There are many reasons why you should start practicing Yoga for mental and physical health. In this blog post, we will share some of the amazing benefits of yoga for both your body and mind and how to choose the best yoga for YOU! We will also share some tips for beginners just starting out. If you're looking for a way to improve both your physical, mental, and emotional health, yoga is your solution.
Benefits of Yoga for Mental and Physical Health
Yoga Has Been an Antidote to Stress for Thousands of Years
The ancient Indian practice of yoga has spread to every corner of the world. It's nothing new and has stood the test of time because it offers a solid remedy for many physical, emotional, and mental problems.
Yoga is not just a form of exercise but also a meditative tool that brings peace of mind and positivity to your life. The practice can help your mind discover how to obtain better mental control and relief from the things that bother you.
When you feel anxious, it overwhelms you emotionally, and it affects you mentally. You'll feel on edge like you have knots in your stomach. You may have trouble thinking clearly and struggle to stop worrisome thoughts from running wildly through your mind.
Practicing yoga can help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression. It teaches you how to focus on your breath and how to control your thoughts so that you can live more peacefully in the present moment.
Breath control exercises like alternate nostril breathing work well to clear your mind. You'll learn how to connect with your body and find a sense of calm even when life is challenging.
Physical Diseases Healed By the Use of Yoga
Mental health isn't the only part of you that benefits from yoga. Yoga is also great for healing physical and emotional diseases, especially those that are linked to stress or acerbated by stress.
Yoga has been known to help aid management and even prevent diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. It's also a good way to help lower weight, which is a known risk factor for developing certain medical conditions.
Let's take a close look at all the ways you can benefit from a yoga practice.
Health Benefits of Yoga
“Yoga is a balancing factor, a substratum across all of your life, so you do not get shifted in one direction or another. It gives you freshness, gives you light, recharges your batteries. You become a stable person. You realize what balance is, what contentment is, what joy it.” Birjoo Mehta
Internal Benefits of Yoga
- Decreases blook pressure through improved blood circulation and oxygenation
- Lowers pulse rate and makes the heart more efficient at pumping blood
- Improved blood circulation for healthier organs, skin, and brain
- Lowers respiratory rate resulting in healthier lungs
- Cardiovascular endurance through improved oxygenation to the body
- The massaging of internal organs improves the body's ability to prevent disease
- Gastrointestinal function improvement
- A stronger immune system
- Higher pain tolerance
- Pain management, including chronic pain
- Increases metabolism for weight loss
External Benefits of Yoga
- Stimulates detoxification which delays aging
- Improves your posture
- Builds strength
- Provides energy for life
- Weight loss and healthy weight management
- Reduction in cellulite from stretching the fascia and muscles
- Improves sleep
- Improved balance
- Improved body awareness and comfort in the body
- Stronger core to prevent you from falling
- Better self-confidence
- Increases libido and sexual performance
Mental/Emotional Benefits of Yoga
“Yoga has a sly, clever way of short-circuiting the mental patterns that cause anxiety.”
With Yoga's unique mind and body connection, yoga provides numerous emotional and mental benefits as well.
- A strong mind-body connection supports a better mood
- Better self-control in all aspects of life
- A profound feeling of internal calm and peace
- Scientific research shows that only 8 weeks of yoga can improve concentration
- Blood circulation to the brain improves focus and memory skills
- Yoga has been proved to reduce stress exponentially
- Controlled breath results in a reduction of anxiety
- Yoga helps release negative energy which can reduce depression
- Improves your ability to tune into what your body needs which helps to control food cravings, overall eating habits, and emotional eating.
Because yoga is so effective at helping to relieve stress, it can work to help you deal with thyroid issues. Though it's little, your thyroid gland is responsible for managing a great deal of how your body is able to function.
When your thyroid gland doesn't work right, it can affect the entire body. Genetics plays a role in thyroid problems and diseases, but so does stress. Many people don't even know they have a thyroid condition because it's such a silent physical ailment.
There are some physical symptoms – like weight gain or loss, hair loss, inability to tolerate cold, heart palpitations, and more. By using yoga, you can boost the function of the thyroid by not only lessening the symptoms but by relaxing the throat.
