Its difficult to believe it but I’ve found 50 yoga benefits you or reason to take it up. I started to write a short list and before I knew it arrived at this huge number. It appears to do good to our bodies and minds in almost every way imaginable. There are physical benefits. mental health benefits, social benefits and future protective benefits available for all of us.
A quick word of warning, one class can make you feel a bit better but you will need quite a few to get some of the 50 reasons you should do yoga.
Let’s just take a look at the list now, in no particular order. I will pop back in a few days and write in detail about the proof on some of these claims.
50 ways yoga benefits you.
- Stress relief Deep breathing and meditation are an integral part of most yoga classes. You will feel the stress slip away.
- Self-confidence is about believing in your abilities. You think you cant but you find you can. You will be amazed at what you can achieve. As you achieve more your confidence grows.
- Improved Concentration Your work in a yoga class requires you to concentrate. Practicing at such intense levels for an hour aids your concentration at other times.
- Relaxation You will learn new relaxation techniques including meditation, breathing exercises and a special relaxation pose called Savasana
- Inner awareness We follow our breath inwards and look inside ourselves. With regular practice, we learn whats normal and whats not inside our bodies
- Emotional Health Your emotions will become more balanced, less negative thinking and you will feel more positive about the future. I’m not surprised because your health will be so much better you have many reasons to look forward.
- Higher general fitness levels Appart from a little walking the only exercise I do is yoga. I was about to say I am the fittest 60-year old I know but that’s not quite true. I know other yogis over 60 who are so surprisingly fit for their age
- Improves Memory You learn and practice new routines and skills in yoga. It is well documented that learning new skills has a positive effect on our memories and is protective going forward.
- Better Sleep As you are less anxious and more relaxed your sleep quality improves. you will sleep deeper and longer ( if you want too). I am sure you can imagine the positive effect more sleep will have on your life
- Muscle strength As we age muscle strength declines. Yoga slows down the rate of strength loss and can actually reverse it. We can get stronger as we age.
- Muscle tone Tones muscles make us look better. Imagine plump underarms rather than bingo wings. Cellulite being replaced by smooth looking muscle.
- Flexibility Struggling to bend down or to twist around. It comes to us all as we age unless learn to stretch and bend correctly. Imagine being able to sit on the floor again to play with your children or finding it easy to load the dishwasher or turn your body while reversing your car.
- Joint health Conditions such as arthritis can be prevented or improved by regular yoga sessions. Most of our joints contain synovial fluid. This is thick and sticky unless we move when it becomes thinner and so our joints move more easily.
- Bone health. Yoga postures encourage our muscles and tendons to pull on our bones. This, in turn, causes them to lay down more calcium. What a great way to prevent osteoporosis or prevent it from worsening.
- Improved circulation Our arteries and veins get a work out during yoga. They become more elastic and flexible too. Remember the last thing we want is hardened arteries.
- Better immunity Imagine as part of your overall better health you get fewer coughs and colds. I suspect this is due to our lymph glands being stimulated and cleared quicker.
- Hormone homeostasis Our bodies are constantly trying to maintain homeostasis in all areas. This balance is very important in our hormone systems which many many of our functions including growth and reproduction. Yoga helps maintain this balance.
- Balanced blood sugar levels Yoga is known to help with diabetes through more balanced blood sugar levels. This is probably achieved due to weight loss and a more controlled appetite.
- Weight loss As I mentioned earlier yoga boosts self-confidence and helps reduce appetite. This can give overweight people the push needed to start on their weight loss journey. I am told by my students that it has really helped.
- Lower calorie intake It’s awkward to do yoga if you have eaten in the few hours previously. Strangely you won’t find yourself starving hungry afterwards either. It a bit like your body saying ” you have looked after me now I will help you back”.
- Healthier heart Certain yoga sequences such as sun salutations can raise your heart rate whilst you are performing them. Done regularly they will lower your resting heart rate which is a positive sign of overall heart health.
- Lower blood pressure High blood pressure is often caused by low levels of fitness and high levels of stress. Therefore as we exercise more and our stress is lowered our blood pressure comes down too.
- Improved Balance We practice our balancing exercises in yoga. Better balance means fewer falls as we age and so less injury. Falls and loss of balance are the main reasons for people having to live in care. We all want to avoid that.
- Better Proprioception Proprioception is our awareness of our body in space. It is another faculty we lose with ageing and that can be improved by regular yoga practice.
- More Energy The French have a saying which translates to “You have to give energy to gain energy”. As you put your energy into yoga you will find it coming back several times over.
- Pain relief Natural endorphins are released during yoga. These are natures pain relievers. At the end of a class, you will find many aches and pains have gone and this often stays with you until the next day.
- Live Longer Have you seen all the lovely centenarians in the news doing yoga? Some are still driving and teaching yoga themselves. In interviews, they all credit their longevity to regular practice.
