Yoga is an exercise that dates back for thousands of years and continually gains popularity as time goes on. It is a technique that uses breathing, poses, and stretching to help connect your mind and body while physically exercising at the same time. Often, yogis pair this exercise with meditation, allowing for an even deeper connection between your psyche and body and offering inner-healing.
This exercise is more than just physical activity that connects your mind and body, however. In fact, it offers many other health benefits, as well. This exercise helps with diabetes, mental health, asthma, back pain, and many other issues. Each part of your body is affected by this exercise in different ways. But it all points back to your overall well being, both physically and mentally.
The benefits of the exercise are almost endless, and the practice is easy for a beginner to learn. As your comfort and expert level increases, so will the number of poses you can do correctly. Before jumping in, however, it is essential to know what happens to your body when you do yoga daily.
What Happens to Your Body When You Do Yoga Daily
1. You improve flexibility
Being more flexible is one of the first benefits that you are likely to notice. If you can’t do so before, you likely won’t be able to touch your toes or bend backward after just one session, but you will notice a gradual change as you continuously practice. This increase in flexibility will gradually loosen your body so that aches and pains begin to disappear.
2. Decreases inflammation
When inflammation occurs in the body, it can lead to cardiovascular diseases or cancer. This exercise can help reduce C-reactive proteins from the blood, which are proteins that are directly related to inflammation and are produced in vast quantities when you are stressed. Cardiovascular diseases and stress aren’t the only diseases to worry about, however, because inflammation can also cause cancer.
3. Reduces stress
The C-reactive proteins mentioned above (see #2) are produced in enormous quantities when you are stressed, which could lead to inflammation. This exercise lowers the number of stress hormones that are produced by the central nervous system, and the meditation portion further relaxes you.
Meditation helps your body release oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) in the brain by encouraging you to relax, slow your breathing, and focus on your body. It is calming and restorative while helping you to think more clearly.
4. Yoga reduces pains and aches
With 80% of people in the United States suffering from back pain at one point or another, this benefit will likely appeal to you. Doctors say that after just six exercise sessions, you should notice a decrease in back pain. Other sources of pain that you may alleviate through this exercise include:
- back pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
5. You’ll build strength
Strong muscles can protect you from arthritis, back pain, and they can prevent falls. Additionally, this exercise builds inner strength by connecting your mind and body and helping you focus your thoughts more positively.
6. Improves posture
Your head is heavy, but when it is positioned perfectly over your straight spine, it is less for your neck and back muscles to keep up. If you don’t have it positioned perfectly, however, those neck and back muscles have to strain, causing fatigue, back pain, neck pain, and other joint and muscle problems.
7. Yoga promotes cartilage and joint health
This exercise allows your joints to go through all of the motions, preventing degenerative arthritis and other disabling issues. It also allows the areas of typically unused cartilage to be moved, which will enable it to get the nutrients it requires to stay healthy.
8. Protects your bones, including your spine
This benefit ties in with the last one (# 7), as it is partially related to cartilage health. Without healthy cartilage, your bones may be left completely exposed to one another, which could cause them to grind and painful wear down. This exercise also strengthens bones that don’t often get attention, reducing the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis.
The spine protection comes mostly from the flexibility that is gained, but also from the cartilage health, as well. The flexibility benefits your spinal disks, which absorb shock between each vertebra. The spinal disks get their nutrients through movement, making backbends, forward bends, twists, and other beneficial actions an excellent option for spinal health.
9. Yoga improves sleep
Your nervous system needs downtime, and this exercise allows for that. When this happens, you will be able to sleep better and be less tired during the day. Thus, better quality sleep will lower your stress levels and reduce the chances of having an injury.
10. Helps with breathing
Those who do this exercise regularly tend to take fewer breaths that are deeper throughout their day, encouraging calmness and efficiency. Additionally, this exercise increases your overall lung function through more efficient exhalation and being able to inhale more air. The practice also encourages nose breathing, which filters the air before you breathe it into your lungs.
11. Leads to a healthier digestive system
Twisting positions are said to promote waste to move more quickly and effectively, while the stress-reducing aspects of the exercise can help with other digestive system issues.
Any digestive system problem that becomes worse when you are stressed out can be eased by daily exercise, and the risk of other disorders or diseases are lessened. This exercise can help relieve or prevent:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- colon cancer
12. Yoga increases blood flow through your body
The relaxation that comes along with this exercise helps improve blood circulation throughout your entire body but, most specifically, in your hands and feet. Plus, specific movements of the exercise help boost hemoglobin and red blood cells, which are both full of oxygen for your tissues.
Twisting poses get deoxygenated blood out of organs and other areas. On the other hand, twisting back allows oxygenated blood to flow into those areas. Finally, inverted poses with your legs in the air allow deoxygenated blood to leave the legs and refill with oxygenated blood.
Additionally, this increase in blood flow leads to thinner blood by making the platelets less sticky. This can help reduce the risk of blood clots, substantially decreasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other deadly diseases.
13. Boosts your immune system
To properly fight off infection, destroy cancer cells, get rid of toxic waste, and encourage proper cell function, a fluid full of immune cells must drain. This fluid is called lymph, and it helps your lymphatic system and immune system work properly.
14. Yoga regulates blood sugar
This exercise lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, which leads to a healthier blood sugar level. Another way that it regulates blood sugar is through weight loss, which will likely occur if you are exercising daily.
Regulating your blood sugar levels can decrease your risk of diabetes and diabetic complications such as: