Yoga is generally known as a spiritual discipline which originated in ancient India and is very associated with meditative practices in a number of religions which aim for the attainment of spiritual insight and tranquility. The benefits of yoga, however, go beyond the spiritual and the transcendental. As yoga practitioners know first hand, these include physical and mental well being as well.
Yoga Stretches as Physical Exercise and Therapy
Many yoga stretches and poses have been studied and proven as effective interventions in a variety of conditions like back pain, stress, and depression. In a recent report, the Guardian cited new research showing that doing yoga is a more effective way for people with lower back pain to become more mobile. A similar report appeared on MedPage Today citing how yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles and benefits back function and symptoms in back pain sufferers. Athletes have also been proven to gain a lot of benefits from doing yoga. These include muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, and improved lung capacity. Yoga stretches and poses have also been used extensively in the treatment and rehabilitation of injured athletes. Having stronger and more flexible joints and muscles from doing yoga also makes athletes less susceptible to sports-related injuries.
Yoga Stretches and Weight Loss
The practice of yoga also produces a lot of positive results for people who are overweight. Various yoga stretches and poses gradually build firmness and strength in the muscles. Vigorous yoga which include Astanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga and Power Yoga effectively bring your weight down by getting your heart rate going and your sweat flowing. The various forms of stretching that takes place also lengthens and leans your muscles, toning them so they become firmer and more elegant. Proper breathing, which is an essential part of yoga, also helps greatly in reducing weight. Yoga breathing exercises the diaphragm muscle so more oxygen is taken into your lungs with each breath. A high supply of oxygen in the body ensures more efficient combustion of foods. Not only does this help you lose weight, it also helps keep the body from being poisoned by undigested wastes. Furthermore, getting a leaner and more toned body gives you better self-image and builds your self-confidence.
Yoga stretches provide a bevy of benefits which contribute to a person's overall health and well being. More mobility and agility, better balance, better blood circulation throughout the body leading to quicker healing of muscle injuries, and relief from maladies like back pain and arthritis are only some of these many benefits of yoga.