Ways yoga can benefit you


Aspen Jones

Alena and Gigi Leberger are sharing laughs while practicing yoga poses.

Aspen Jones, Sports Writer

Yoga was developed up to 5,000 years ago in India as a comprehensive system for well being on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. While yoga is often equated with Hatha yoga, well known physical exercise postures and breathing control techniques. Hatha yoga is only a part of the overall discipline of yoga. Today, many millions of people use various aspects of yoga to help raise their quality of life in such diverse areas as fitness, stress relief, wellness, mental clarity, healing,  peace of mind and spiritual growth.


Body Benefits 

Yoga is one of the top ten exercises for weight loss. It has been proven to help strengthen bones and muscles. Doing yoga can also help you maintain muscle tone and increase flexibility. With all of the relaxation techniques, you can also lessen chronic pains such as back pain, arthritis and headaches.

Exercise examples for pain:

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Mind Benefits

Many people use yoga therapy to manage mental and emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. The therapy may help with depression and symptoms such as difficulty concentrating or loss of energy. Through releasing tension in the hips, back, and shoulders, messages are sent to the brain that it is okay to relax. The nervous system becomes relaxed so you experience greater clarity and focus. Deep belly breathing really helps clear the mind and keeps you focused. You can feel more mentally balanced and your emotions won’t be all over the place.

  • Exercise example of Stress 

Research shows that mindfulness-based stress reduction, like that at yoga’s core, can help lower anxiety and stress.

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  • Boost your brainpower

A short little session of Hatha yoga might improve focus and information retention, according to the University of Illinois. Not only do poses like downward dogs relax and de-stress, but they may actually increase brain function.

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  • Happiness increase

Research shows that the simple act of living in the moment boosts moods. People spend almost half of our time planning ahead or contemplating the past, and staying in the present is often easier said than done. But yoga helps us focus on the present by providing both physical and mental exercises.

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Health Benefits

Several small studies have found yoga to have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors. It helped lower blood pressure in people who have hypertension and helped the body sense imbalances in blood pressure and maintain balance. It also lowered excessive blood sugar levels in people with non-insulin dependent diabetes and reduced their need for medications. Yoga is now being included in many cardiac rehabilitation programs due to its cardiovascular and stress relieving benefits.

The loss of muscle function, coordination, and other issues that come with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be frustrating, but some research indicates that yoga might help with MS by improving both physical function and mood. Practicing yoga can help with day-to-day functioning by improving balance and muscle alignment, strengthening muscles, and promoting relaxation, to reduce overall stress levels.

Yoga has certainly not been proven as a cure for asthma, but there is some evidence it might help with symptoms. More research is needed to determine the mechanisms of how yoga helps and if it improves lung function—which causes asthma in the first place. It makes sense that yoga would help with asthma symptoms because breathing exercises help relax the muscles in different parts of the lungs, which tighten and tense up during an asthma attack.

Benefits for school:

Having a yoga class in school is honestly perfect. While it reduces stress on classes, homework and tests, it may also improve memory and attention span. A direct benefit of which would be a better academic performance in children. It also helps to improve children’s attention span and focus. In fact, yoga aids children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by reducing its core symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Children should sleep for up to seven to eight hours each night. A good night’s sleep allows the body to be healthy, ready, and energetic for the next day. As yoga allows the body and the mind to relax, practitioners notice a better quality in their sleep. With better sleep, children can focus better in class, play more actively, and perform better at examinations.