Health Benefits of Yoga

Any exercise program, including yoga, will enhance your current level of physical health. Yoga is a whole body and mind approach to wellness and as such offers a multitude of benefits. Before you begin any exercise program, you should discuss your physical goals with your health care professional. If you have unique health care issues, your fitness or yoga instructor should be informed in order to advise you how to care for these during your exercise program.

Yoga has specific health benefits which are unique to yoga and are above and beyond the advantages that any exercise program brings to the body. Yoga can be as vigorous or as gentle as you need it to be. A competent yoga instructor can work with your individual fitness level to modify the yogic postures to suit any physical limitations you may be experiencing. If you are ready to challenge yourself, the poses can be intensified to capture more of your body and engage the muscles to a deeper extent.

Yoga:

  • improves circulation
  • strengthens the heart
  • improves muscle tone and increases strength
  • improves flexibility
  • releases endorphins into the body
  • keeps our stress level low
  • helps us to get a better night’s sleep
  • promotes bone density
  • strengthens the immune system
  • is fun!

Yoga is one of many naturopathic approaches to enhance wellbeing and promote health. Yoga, shiatsu massage and acupuncture are similar with respect to the opening of the chi or qi (pronounced “chee”) and the promotion of harmony, health and balance. The chi are locations on the body where there is an energy transfer. Open chi connect the flow of energy throughout the body. Each chi corresponds with a part of the body and the function it serves. If a chi is blocked, the flow of energy is interrupted. Blocking of the chi can be a result of illness, injury or stress. Acupuncture uses needles placed around or in the chi to unblock them and shiatsu uses finger pressure to open the energy passages. Yoga uses postures to facilitate the flow of energy and to prevent blockages from occurring. Prana, the practise of proper breathing, is used to bring oxygen and awareness to all parts of the body. The practise of prana with open the chi, increase vitality and sustain a healthier life.

Centuries ago, a doctor in China was paid only when the people were healthy. If a person became ill, the treatment was free. Payment began again after the health was restored.

While yoga was originally an eastern practice concerned with achieving spiritual well-being, it has become popular in Western culture as a way of maintaining physical strength, well-being and health. Releasing tension from the body through breathing, physical posture and meditation alleviates stress. This concept is an integral element of yoga practise. Keeping the body free of internal stress is a way of preventing illness and maintaining health. Remaining receptive to alternative cultural beliefs promotes harmony, balance and tolerance. This spiritual calm progressively helps us to preserve our freedom from stress.

Iyengar yoga has a particular healing focus. Precise application of alignment is used to free the body from the negative effects of improper posture and poor alignment. Iyengar instructors use cushions, blocks, straps, benches and bean bags to make detailed adjustments to the posture for absolute postural alignment. These ‘props’ make it possible for people with health care challenges to enjoy the benefits that yoga brings to the body.

Yoga complements other natural methods of healing work to enhance the flow of energy throughout the body. Changing physical positions frequently will help you to achieve better alignment and prevent physical distress. Good posture is reinforced by wearing supportive footwear that keeps the spine aligned. Therapeutic massage therapy, arnica or capsaicin cream helps make sure any minor discomforts are reconciled before they get a chance to grow worse and affect other areas of the body.

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Comments

  1. says

    Yoga is perhaps the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner, including those – such as the prostate – that hardly get externally stimulated during our entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away disease and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder.

  2. says

    I just started yoga about a month ago and I was very skeptical. After the first two visits I fell in love with it! I have always been very unflaxible and it has gotten worse over the past few years. Yoga has really helped tone my body.

  3. says

    Thank you for the useful information. I am a yoga newbie (though I have always been into sports). During past stressful and sleepless weeks I have suffered heart problems and my friend suggested meditating or visiting youga classes. Now I am reasearching both.

  4. says

    Yoga is my life. I am doing yoga since my childhood. It helped me lot. Yoga is not any religion and please dont limit with any tradition. Thank you.

  5. Charlotte Bradley says

    I am so happy to hear how yoga has contributed to your health and cancer remission. All the best as you continue with your practice.
    Charlotte

  6. says

    Excellent read. As a practitioner of Iyengar, I’ve also learned to appreciate the importance of alignment and detail, both on and off the mat.

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