Ask people why they turned to the physical practice of yoga and they are likely to mention a desire for increased flexibility or relief from stress. It’s true, yoga offers those things … but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As you delve into yoga, you realize that it offers many additional benefits – some of which can literally change your life. Here are some of the amazing things yoga may be able to do for you, all backed by medical science:
Yoga may fight depression and anxiety by boosting brain chemicals that promote a sense of well-being. There are studies that link yoga to a reduction in anxiety and depression and lower cortisol levels. Yoga is also used as a path to heal from trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Studies have shown that yoga may reduce migraine intensity and frequency.
Yoga moves your body in ways that can be good for your joints and increase your flexibility. Studies show it can help combat chronic pain and arthritis symptoms.
Yoga increases muscle strength and endurance and improves balance through combinations of movement and static poses.
Combined with healthy lifestyle choices, yoga may reduce the risk of heart disease. Research shows yoga can help decrease blood pressure, heart rate, low-density cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Yoga may protect the aging brain. Imaging studies show long-term yoga practitioners have greater cortical thickness in areas of the brain associated with attention and memory. Yoga can prevent shrinking of the brain associated with advanced age as well.
Breathwork, another component of yoga, can decrease respiratory rates, increase lung function and may ease asthma.
Personal awareness increases naturally with yoga. Yoga helps you to let go of the world around you and be in the present moment. You will be more attuned to how you feel physically, emotionally and energetically in each pose. Yoga guides you to an internal connection between body and mind.
A great way to begin a yoga journey is to pick up a Mind & Body schedule at your local YMCA and choose the class description that resonates with you. The Greater Des Moines YMCAs offer many different styles of yoga led by trained, experienced instructors who can help guide your path. Our classes provide modifications and physical support props to help you ease into yoga at your own pace.
As you can see, there are many important reasons why everyone should try yoga, but our favorite of all is simply that yoga makes you feel good!