In recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced large swaths of the population to isolate themselves at home, has elevated our awareness of the importance of health and wellness. People have started viewing wellness through a much broader and more sophisticated lens, encompassing not only fitness and nutrition but also overall physical and mental health.
Owing to the plethora of health benefits it offers, Yoga has become mainstream in the wellness landscape. Several studies have shown the practice – the combination of stretching and other exercises with deep breathing and meditation – can improve physical flexibility and strength. Additionally, there is a growing body of research documenting the benefits of yoga for mental health or psychological benefits.
At Fazlani Natures Nest, we believe that practising Yoga is more than just exercising on mats; it is an approach to life. Our Yoga sessions aim at cultivating awareness to help you bring sustainability into your day-to-day activities. In this article, we look at various yoga benefits that help improve your physical and mental health.
Physical Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga remains one of the most popular physical activities in Southeast Asian countries such as India and has recently been growing in popularity in western parts of the world. Yoga is a relatively mild form of exercise that can result in the same health benefits as other types of exercise but with more relaxation and fewer impacts on joints.
- Improves Your Flexibility: Flexibility is a key component of physical health. There are many styles of yoga, varying in intensity from high to moderate, that have been found to increase flexibility. Yoga also helps slow down reduced flexibility, a natural aspect of ageing, in older adults.
- Builds Muscle Strength: Many people associate yoga with flexibility and stretching; however, strength-building can also be considered one of the physical benefits of yoga. Slow movements and deep breathing improve blood flow and warm up muscles while holding a yoga pose for a few minutes can build strength.
- Enhance Your Balance: Balance is highly essential for everyday simple movements. Regular practice of yoga improves proprioception i.e., the ability to feel what the body is doing, and enhances balance. It has also been shown to improve overall performance in athletes. Studies have found that yoga asana can help improve balance in people with brain injuries, while adaptive yoga can help older adults and people with injuries for whom balance has become a major concern.
- Promotes Better Posture: Poor posture can cause problems in your back, neck, muscles, and joints. When you slump, your body is likely to compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back, causing pains and degenerative arthritis of the spine. One of the yoga benefits is that it focuses on mobility and flexibility that can contribute to better alignment by releasing tight muscles like hamstrings and improving spine mobility.
- Helps with Burnout: Burnout or excessive exhaustion that affects your health seems to be at an all-time high. According to studies assessing the burnout among frontline workers during the pandemic, yoga-based meditation interventions can help alleviate the effects of excessive exhaustion by increasing interoceptive (the sense of the internal state of the body) awareness.
Yoga Benefits for Mental Health
Apart from strength-building and maintaining perfect balance, yoga emphasizes breathing practices and meditation that help calm the mind. Therefore, it is unsurprising that yoga also offers mental health benefits and makes your brain work better.
According to several studies, yoga is strongly associated with positive psychology, and its practice can help people cultivate mindfulness, improve their focus, and develop greater awareness.
- Helps with Stress Relief: Regular practice of yoga enables the tightening and relaxing of muscles that can reduce tension and relieve stress. The peaceful atmosphere, calming music, and positive attitude found in yoga classes also add to yoga benefits for mental health. Moreover, yoga incorporates meditation and breathing that can help improve your mental well-being.
- Gets Rid of Anxiety: Today, anxiety disorders may be considered the most common mental health disorders. Chronic stress patterns can sometimes be categorized as anxiety disorders. Through the combination of exercise, meditation, and relaxation, yoga helps regulate your stress response system, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate, thus relaxing your mind and easing your anxiety.
- Boosts Concentration and Memory: During yoga practice, you need to find a focal point to balance your posture and form. It means that you get to clear your thoughts and calm your senses which eventually boosts your brain’s ability to concentrate on one thing at a time and clears space for better memory.
- Improves Mood and Quality of Life: Numerous studies have shown that yoga can help boost GABA (a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for the way one feels) levels that release negative moods and emotions. Higher GABA levels in the brain can help replace these emotions with better ones and improve your self-confidence. Furthermore, studies have shown promising potential for yoga to improve the quality of life, especially in people treated with chronic illness and injury.
- Improves Sleep and Self-Esteem: People who regularly practice yoga are known to have greater changes in measures of sleep, positivity, and resilience to stress and anxiety. This is partly due to the aftereffects of exercise and the mental calming provided by yoga. Yoga can also be used to improve self-esteem and perceived body image, especially in adolescents and young adults who often struggle with self-esteem.
Yoga has undergone many modifications in its transition to the modern world. Regardless of these modifications, the practice continues to undoubtedly inspire many people to invest in self-care, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. Today, prevention and self-care have become bigger public health priorities and a lifestyle.
Fazlani Natures Nest brings to the fore a range of holistic wellness experiences involving yoga and numerous other therapies. Relax to your heart’s content and rejuvenate yourself completely by opting for a wellness retreat at Fazlani Natures Nest. Contact us to begin your wellness journey right away.