When you’re stressed and have thyroid issues, it can cause the thyroid to swell with inflammation and this puts pressure on the esophagus. Many people with thyroid problems complain that it’s difficult to sleep with the pressure they feel on their throat and yoga relieves that by stimulating the throat area.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
People who have this condition tend to have a higher level of testosterone.
Practicing yoga lowers the amount of testosterone by nearly a third. Yoga can also help you improve ovulation that’s impeded by PCOS. Those who struggle with indigestion or acid reflux will find that yoga helps by improving the flexibility of the abdominal muscles plus boosting digestion.
Diabetes and Weight Loss and More
If you suffer from diabetes, yoga can help with that because it’s beneficial in aiding with blood sugar control. It does this by boosting the way that the body deals with the disease. It can help regulate glucose and boost insulin receptors.
At the same time, regularly practicing yoga can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI, which in turn helps improve many weight-related health issues such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and liver disease.
The disciplines of yoga can help your kidneys by boosting renal function. If you’re someone who suffers from headaches or migraines, yoga can help with that, too. Practicing the moves of yoga works to bring your blood pressure down, which is often one of the causes of headaches and migraines – even in people who usually have normal blood pressure levels.
Choosing the Best Type of Yoga for You
There are many different types of yoga for mental and physical health that you can choose from for your health needs and each one is geared toward helping the body in a specific way.
For example, one of the types is prenatal yoga.
This yoga was created just for pregnant women. If you’re expecting, you may want to choose this one because it can help not only keep you physically fit and relaxed before your child is born, but it also works to help stretch the body. If you’re not expecting, you don’t want this one because you don’t get the same level of poses because of the caution factor.
The reason why you might want to pick this one is that it’s a good start for beginners. You don’t have to know any specific poses when you go in.
Plus, this one is good for people who may have some limited exercise ability because the moves aren’t as demanding as other types of yoga are. However, if you’re an advanced student of yoga, you may find this type is too easy for you.
This is a type that’s good for people who want to lose weight or get into shape. It can be used as an exercise program. However, because it’s more physically demanding, this type of yoga isn’t suitable for anyone who has joint problems in their ankles or knees. It’s also not a good choice for people who are couch potatoes.
A form of yoga that was introduced in the early 2000s, Acro Yoga is a mixture of yoga and aerobics. This type can be done with the help of another person, or you can perform the disciplines by yourself. You can choose this one if you’re a beginner, but you can also choose it if you’re more advanced.
This yoga has an emphasis on holding a pose, doing poses in order, and increasing the intensity of the pose. While it’s good for both beginners and the advanced, it’s not good for anyone with balance issues due to the length of time spent in holding each of the poses.
Another one that’s a combination of yoga and something else, Aerial yoga uses the exercises found in Pilates but also has a gymnastics flair. A suspended hammock-type device is used to perform the poses.
What’s good about it is that the hammock can be used to support so it takes the strain off the back. People who should not use this type of yoga are those who have high blood pressure due to the postures used.
Slower than some other types of yoga, Yin yoga will hold the pose for longer because the desired outcome of the discipline is not only mental relaxation but to go further and aim for full-body relaxation.
If you’re someone who’s had lengthy struggles with anxiety or stress, this one is a good yoga choice. But if you have or have had problems with your back, you should avoid this one.
This form of yoga focuses on exercise but also uses a more meditative approach that’s found in a spiritual style. This one is good for those who want to exercise, but want to do so by following specific tenets. It’s not good for those who don’t like meditation or a more spiritual slant.
Taps into the energy you have and combines specific breathing exercises along with specific poses. Users will at times chant or sing while exercising and engaging in the poses.
While it’s good for those who are beginners or advanced and for those looking for calmness and serenity, it’s not recommended for those who are not looking for more physical yoga.
Though this form is helpful for flexibility and can help with posture and strength, it’s not as disciplined as other forms of yoga. So those who are looking for a tougher workout won’t find it with this one.
Known by the label hot yoga, these poses are performed in environments that use higher temperatures. The idea behind it is that it helps to relax the muscles and the body. It’s good for people who have stiff joints, but not for those who have trouble working out in higher temperatures.
