3 key benefits of yoga

Read on to learn about how yoga can benefit your everyday life.

By Get Started Yoga from DK Publishing

3 key benefits of yoga
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Yoga creates a state where the mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with each other. This differentiates it from other physical activities and forms its unique character. Yoga creates a flexible body and a serene, sharply focused mind able to unleash the potential that is locked within.

1. Enhance your health and fitness
Modern living with its increased stresses has coincided with an increase in health problems. Yoga offers great health benefits by developing not only your overall fitness, but also your flexibility, posture, balance, and muscle tone.

Yoga's restorative powers can help to alleviate existing medical conditions and to maintain your health, by slowing down physical degeneration in many ways.

Key points

• Yoga keeps joints flexible and healthy by stretching and toning muscles and ligaments, and increasing their flexibility.

• Breathing techniques keep lungs fully exercised and filled with oxygen, which is then carried to the rest of the body.

• Yoga sequences strengthen the body's respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems

2. Increase your vitality

Accumulated toxins in the body, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, can result in lethargy that affects concentration at work as well as enthusiasm for physical activity. Regular yoga practice will gradually improve your level of vitality by making your body function much more efficiently.

Many yoga postures stimulate and massage the internal organs involved in the elimination of waste products. By increasing the blood supply to these organs, toxins are flushed out throughout the body, increasing vital nourishment to the organs.

Key points
• Yoga inversions provide a genuine cardiac workout, benefiting not only the heart but the whole circulatory system.

• Combined with correct breathing techniques, inversions also increase oxygen in the blood, nourishing and detoxifying the organs and glands.

• Optimizing your breathing increases your lung capacity, sending oxygen-rich and restorative blood to the brain, heart, lungs, and digestive organs.


3. Nurture the nervous system

The nervous system is made up not only of nerves, but also the glands that secrete hormones affecting our emotions. These glands also control other organs, secreting hormones that control how they function.

Our nervous system has two modes of operation: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The first increases our chances of survival when we are faced with danger. The other helps the body to heal itself.

The stresses of everyday life often cause the nervous system to lock into the sympathetic mode, preventing the body from entering its restorative mode and leading to many health problems. Practicing yoga can influence the nervous system to release blocked energy channels and activate healing.

Key points

• Forward and back bends release any blockage in the energy channels to allow nervous energy to flow freely, reducing symptoms of stress.

• Yoga postures, especially those that twist or bend the neck, are very effective in bringing the body into its restorative, or parasympathetic, mode.

• Yoga breathing techniques used for postures induce a state of relaxation, during which the nervous system switches into its restorative mode.

Excerpted from Get Started Yoga, copyright 2013 by Dorling Kindersley Limited. Used by permission of DK Publishing.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.


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