With the rise of mental health awareness and the recognition of the importance of self-care, many people are choosing yoga as a way to improve both their physical and mental health. Not just a form of exercise, yoga is a holistic approach to wellness that offers a multitude of benefits.
To reap the rewards yoga offers, you don't need a fancy gym membership or expensive equipment. All you need is the desire to start and some comfortable clothes. If you're entirely new to yoga, you might wonder what the fuss is about! So, let's begin with what yoga is and how it can help your mind and body.
What Is Yoga?
Originally, yoga was used as a spiritual development and self-transformation practice, originating thousands of years ago in India. Over time, it has evolved and adapted to suit the needs of different cultures. Today, there are many different styles of yoga, each with its own focus.
At its core, yoga is a mindfulness method used to train yourself both physically and mentally. It asks us to be present in the moment and to focus on our breath. We can find taking a moment for ourselves difficult in our fast-paced, modern lives, where we are constantly bombarded with distractions. However, by taking time out for yoga, we can learn to focus our attention and become more aware of our thoughts and feelings.
All forms of yoga share some common elements, including postures (or asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation. These elements can help to improve physical health, mental wellbeing, and emotional balance.
How Can Yoga Help Your Mind and Body?
So, now we know what yoga is, let's look at how it can help your mind and body.
Improves Physical Health
Yoga is a brilliant way to improve your physical fitness. It can help increase muscle strength and flexibility while improving balance and coordination. The postures and breathing exercises used in yoga can also help to improve circulation, digestion, and respiration.
Yoga is a brilliant low to moderate-intensity workout, making it ideal for those who are looking for a gentler form of exercise. There is a vast range of poses to try out, so you can find ones that suit your fitness level and goals. As you become more familiar with the art form that is yoga, you can challenge yourself by trying new and more complex variations.
Help Manage Stress
In our day-to-day lives, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and allow stress to take over. While stress is seen as a regular part of our lives and isn't always bad, too much stress can adversely affect both our physical and psychological health. For example, chronic stress can lead to several health problems, including heart disease, sleep issues and concentration problems.
Yoga can help to break this cycle by teaching us to focus on the present moment. The breathing exercises used in yoga can be used to calm the mind and body, while the postures can boost our mood and energy levels. In addition, meditation can help to clear our thoughts and promote a sense of peace and wellness.
Can Ease Pain
Whether it's back pain, headaches or health issues such as arthritis, chronic pain can be debilitating and make everyday tasks seem impossible. Movement and exercise can often be the last thing on our minds when we're in pain, but yoga can actually help to ease tension and improve mobility.
The gentle stretching and strengthening of the muscles can help to reduce inflammation, while the controlled breathing exercises we use in yoga can help to manage any feelings of pain. In addition, it isn't just physical pain that yoga can help with. Emotional distress, such as grief, can also be eased through yoga.
Boost Mental Wellbeing
Your mental health should be given just as much attention as your physical health. Unfortunately, mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, are on the rise. To combat this, we must find ways to promote our mental wellness.
Yoga is a great way to boost your mood and promote positive thinking. Deep breathing exercises used in yoga can help to oxygenate the blood and encourage calmness, while the postures can improve our overall wellness levels. In addition, yoga can help to increase our self-esteem and body confidence.
When we get our bodies moving and blood pumping, it's good for our cardiovascular health. Yoga is a wonderful method for increasing your heart rate and improving circulation. Still, it's also low impact, which is one reason you may find practising yoga recommended in cardiac rehabilitation programs.
Regular exercise is well known to help reduce many risks, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and help manage diabetes. So, by incorporating yoga into your exercise routine, you could be doing your heart a world of good.
Can Help Improve Sleep
A good night's sleep is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, let alone get the recommended hours per night. If you're one of those people, yoga could help.
The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques used in yoga can help to quieten a busy mind and lessen anxiety, both of which can be culprits of poor sleep. Plus, moving your body during the day can help tire you out for bedtime.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Yoga
As we can see, yoga offers a whole host of benefits for both the mind and body. From managing stress and pain to improving our cardiovascular health and sleep, there are many reasons why we should all give yoga a try. What's more, with regular practice, the benefits of yoga only continue to grow!
If you want to elevate your yoga game, why not include some wellness-boosting essential oils into your practice? Not only will they enhance the experience, but you'll also reap the benefits of aromatherapy. Whether you want to energise your mind or unwind after a long day, we have a specially curated blend of essential oils for you. So, next time you get your yoga mat out, why don't you reach for an essential oil too?