The Mental and Physical Benefits of a Regular Yoga PracticeApr 05, 2023
I've been creating an Instagram series on the mental and physical benefits of yoga that you may have seen popping up in my feed. I started practicing yoga asana when I was in my 20s, and came to yoga for the physical benefits. But, I slowly noticed that I become less anxious and my ability to concentrate increased. I was surprised, because I didn't realize that I would experience non-physical benefits. If you have been keeping up on Instagram, you'll have noticed that some yoga postures can help down-regulate the nervous system, or increase feelings of confidence!
In the U.S., yoga is the most popular complementary health approach, which means it is used alongside conventional medical treatments. A 2012 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics reported that more than 21 million Americans — more than 9 percent of U.S. adults — had practiced yoga at least once in the previous 12 months. Yoga is increasingly being used in health care settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and schools.
This practice may help you achieve physical and mental well-being.
Yoga may help improve your mental health by:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Relieving symptoms of depression
- Improving your mood
- Increasing self-awareness and self-acceptance
- Improving your cognitive function
- Enhancing your creativity
Yoga may help improve your physical health by:
- Increasing your flexibility
- Strengthening your muscles
- Improving your balance and coordination
- Relieving pain
- Improving your cardiovascular health
- Reducing your risk of falls
- Improving your sleep
But how does all of this happen?
Here are a few examples from specific yoga asana (postures):
- Strengthens the legs, hips, and core: Warrior II is a great pose for strengthening the legs, hips, and core. When you are in the pose, your legs are engaged, your core is tight, and your arms are extended. This helps to create a strong foundation in the pose, which can help to improve your balance and coordination.
- Improves balance and coordination: Warrior II is also a great pose for improving balance and coordination. When you are in the pose, you need to maintain your balance on one leg while also keeping your core engaged and your arms extended. This can be challenging at first, but with practice, you will be able to improve your balance and coordination.
- Opens up the hips and chest: Warrior II is also a great pose for opening up the hips and chest. When you are in the pose, your hips are turned out and your chest is open. This helps to stretch the hips and chest, which can help to improve your flexibility.
- Improves circulation and respiration: Warrior II can also help to improve circulation and respiration. When you are in the pose, your arms are extended overhead, which helps to open up your chest and allow for deeper breathing. Additionally, the movement of your legs helps to improve circulation throughout your body.
Physical benefits of sirsasana
- Improves circulation: Sirsasana helps to improve circulation by increasing blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. This can help to improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and boost energy levels.
- Strengthens the body: Sirsasana is a great way to strengthen the muscles in the arms, shoulders, neck, and core. This can help to improve posture and reduce back pain.
- Improves flexibility: Sirsasana can help to improve flexibility in the spine, hips, and shoulders. This can help to improve your range of motion and make everyday activities easier.
- Relieves headaches: Sirsasana can help to relieve headaches by reducing pressure in the head.
- Improves digestion: Sirsasana can help to improve digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs.
- Improves sleep: Sirsasana can help to improve sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Mental benefits of sirsasana
- Improves focus and concentration: Sirsasana can help to improve focus and concentration by requiring you to stay present in the moment.
- Reduces stress and anxiety: Sirsasana can help to reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and inner peace.
- Boosts energy levels: Sirsasana can help to boost energy levels by increasing circulation and stimulating the nervous system.
- Enhances self-confidence: Sirsasana can help to enhance self-confidence by challenging you to overcome your fears and limitations.
If you want to reap the mental and physical benefits of yoga, but are struggling to create a consistent yoga practice because you can't always make it to a yoga studio, let me help you! I created the Vinyasa Studio as an on-demand yoga studio so that yoga students of any level can roll out their mats in their kitchen, hallway, spare room, or hotel room, and I'll be right there to guide you through your choice of 15, 30, 45, or 60 minute class! Plus, I host a members-only online community where you can share your progress, stay motivated by a loving community, and ask me questions directly!