breathing techniques and physical exertion required during yoga boosts blood flow throughout the body, which nourishes the skin with the oxygen it needs to remain supple and healthy. In addition, actively practicing yoga decreases the production of cortisol, which is a hormone released in the body in response to stress, and also a known trigger of skin breakouts.
5. Yoga boosts your immune system.
Holding and changing out of the different yoga postures and positions actually boosts the drainage of lymph, which is a colorless bodily fluid that is rich in disease-fighting white blood cells. This increases the effectiveness of your lymphatic system (a key component of your immune system) so that your body can naturally purge toxins, fight infection, and dismantle potentially cancerous cells.
6. Yoga lowers your blood sugar levels.
Practicing yoga improves your body's sensitivity to the effects of changing insulin levels. This helps stabilize your blood sugar, which in turn puts you at a decreased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure.
7. Yoga helps you sleep better.
The calming, meditative aspect of yoga enables you to eliminate distractions and pull away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. This combats overstimulation caused by a hectic daily environment, which subsequently improves your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons to consider adding yoga to your exercise regimen. When you're ready to try your hand at this fun, rejuvenating exercise, consider attending one of the yoga classes offered by Five Seasons Family Sports Club. Before you know it, you'll be experiencing the many benefits of yoga first-hand!