What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Yoga?
2 years ago, whenever I heard about Yoga. The first image that would pop into my head was a person sitting cross-legged on a mat repeating ‘OM’.
That still happens in Yoga but there’s so much more to it.
A common misconception I had about Yoga that stopped me from getting into Yoga a long time ago was because I thought yoga was somewhat a religion. If I started Yoga, it means that I’m on my way to worshipping outside my religion, Christianity.
Here’s the fact,
Yoga has ties to Hinduism due to its ancient Indian roots. However, it is more of a science, a science of self-realization.
Let me get right to it,
#1. Makes you Happier
According to Teendepression.org, about 20% of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood of which is one of the major causes of depression is low self-esteem.
P.S I’m not saying that once you start Yoga, you’d never experience depression. I’m saying that Yoga creates an outlet when overwhelmed, frustrated or anxious.
Yoga improves serotonin levels, decreases monoamine oxidase (this is an enzyme that breaks down hormones like dopamine) and cortisol (a major stress hormone).
Honestly, I believe that Yoga is one of the key reasons I’ve survived medical school cause if not, my cortisol levels would be off the charts.
You know how the saying goes, “no one can make you happy except yourself”.
In my post on How to start Yoga for better living, I talked a bit about this.
I didn’t start yoga, for this reason, I started yoga because I wanted to know how to split. I still don’t know how to split though but it has been the best decision I ever made.
Looking back at the person I was 18 months ago and the person I am now, I’ve grown to love the person I am and the person I’m becoming.
I know without a doubt that Yoga can help you achieve the self-love that you deserve.
#3. Brain Function
From Memory to Focus, all of it.
Try it, the next time you’re feeling stuck or you feel like your reading isn’t going anywhere. Step away from the table and do a few salutations I mentioned in How to start Yoga for better living.
By the time you get back to the table, your mind feels more refreshed and ready to absorb more content.
An article from Yoga medicine, How yoga changes your brain describes in detail the effect of constant practice of control in postures and breathing results in increased gray matter density.
So, What does that mean?
That means that you have better focus, better decision making and more willing to delay gratification.
#4. Blood Flow
Yoga improves body circulation.
This is a big one for me because I’m insanely obsessed about my hair. And, a very popular and effective hair tip is that by increasing blood flow to the scalp, one can boost hair growth. I am now an inversion junkie for this reason.
Being upside down gives you a whole new perspective.
Yoga involves a lot of stretching which helps to increase mobility in the muscle and joint. A flexible body is less prone to injuries and can withstand physical stress.
What part of your body have you always considered stiff? It could be your back, joints, etc. Almost any part of your body is prone to stiffness especially after being in a position for a long period like desk work.
After about 8 weeks of doing yoga, you start to notice a difference. It becomes easier to flow from one pose to another, your body begins to open up.
Also, you gain better balance and total body strength.
#6. Healthy Heart and Joints
Low blood pressure.
Increased immune system.
What else could your body ask for?
I know for a fact that it could get harder with time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. All the dos and don’ts can become choking and at some point, you’re beginning to question if it’s worth all this trouble.
With Yoga, It becomes a lifestyle. You find it harder to eat junk food as it becomes less appealing. You begin to look forward to hours on the mat and releasing the day’s stress.
A while ago, I had a friend tell me that I walked leaning forward.
You shouldn’t try to imagine that.
It stemmed from carrying heavy bags of books every day to class made my body start compensating by adjusting my center of gravity forward. I couldn’t stop obsessing about it. The yoga poses increased my core strength to help support the back muscles and prevent muscle strain while also strengthening your back muscles. I became more aware of my body posture when sitting or standing.
PS. You don’t also have to do Yoga by yourself. Invite Friends and family to join you on the mat and have an awesome bonding time. I can only list as many benefits as I can but it’s up to you to decide. I hope I have given you something worth reading about. To get started, here is an article that gives you all the information you need.
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