This one is great for people who struggle with stress or anxiety, especially if the stress is impacting your physical health. There are fewer poses to do and less physical effort. It’s great for people who aren’t used to working out but should be avoided if your goal is building physical strength.
Focuses on the flow of the postures. The movements are fluid and these poses are combined with breathing. You might want to choose this one if you’re looking to build your muscle strength but you would avoid it if you were looking for a form of yoga that ensures the moves are properly conducted.
Tips for Beginners Just Starting with Yoga
If you’re new to yoga for mental and physical health, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. It’s important that you make sure you’re comfortable while you’re doing the poses, so take be sure that you’ve chosen the right practice for you.
It’s okay to change if you get started and find that you don’t like one. Start by researching the various types of yoga and deciding if you’re going to do it at home or seek classes.
How to Shop for the Best Clothing and Yoga Gear
Make sure the clothes you wear for your practice fit comfortably without chafing. You’ll want to dress weather appropriate. When you first get started, you might find that you can’t do certain poses.
Your clothing should be breathable. You’ll need yoga pants or pants or shorts that are comfortable and allow for ease of movement. Avoid pants that are too tight, too baggy or ones that have any type of protruding embellishments.
When choosing a yoga top, you’ll need one that’s not loose. Loose clothing worn as a shirt can be a hindrance when doing poses. Not only can the shirt rise up and block your vision, but loose shirts can get tangled up in the movements and this can throw you off or even block your vision if you’re upside down.
Make sure that you wear a form-fitting bra so that you’re comfortable. You don’t want a loose bra that can chafe the skin and you also don’t want to wear an underwire. You can wear a sports bra for the most comfort.
Yoga mats are an essential item regardless of the form of yoga you’re doing.
Not only do they provide padding, but they also can prevent you from falling. You’ll want a long-lasting, nonslip mat. Pay attention to the length of use as well as the traction feature of the mat that you purchase.
The type of foam that’s in the mat matters, too. You can find various thickness levels as well as various lengths. When making your choice, be sure to look for ones that are made of non-toxic materials.
Because you’ll be lying down for some yoga poses, you’ll also want to be sure your mat is long enough. Avoid cheap mats. To keep your mat neat and clean, you’ll want to either get a mat that comes with a carry bag or buy one separately.
One piece of equipment that helps with stability is a yoga block. These offer support when bending in certain poses like bending sideways or backward.
Another piece of equipment to consider is a yoga belt also known as a yoga strap. These can help you stretch and boost flexibility.
Be Wise and Go at Your Own Pace
You can seek guidance from your yoga instructor or use helpful props to aid you. Go at your own pace. It’s not a race.
Take your time and learn the movements. Don’t do poses that you’re not physically comfortable doing. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself. Some people don’t view yoga as a way of working out.
It is, though – and just like traditional exercise routines, you have to make sure that you maintain proper electrolytes and stay hydrated. Know your limitations. Yoga isn’t about “pushing through” with any meditation or movement that bothers you physically or mentally. It’s okay to accept what works for you and let go of what doesn’t.
Yoga not only helps your body with mobility and other physical issues, but it works to calm your mind and bring peace to you on a daily basis.
You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment, and you can do yoga routines that last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more. Tailor it to your personal preferences and it will be something you look forward to regularly.
How To Find Yoga Classes
Yoga classes are available all over the world, but since Covid, many studios are closing permanently. Touchy-feely classes, close-knit communities, breathwork, and attention from teachers now feel risky for some amid the threat of catching the virus.
But there are still options for you if you're just starting a practice.
If you want to learn how to practice yoga at home, here are 9 tips for a home yoga practice.
More people are turning to virtual yoga via the internet since the lockdown. Yoga can be a powerful tool to cope with uncertainty and isolation. It proves the growing need for yoga in a post-covid world.
There are also numerous Yoga workouts on DVD that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
This can be appealing for those fearful of Yoga studios or for those who enjoy their privacy. It's also more economical than paying for classes on an ongoing basis. It is also a good way to learn all the basic poses as a beginner without having to worry about keeping up with a class.
Top Rated Yoga DVD Programs on Amazon
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