According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative health, More than 90 percent of people come to yoga to improve their health, with the number of yoga practitioners expected to leap to nearly 50 million in 2020. So what is the secret? Why are more and more people turning to Yoga to improve their overall health and wellbeing?
The short answer is that yoga makes you feel better. There's something in it for everyone. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation can improve health in body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, and shape up -- all at the same time. Looking for a reason to get on your mat? Here are 3 of the many reasons why you should.
Improved flexibility is one of the first benefits of a consistent yoga practice. At the beginning of your journey, you may not be able to touch your toes. However, with time and consistent practice, you may find yourself going further than you ever have before. With a consistent and alignment-focused practice, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. The more you practice you'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That's no coincidence. After making room for your practice, over time your body will thank you by being less restricted and therefore causing you less pain.
Improve Mental Health
According to ancient Yogic texts, the Vedas, the practice of yoga aims to "cut the seed of sorrow before it sprouts." A recent study found that a consistent yoga practice mediated symptoms of depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels. True happiness, liberation and enlightenment, according to yogic teachings, comes from union with the divine consciousness known as Brahman, or with Atman, the transcendent Self. In Hatha Yoga, the physical asana practice, including postures and breath work helps to purify body & mind and can help bring you closer to this blissful liberation.Yoga helps us to fine-tune our highest Selves. It helps cut through the layers of mis-identity that arise in response to the world around us, our actions, experiences and feelings. It calms the frenzy, clears the clutter and allows us to get back in touch with our truest sense of Self.
Aid in Longevity
Regardless of the United States' exorbitant Health spending, year after year we rank among the lowest in terms of life expectancy compared to other developed countries, with cancer and heart disease the leading causes of death. Research suggests that a consistent Yoga practice that incorporates breath work, meditation and movement can optimize health and even extend your life span. Yoga has been proven to lower blood sugar, regulate your adrenal glands, cleanse lymph and immune systems, increase bone density and health, and calm the nervous system- all of which have important implications on our life expectancy and overall sense of wellbeing. Through our yoga practice, with this knowledge in mind, we can begin to proactively strengthen the systems that become compromised as we age. With time and practice, we can expect to live a longer, happier and healthier life.