Yoga is more than just an exercise. And it's more than a series of poses. Yoga has been used for centuries as a way to reconnect the mind, body and spirit. The poses practiced in yoga are meant to keep the body as flexible and resilient as possible.
The deep breathing exercises associated with yoga are used to keep fresh oxygen moving throughout the body and give the brain what it needs to function efficiently.
The goal of yoga is to strengthen the body and mind by improving blood flow and eliminating stress and tension from the body. It is also beneficial when addressing anxiety and depression.
Calms the Mind
A few minutes of yoga every day clears and calms the mind. Throughout the day, stress can build up, causing tight muscles and decreased focus. As stress becomes more prominent, it can disrupt how your body functions, causing indigestion and other physical health problems.
By first calming the mind through deep breathing exercises, yoga works to relax your muscles. This relieves stress and tension in the body so they no longer affect the digestive system or the uptake of nutrients.
Encourages Deep Breathing
Part of what makes yoga so effective is the use of breathing exercises. Deep breathing draws oxygen deep into the lungs and helps to rid the body of toxins. It expands the rib cage and strengthens the muscles in your core. The act of deep breathing allows you to slow your thoughts and release the stress and tension that has been building up throughout the day.
Deep breathing is also a good way to improve the quality of sleep at night. As your stress and anxiety begin to disappear, your body can release physical tension and relax. A few relaxing yoga poses before bed will prepare you for a good night's sleep.
Relieves Tension and Improves Flexibility
Yoga uses many different poses. The sukhasana pose (sitting cross-legged and stretching the spine upwards) is easy for beginners and is used to calm the mind and eliminate stress and anxiety. Because of the way the poses are used, they encourage flexibility and help you achieve a greater range of motion.
The more flexible you are, the better you’ll feel. You’ll feel less tension in your muscles and can move more freely. As tension is reduced, blood flow will improve to various parts of the body, including the brain. This helps to restore balance and will allow you to relax and remain calm.
Keeps You Focused
Yoga eliminates stress by making you focus on what’s going on at the moment. It’s very hard to think about what you need to be doing over the next few hours when you’re trying to maintain a pose and practice your deep breathing exercises.
By staying focused on the here and now, you can let the stress and anxiety go, at least for a little while. When you’re finished with your yoga exercise, you can refocus and plan ahead without the interference associated with stress and anxiety.
Yoga is also beneficial for elevating your mood. As you continue your deep breathing exercises, you can let go of unwanted thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations. Your mood lightens and you find it easier to maintain your mental and physical balance. Most people can attest to that amazing feeling after a yoga class.
Improves General Well-Being
Yoga affects every aspect of your body, mind, and spirit. It works by bringing the three parts back into a harmonious balance where stress is relieved, the body is nourished, and spirit is allowed to expand.
As you begin to feel more open, feelings of general well-being start to present themselves. You are better able to focus on the positives in your life and sufficiently deal with the negatives. You become more confident and begin to feel that you are in control.
Allows You to Relax
Yoga is one of the best ways to relax and minimize your stress. Even people who are just starting to learn yoga can begin to experience the benefits in a very short period of time.
For people who are trying to get back into shape, yoga is a low-impact form of exercise that doesn’t require a person to over-exert themselves while they are regaining some of their mobility. If you want to reduce stress and frustration, look into a yoga class in your area. People who are in addiction recovery frequently use yoga to help manage the stress they feel when dealing with withdrawal symptoms from substances such as drugs or alcohol. Regardless of your situation, you can apply these same principles and use yoga to manage whatever stress you may have in your life.