10 Non-physical benefits of Yoga

I'm sure you might have heard about how yoga is good for your mind and body. If you're already passionate yoga practitioner, you've probably noticed some yoga benefits like better sleep, less anxiety and more flexibility. But if you've ever told a newbie about the benefits of yoga you might find that explanations fall on deaf or skeptical ears. From increased strength to flexibility to heart health, there are several health benefits to rolling out the mat. We often spend too much time thinking about the physical benefits. Sure it's great to start building abs and feel refreshed and flexible. Sometimes it is important to think about the non-physical benefits of yoga. It, certainly, is one of the most thought cleansing and emotionally stabling exercises you can have in your life.

Better Breathing: Most of us don't give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, also known as pranayama, focus our attention on breathing and teach us how to take deeper breaths. Apart from being beneficial to the whole body, certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the nervous system.

Mental Calmness: Yoga has an effect of bringing calmness to your mind. It also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as how to focus on your breath and disengage from your thoughts. These skills prove to be very valuable in intense situations off the mat, like childbirth, a bout of insomnia, or when having an anxiety attack.

Reduces Stress: Any kind of physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are on the mat. Yoga provides a much-needed break from your stressors.

Increases Self Confidence: Doing yoga improves your mind-body connection, giving you a better awareness of your own body. During yoga, you learn to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment, putting you in better touch with your physical being. You also learn to accept your body as it is without judgment. Over time, this leads to feeling more comfortable in your own body, boosting your self-confidence.

Makes you happier: Feeling sad? Sit in Lotus. Better yet, rise up into a backbend or soar royally into King Dancer Pose. One study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and also led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol.

Helps you focus: An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation shows the ability to solve issues and acquire and recall information better. This is probably because they're less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.

Gives peace of mind: Yoga quells the fluctuations of the mind. In other words, it slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. And since stress is implicated in so many health problems such as migraines, insomnia, lupus, MS, eczema, high blood pressure, and heart attacks, if you learn to quiet your mind, you'll be likely to live longer and healthier.

Increases self-esteem: Many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. Yoga helps you handle this positively instead of taking drugs, overeating, working too hard. If you take a positive approach and practice yoga, you'll sense, initially in brief glimpses and later in more sustained views, that you're worthwhile. You'll experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness, as well as a sense that you're part of something bigger.

Benefits your relationships: A regular yoga practice helps develop friendliness, compassion, and greater equanimity in you. Apart from yogic philosophy emphasis on avoiding harm to others, telling the truth, and taking only what you need, this may improve many of your relationships. Encourages self care: It's what you do for yourself that matters in Yoga. It gives you the tools to help you change, and you might start to feel better the first time you try practicing. You also notice that the more you commit to practice, the more you benefit.

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