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Here’s Why Yoga Is Not Just About Physical Exercise

Yoga, the ancient Indian practice, offers a myriad of health benefits. Today, it has also made a distinctive mark across the globe, including western countries. From mental, spiritual, and physical well-being, practicing yoga or meditation can change your life for the better. It can do wonders, especially when you fit yoga into your morning routine. In fact, for many enthusiasts, a yoga-meditation retreat is part and parcel of everyday life. Embracing yoga benefits people across all age groups, including kids, students, and adults; we can all derive its healing effects.

Several people interpret yoga in various ways. While most of us assume that it is merely a form of physical exercise, yoga can be much more than that.

We will talk about the various interpretations of yoga, and we will also let you know why Yoga signifies more than any routine exercise that we do daily.

What Is The Definition Of Yoga?

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Wikipedia defines Yoga as a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. Originating in India, currently, there is a wide variety of yoga schools and techniques across the globe.

What are the most common types of Yoga practices?

The most well-known types of yoga are:

  • Hatha
  • Rāja
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Yin Yoga
  • Iyengar Yoga

Why Is Yoga More Than Just A Form Of Exercise?

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Yoga and meditation, especially in the morning, are packed with potent benefits for health. Let’s understand what this truly is.

1. Yoga Is An Experience

It is easy to exercise once you learn it properly, but to do yoga most perfectly, one has to gain experience over the years. It is not just about performing some bodily postures, but the feeling is indeed ecstatic, and it has to be felt from the heart of the individual.

There are some advanced stages of yoga in which the person has to immerse himself completely, and then only he will be able to perform the Yogic art.

2. Yoga Is Not Just About Bodily Fitness, But It’s Also About Spiritual Unification

While yoga practices are healing for physical fitness, it also helps eliminate bodily and mental ailments.

Although performing yoga can be strenuous since it needs ample concentration by the body, in the process, the soul is in parallel levels and unified so that there is a scope for spiritual elevation.

3. Yoga Is Also A Form Of Meditation

Yoga is all about discipline and the proper way of living, which doesn’t necessarily mean a series of actions daily.

For performing the correct Yogic art, you have to follow the Yama and the Niyama- the two principles mandate for the overall development of an individual.

Of course, yoga postures are exercising, but one should not limit it to exercise but rather make sure they take this sacred practice with a holistic approach.

4. Yoga Is Part Of An Individual From The Time Of Birth

If you have noticed newborn babies, you must have seen how they take deep breaths in and out. They are also able to bend easily and are more flexible in general. Thus, yoga is never taught but is an innate capacity of every human being that one must manifest to the fullest.

A part of it is exercised, but Yoga is a vast term to be experienced through the years.

What Are The Physical Benefits Of Yoga?

 

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Numerous scientific studies have come up with proof that shows the physical benefits and mental health while performing yoga regularly. Here are some ways this ancient practice can promote better health.

1. Diminishes Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a prevalent issue that can lower the quality of life among millions of people suffering from physical pain like arthritis.

A study was carried out among patients who had chronic pain for more than six months and never indulged in yoga practices in the past years.

The study concluded that those who practiced yoga every week had experienced a spike in their ability to move and relief from chronic lower back pain.

2. Boosts Heart Health

The modern lifestyle leads to several heart issues like cardiovascular diseases. The good news is yoga can help fight these diseases and improve heart health.

In one study carried out by The Community Health Center in Meriden, it was found that people who took an active part in a Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) program significantly decreased their visits to medical care associated with cardiac health.

Additionally, another study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology cited that Transcendental Meditation in medical practice was found to lower blood pressure in patients.

3. Improves Sleep 

Along with physical benefits, yoga has a profound impact on the sleep pattern of an individual.

A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine shows that older adults with regular yoga practice experience better sleep quality, take less time to fall asleep, and feel more energetic during the day.

This is because your body stretches, and muscle relaxation causes your body to exert energy, ultimately making one fall deep asleep.

Here are more interesting articles on sleeping habits:

4. Soothes Migraines

Yoga can effectively soothe the problems of migraines in people. Migraine pain causes one to feel nausea, heightened sensitivity to light, and vomiting, affecting almost 13% of the global population.

In a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, 30% of migraine patients took an active part in Yoga therapy and witnessed a significant decrease in headaches after few weeks.

According to research, doing yoga daily can stimulate the Vagus nerve, resulting in pain relief from migraines.

5. Promotes Physical Strength

Physical strength is one of the significant benefits of yoga. By doing yoga, one improves their flexibility, vitality, and power.

Studies show that performing Suryanamaskar significantly improves muscle strength, body endurance, and composition.

What Are The Spiritual And Mental Health Benefits Of Yoga?

1. Promotes Creativity

A growing body of research shows that practicing yoga regularly helps unlock our creativity. As per several research studies, yoga promotes innovative skills by infusing energy from the mind, body, and spirit.

A study published in 2014 by Leiden University indicates that mindfulness meditation techniques facilitate creative thinking even if a person never meditated before.

The study was carried out among 40 individuals, consisting of avid meditators and non-meditators. The result of the experiment concludes that specific meditation techniques have a lasting impact on human cognition.

2. Relieves Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety and depression are severe problems that can potentially affect one’s daily life functioning.

On top of that, the pandemic aggravated the symptoms of anxiety and depression among adults. Apparently, 4 in 10 adults in the United States reported recurring episodes of anxiety and depressive symptoms during the pandemic, says statistics.

