In recent years, yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise and is widely practiced by people from all around the world.
Yoga is known to provide numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. As the modern person is increasingly aware of the importance of wellness, it comes as no surprise that over 300 million people practice yoga globally, according to the International Yoga Federation.
So, what are the benefits of yoga for the body? Let’s find out!
Health Benefits of Yoga
1. Improves flexibility
The first and most obvious benefit of yoga is its ability to improve the body’s flexibility and agility. For the first few sessions, you probably won’t be able to bend over to touch your toes. But if you practice long enough, you will become more flexible, and eventually you will be able to perform these movements easily. In addition, any muscle aches you have may slowly subside.
2. Increases muscle strength
Strong muscles make the body look toned. Practicing yoga also protects us from diseases such as arthritis and back pain which are ailments that are commonly experienced during the later stages of life. In addition, you are more likely to tone muscles all over the body, as compared to strength exercises such as lifting weights.
3. Adjusts your posture
Many professionals spend approximately 8 to 12 hours a day at their desk. Prolonged sitting is known to cause back and neck aches. Therefore, it is not surprising that office workers are more prone to joint pains and osteoarthritis than compared with other labor-intensive occupations. Yoga exercises are an effective way to help correct your body posture, and can also aid in reducing pain related to bones and joints.
4. Helps to strengthen bones
Regular exercise helps to keep bones healthy and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Many yoga poses require you to lift your entire body weight. These poses help to strengthen the arm bones, which account for approximately half of adult fractures.
5. Improves blood circulation
Practicing yoga aids in increasing blood flow around the body, especially relaxation exercises that focuses on the hands and feet. Yoga also helps to increase blood oxygen levels for body cells to function optimally.
6. Boosts the immune system
When you practice yoga, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system to fight infections, get rid of harmful bacteria and viruses, as well as reduce the risk of cancer.
7. Increases heart rate
Like other forms of exercise, yoga elevates the heart rate, which is beneficial to cardiovascular health and helps to reduce the risk of heart-related diseases and promote weight loss by increasing your metabolic rate.
The Golden Rules of Nutrition for Yoga Practitioners
Proper nutrition and dieting greatly affect the results of each person’s practice. Here are some tips on how you can individualize your meal plans to cater to your yogic lifestyle.
1. Eat to the point of satiety
If you aren’t hungry, wait until the next mealtime. Eat in moderation so you don’t feel bloated after finishing a meal. At one sitting, you should only consume a maximum of four or five foods. This is to avoid taxing the digestive system. Meals should be spaced apart. 10 to 15 minutes after yoga, it is recommended that you consume liquid foods such as soups or smoothies. After 30 minutes, you can eat solid foods. Once a week, try fasting to detox your body. Remember to gradually adjust your diet so that your digestive system can acclimatize to your new meal plan.
2. Don’t rush through a meal
A study from Japan’s Kyushu University noted that people who chew slowly feel fuller faster and enjoy better digestion. During a meal, our gut releases hormones that signal satiety. By eating slowly, you will feel full after finishing a meal and are less likely to reach out for a second serving. Moreover, not rushing through a meal also allows you to savor the flavor of the dish.
3. Reduce meat and fish intake
Eating a balanced diet is key to ensuring that the body is fully nourished with all the essential nutrients, for sustained health. The yoga practitioner may consider eating more fruits and vegetables, and reducing their meat and fish intake.
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4. Drink enough water
Water is essential for the body to perform essential functions such as digestion and circulation of nutrients to blood cells, etc. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. In addition to filtered water, you can drink herbal teas that are rich in antioxidants such as Fortune Delight®.
Try Out Yoga for a Healthy Body and Mind
As yoga styles come in varying intensity, it is the perfect exercise for both beginners and experts. What’s more, yoga can be practiced anytime and anywhere – whether it is in a class or at the comfort of your home. Yoga can be an excellent way to strengthen the body, focus the mind, and relax the spirit. With its numerous physical and mental benefits, consider practicing yoga as part of your healthy lifestyle!
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