- Look Better Its not just improved muscle tone and weight loss that makes you look better. There are even specific yoga exercises such as the Lion pose which work on eliminating wrinkles.
- Cheap Where else can you get benefits like these are such a reasonable cost? You can buy a yoga mat from about £5 upwards. That and some non-restrictive clothing is all you really need as the yoga can be found for free on websites such as this and on YouTube. The cost of classes is about £6 upwards and you can subscribe to a yoga video site for about £10 a month.
- Everyone can do it No matter what your size, age or current mobility level you can make a start with yoga. you just need to find the right yoga for you. Hunt around on the internet or in your local community. There are probably beginners yoga and chair yoga classes available.
- Easy to access All you have to do is go to Google and type in Yoga and thousands and thousands of results will be shown. Type in yoga and the name of your town and I’m sure you will find a class to suit you. Failing that Yoga Ladies is here to help
- No special clothing All you need is a t-shirt and a pair of trousers with an elasticated waist. We do not wear shoes. Of course, you can spend a small fortune on designer yoga pants and expensive club membership. That is a choice, not a necessity.
- Fits your schedule You can do yoga anytime. There are gentle morning sequences and relaxing evening ones. Vigorous practices for late afternoon, long practices and ones as short as 10 minutes. No excuses here.
- New friends, I have made lots of lovely new friends in yoga classes. There is an opportunity to chat before and after class ( not during though as that is teachers time to talk). Friendship often starts with the lady next to you on the mat. As you struggle and succeed together you feel a common bond.
- Slows Dementia I’ve seen reports of yoga slowing dementia and that those practising yoga are less likely to get it or get it later in life. Probably this is due to greater blood flow to the brain bringing more oxygen to it. If I can find documentary proof I will write more about this as its so important to those of us who are getting older.
- Improves back health When I started yoga my back was quite stiff. Regularly I would pull or strain something in the small of my back and I would be in pain for days. Now with gentle practice, I can bend backwards, my spine is more flexible and its rare for me to get back pain at all.
- Assists Detox Many of the twisting and squeezing postures are designed to help us start the detox process. This helps us to feel better and our skin become clearer.
- Tones Pelvic Floor A great one for us ladies, we often work with bandhas in yoga including one around the pelvic floor area. After a few weeks, you will feel an improvement.
- Improves Flat Feet and other foot conditions. Another one I know about from personal experience, there are yoga exercises which can improve flat feet and plantar fasciitis. Simply got aching feet after a day in high heels? It can help with that too. We work with bare feet and its an opportunity for our toes to stretch out and relax too.
- Aids IBS and digestive issues All that twisting and bending helps our digestive system work more effectively. We even have a specific wind relieving pose which helps massage the stomach and intestines.
- Fewer drugs required With less pain and ailments we can throw away many of our medications. (Please check with your Doc first though). Personally, I no longer need my asthma inhalers which is amazing
- Improved Posture Yoga can help with Kyphosis ( upper back curvature) and Lordosis ( lower back curvature). Have you slumped over a desk for years and your shoulders are now rounded? Regular yoga sessions will stretch out the muscles which have shortened and strengthen the weak ones to bring you towards correct alignment again.
- Makes you happy Some of the postures are quite ridiculous and we just look silly and can’t help but smile. We start to play like children again – remember rocking on your back or doing handstands – even if we don’t get there we actually enjoy the feeling once again.
- Improved coordination Some of our yoga postures challenge and so improve coordination. We work across the body with opposite arm and leg movements which help too.
- Sporting improvements Did you know lots of the top sports folk do yoga to help them improve their own game. Many have come out and acknowledged the role it plays. It works for them it must be worth you giving it a go.
- Live in present Meditation exercises are an integral part of most yoga classes. These encourage us to stay in the now rather than living in the past or the future. Try it it works.
- More willing and able to try new things As you become fitter and more confident you will find you are able to do other things you always wanted to but couldn’t. Improved physical fitness means we can get out more and try more sports and games. Not your thing? How about becoming a better dancer?
- Long or short sessions A traditional yoga class is an hour to 1 hour 15 long but even a short session of 10 or 20 minutes has benefit if done regularly.
- Tailor to suit you Don’t want to stand on your head ( I don’t )? It’s not a problem. The same applies to any of the other postures you cant or don’t want to do. There are always alternatives or just leave that one out.
- Fun. I may just have left one of the biggest one of my 50 ways yoga benefits you until last. Its fun, Most people who try it do enjoy themselves. If not then find a different class or yoga teacher and try again as you may just have been unlucky. There are so many types of yoga out there that one is going to be right for you.
More ways yoga benefits you?
Wow, have I convinced you to take up yoga? I am sure there are more than 50 ways yoga benefits you. Can you add to the list for me? Pop a comment down below and the list will grow.