However, a research study from the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 12 sessions of yoga were an effective tool in battling depression, stress, and anxiety in women. Yoga therapy works as a tool that bridges the gap between the mind and body connection.

3. Reduces Stress

Apart from mental health, stress affects physical health as well. Chronic stress can give rise to multiple heart disorders. Moreover, stress also piles up as:

  • mood irritability
  • headaches
  • poor sleep pattern

Consequently, all these issues can adversely affect one’s overall well-being. However, regularly doing yoga benefits both mental, physical, and spiritual health.

On a physical level, yoga amplifies your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). As a result, the relaxation response of the body increases remarkably instead of the stress response. This means, when your body is in a relaxed state, it responds to stressors in a better way.

What Are The Social Benefits Of Yoga?

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Humans are social butterflies. However, for some people, it can be a  dreadful task to socialize with others. Yoga can be an incredible tool for those people who lack the confidence to interact in a social circle.

Let’s see the social benefits yoga provides!

1. Builds Self-Confidence

We all want to exude strong confidence, yet many people lack it today.

Yoga can help one believe in themselves while imbibing them with higher levels of confidence.

When you practice yoga, you’ll likely either join a class and get training from a professional yoga trainer. There, you get to meet people who share the same interest as you, and what follows is a bond that is so valuable that you can’t help but feel affirmed within yourself.

This regular interaction is highly beneficial for someone who lacks basic social skills.

Furthermore, a study from The University of Nottingham vouches that certain yoga techniques foster health and psychological well-being in children. The investigation also came to a conclusion of yoga being a facilitator in the social lives of people.

2. Emotional Connection With Others

Another social benefit of yoga is creating an emotional connection with others. The sole purpose of doing yoga is to reconnect with our own self. Only when we feel emotionally connected with our mind, body, and spirit can we build an emotional bond with someone else.

3. Improved Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is an essential element in understanding ourselves better. A loss of self can throw our life on a curveball, leading to multiple problems.

However, yoga supports one build that lost self and self-awareness in the process. Yoga brings our minds to the present moment instead of dwelling in the past or fearing the future. This allows a person to be aware of their current emotions while further preventing them from feeling disconnected.

Yoga At The Workplace

Incorporating Yoga at the workplace can also bring positive changes to employee health and wellness. Amidst the pandemic, several companies have come forward to help their employees fight mental stress or anxiety through their corporate wellness program.

With the growing demand for workplace wellness, practicing yoga with your colleagues can also foster team spirit and improve productivity other than the already-mentioned benefits that yoga offers.

Take inspiration from these yoga poses from your work desk.

Can Students Benefit From Practicing Yoga Daily?

Yoga holds the same importance for school students as much as it does for older adults.

We all know that the present education system takes a significant toll on students. From meeting deadlines for assignments to preparing for exams, a student’s life can go into chaos if they don’t take care of their emotional well-being.

These are some ways that show the importance of yoga in a student’s life:

  • A study published on NIH displays that yoga enhances school-going adolescents’ emotion regulation abilities and presents them with benefits beyond physical education.
  • Research also indicates that students who perform yoga ends up with improved academic grades.
  • Another similar study shows that performing Kundalini yoga among school peers helps them cope better with stress and anxiety.

Concluding thoughts,

As an end note, Yoga is a practice that helps to eliminate all chances of illness. It can not only relieve people of some chronic diseases like arthritis, obesity but also help maintain a healthy mind.

Start building patience and self-discipline if you want to practice it. Embrace Yoga and experience a better life both mentally and physically.

Key Takeaways On Benefits Of Yoga And Meditation

  • Practicing yoga first thing in the morning is packed with physical, mental health, and spiritual benefits.
  • In a study conducted on patients with a history of at least 2 years of migraine and headache, 30% of patients who took an active part in Yoga therapy witnessed a significant decrease in headaches after few weeks.
  • For beginners, performing yoga can be strenuous as it needs ample concentration. But once you learn the know-how, it helps to eliminate all chances of illness.
  • There are some advanced stages of yoga in which the person has to immerse himself completely.
  • Moreover, several retreat centers are teaching the art of Yoga practices.
  • To do the correct Yogic art, you have to follow the Yama and the Niyama- the two principles mandate overall development for the individual.
  • It is an innate capacity of every human being who needs to manifest it to the fullest.
  • As a matter of fact, studies show that yoga relieves one from chronic pain, heart diseases, and migraines.
  • Additionally, it also improves the overall sleep quality and promotes better physical mobility.
  • Therefore, embrace it and experience a better life mentally and physically.

What’s the importance of Yoga in a student’s life?

  • Yoga enhances the emotional regulation abilities of school-going adolescents.
  • Students who perform yoga ends up with improved academic grades.
  • Help them cope better with stress and anxiety.

What are the benefits of yoga on physical health?

  • Relieves chronic pain.
  • Improves heart health.
  • Promotes quality sleep.
  • Soothes migraines.
  • Increases physical strength.

What are the social benefits of yoga?

  • It boosts confidence levels.
  • Builds emotional connection.
  • Fosters self-awareness.

What are the spiritual benefits of yoga?

  • Promotes creativity.
  • Relieves anxiety and depression.
  • Reduces stress disorders.

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Manu Mathur
Manu Mathur is a Content Manager at Neil Patel Digital, India. He also has expertise in areas surrounding content creation and has worked as a Content Writer and Social Media Strategist.

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