Benefits Of Yoga
The benefits of yoga go beyond strength and flexibility, though those are certainly two of the most apparent to someone who practices on a regular basis. From managing stress and cultivating emotional stability to increasing sexual health and performance and providing spiritual fulfillment, individuals experience different benefits from yoga, depending on how they practice and where their practice fits in with their current situation.
- Strength and flexibility. While you don't need to be flexible to enjoy the benefits of yoga, the muscle-building and strength benefits that it provides will certainly help to make your muscles more flexible as well. It is more important to focus on building strength surrounding your joints and in your muscles than increasing flexibility. Flexible muscles will be a result of stronger muscles, but making your muscles stronger first will help to reduce injury.
- Emotional stability. Another benefit is the emotional stability it can provide. Yoga, in Sanskrit, means "to yoke," or to bring together. Yoga focuses on the balance between mind and body. The physical practice of yoga requires concentration and focus, and when your mental attention is focused on your physical movement, it helps to take your mind of stresses and worried thoughts. This repeated process of training our minds to be in tune with our bodies benefits our emotional stability.
- Stress management. Yoga employs breathing techniques and mindfulness of breath that can be taken off the mat to help manage everyday stress. One of the benefits of yoga is this ability to take what is learned on the mat and apply it to daily life outside of your yoga practice. In yoga, we're taught to synchronize breath with movement, and to also be conscious of the way breath feels, sounds, and tastes. Remembering to return to your breath and be aware of it helps to manage stress, simply by reminding us to pause sometimes.
- Sexual health. Sexual health is also improved in a number of ways. Physical strength and flexibility as well as attention to breath and movement can certainly be applied to our sex lives as well as general health. Studies have shown that women can experience deeper orgasms when employing the breathing techniques taught in yoga. Both partners can benefit from increased strength and flexibility.
- Spiritual fulfillment. When we move beyond the physical practice and incorporate meditative and karmic practices into our lives as well, we open our minds to enlightenment and the greater consciousness. Ancient yoga teachers have long taught that connection of an individual's self with the greater consciousness of other living creatures is the ultimate enlightenment. Tapping into this enlightenment, even if only for short amounts of time, benefits the body and the soul.