Yoga is well-known as a practice for mental and physical well-being. Yoga's ancient Indian roots describe the wholistic nature and healing potential of this practice:
"By the practice of Hatha Yoga, one can gain steadiness of mind, good health, and longevity." - Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Chapter 1, Verse 17
Here are five simplified reasons to start or continue a regular yoga practice:
Improved physical health: The benefits of yoga on physical health are rooted in the ancient practices. Regular yoga practice can help improve mobility, strength, balance, and cardiovascular health. Yoga can also help reduce the risk of injury, improve digestion, and boost the immune system, Yoga reduces inflammation and inflammatory markers in the body. PMID: 30735481
Reduced stress and anxiety: Yoga has been shown to help improve symptoms of stress and anxiety by promoting deep relaxation and reducing stress-related inflammation in the body. Traditional yoga views stress or "suffering" as a primary obstacle to peace of mind. Yoga practices outline a methodology to relieve said suffering and bring a practitioner peace and contentment. Regular practice can help you manage stress more effectively, improve your overall mood, and promote a greater sense of ease and well-being. PPMID: 31083878
Increased self-awareness: Through pranayama, or breath control, you can become more self-aware and attuned to your body, thoughts, and emotions. This increased awareness can help you identify patterns in your life that may be contributing to stress, anxiety, or other health issues, and give you the tools to make positive changes in your life. Additionally, regular yoga practice can lead to changes in brain activity in areas associated with attention, awareness, and emotional regulation, and also to improvements in mood and well-being.PMID: 3215678
Improved mental focus: Yoga can help improve mental clarity, focus, and concentration. Through the practices of asana, pranayama and pratyahara, the ability to focus is supported. Concentration or dharana is cultivated through meditation techniques. Regular practice can help you stay focused and relaxed and can even help improve memory and cognitive function over time.
Make good choices: Yoga includes a set of ethical codes of conduct known as yama (dos) and niyama (don'ts). For example, the foundational concept of "ahimsa" the ethical precept of non-harming , non-injury and interruption of harm is widely practiced by yoga students. By following these codes of conduct a practitioner can live a simple yet powerful life guided by compassion, care and community awareness. To care deeply for humanity, community and nature is built into the system of yoga.
What do you think? Drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts on cultivating a regular yoga practice.