Yoga is defined as a discipline which combines meditation, breath control, and body postures. Even though everyone has heard of yoga, not many people choose to try it because they don’t quite know what it involves and the benefits it brings not only physically but also to our mental state.
As far as the physical benefits are concerned, they are extremely numerous and affect many of our body’s systems. The most important benefits include: increased flexibility is the most obvious result due to the postures and stretches which stand at the core of yoga; weight loss from exercise and a healthier diet; improved posture due to flexibility and muscle strength; increased muscle tone and strength caused by a regular exercise regime; blood flow is increased by movement of the limbs and postures that encourage venous return; lower blood pressure through postures; better bone health is achieved with postures that include lifting your body weight; improved immunity by lowering stress hormones and stimulation to eliminate toxins; blood sugar is lowered with weight loss, lowering adrenaline and cortisol levels; prevents digestive issues by lowering stress levels and protection against injury due to increased muscle tone and strengthened bones. All of these benefits have been scientifically proven in different studies, and they are proof that yoga is addressed to a wide audience.1
Yoga is not only about the body, but it also involves the mind and soul. The benefits brought to the emotional state that yoga can bring include: stress relief caused by the connection between exercise and meditation; makes you happier due to the increase of serotonin levels; helps you focus on improving coordination, memory and reaction time; boosted self-esteem caused by weight loss, healthier lifestyle, and meditation; increased inner strength is influenced by the change in lifestyle, mediation, and a healthier body; increased body awareness due to muscle toning, more attention to your health and way of life; relationships are influenced in a good way by increased self-esteem, less stress and a more peaceful state of mind; helps with anxiety and depression by lowering levels of stress and due to increase of serotonin levels; memory boost is caused by decreased levels of stress; ability to concentrate better caused by stress relief and happier state of mind; better sleep also influenced by stress reduction and healthier lifestyle.2
To conclude, Yoga is an excellent program and in fact, a way of life. It has many benefits at a physical, spiritual and mental level; it is a solution for a large number of issues. Even though it sounds very appealing and can be addressed to a broad audience, it is not for everyone. Yoga means discipline, self-control, ambition, desire for change and not everyone has these traits. Considering all the health benefits of yoga, both physically and mentally, all the efforts are worth it.