Picturing yoga often conjures up an image of an ancient yogi, perched on the edge of a cliff--spine ridged, palms up to the sky. This seems unattainable, even on our best day! But you don’t have to do the most difficult yoga poses to become a master over your body. Everyone knows that flexibility is a huge benefit of doing yoga regularly, but what about the little-known--life changing-- benefits?
It Helps Release Chronic Tension
That one tight muscle in your arm, shoulder, or back is acting up again! These tight spots come and go, sometimes accompanied with headaches. Occasionally they are only relieved with a $50 trip to a massage therapist. So, why do we have these muscle-specific tension problems?
In the 21st century, much of our extracurricular time is spent on a device. Bingeing on your favorite T.V. show is entertaining, but it has side-effects. Staying in the same sedentary position for a prolonged time can atrophy muscles.
Doing yoga twice a week, or on a daily basis, can help you become more aware these problems. Stretching your muscles out will reduce those chronic issues--over time, your body will thank you.
Yoga Drains The Lymphatic System
So what is the lymphatic system? And, more importantly, why does it matter? Simply put, the lymphatic system is in charge of transporting white blood cells in the lymph fluid throughout your body.
When stretching and moving through various yoga postures, your organs and body tissues activate. This increases the amount of lymph fluid that drains throughout your body--that’s more white blood cell warriors. Yoga is the hidden immune booster we’ve all been looking for!
More Blood Flow
Looking at someone doing yoga is like watching a human pretzel. But, these twists and turns in yoga poses are vital for blood health.
Blood flow is improved through many exercises--cardio, weightlifting, calisthenics, etc. However, yoga has a special effect on blood flow.
It’s been suggested that when twisting through yoga poses your body essentially squeezes venous (deoxygenated) blood from the internal organs. This blood is then released when coming out of the twist pose, and replaced with oxygenated blood! Additionally, stretching allows blood to travel more easily to fingers and toes. Who knew yoga was a defense against vascular disease?
Prevents Joint Deterioration
It’s no secret that becoming more flexible allows for a greater range of motion. But, it’s not just the muscles that benefit in yoga. Each time the body goes through a full range of motion, it helps the joints and ligaments too!
Yoga poses allow you unlock the range of motion your joints have to offer. They get lubricated, used to their full extent, and become stronger as a result--It’s injury prevention at it’s finest.
Posture, Posture, Posture
Does posture really matter? Look at the tension all around your body when you droop forward--the way your head juts in front, putting all the weight at an awkward angle on your neck.
With yoga, the back becomes more supple, the arms and shoulders are relaxed, and the legs become devoid of tension. The importance of posture isn’t to be underestimated. Standing or sitting up straight is difficult when there are so many little muscles working against us, pulling our weight down--and our energy with it. Yoga creates a more limber body, and good posture is no longer a fight.
Yoga can do amazing things for the body, not to mention the mind and emotions! Caring for your muscles, joints, blood, and skeleton are all happy side-effects of a daily or weekly yoga routine. So, next time you wonder why yoga is good, take a moment to stretch out and remind yourself.