Learn How Yoga Can Enhance Your Body, Brain, And Life

Updated Sep 8
Let's take a look at how yoga can be utilized to help enhance your body, both physically and mentally, and what you can actually get out of a yoga practice.
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Yoga has been practiced for over 4000 years and though it has a very spiritual basis in the present day, it has been used by many simply as a mental and physical practice. With more and more people embracing the practice of yoga every year, it's clear that yoga does wonders to your body and brain.

People who are incorporating yoga into their health regimens know that it has a lot of impacts on physical and mental health. When it comes to the body, many people have better balance and flexibility, along with improved heart health and breathing capabilities. With the breathing and mindfulness techniques utilized in the practice, the mental benefits often have to do with decreased anxiety and depression and a better capability of handling stress.

Those are some of the main benefits, but there are plenty of other benefits when it comes to what yoga does to your body and brain. So we're going to take a look at those as well as a few tips that can help you optimize those benefits.

Yoga & the Body: Physical Benefits

When it comes to yoga and what it does to your body, there are plenty of physical benefits it can take advantage of when utilizing this practice in your wellness journey. Yoga utilizes a series of movements and poses that engage a multitude of different muscle groups and allows for improved muscle health. These two factors allow for there to be plenty of changes in your body when you begin incorporating yoga into your life.

Here are some of the biggest physical benefits you will be able to take advantage of:

Strength & Flexibility

The key to creating flexibility and strength in your body is the engagement of different muscle groups. Yoga focuses on poses and the movement between them, which allows for just that. Depending on the type of yoga, of course, will determine on how fast strength and flexibility is built, but all types of yoga will eventually leave you with improved strength and flexibility.

Balance & Posture

Each of the poses is held and requires a certain level of balance to execute these poses. By strengthening your core as well as focusing on the form, it will inevitably help improve your posture.

An improved posture will allow your energies to flow freely without any type of obstacles, which will help your spiritual health. But along with that, your bodies systems will also flow more freely as there won't be blockage either.

Reduced Pain

With more strength and supple muscles, you will find that there will be less chronic pain. Also, due to the breath work included in yoga, you will be able to manage pain better as well.

Better Heart Health

For some, it might seem strange that there's better heart health in such a low-impact type of exercise. But the truth is that due to the breath work included in yoga there will be more oxygen in the blood which will create a better flow through your systems. With a better flow and a more intentional look at the world, there will be less stress, which leads to better heart health.

Improved Lung Capabilities

One of the core skills utilized in yoga is breathwork. By focusing on your breath, there are a lot of different benefits, including increased lung capacity. With increased lung capacity comes better aerobic capabilities, which will mean that you can catapult into more intensive workouts easier.

Better Sleep

With the reduction of stress and the physical movements included in yoga, you'll find that your body is working at a higher level. This will allow you to have better sleep, which in turn will help increase your physical health as well as your mental and spiritual.

Yoga & the Brain: Mental Benefits

Understanding the physical benefits of what yoga does to your body is important, but understanding what yoga does to your brain is just as crucial. Just like with the physical and spiritual advantages comes a wealth of mental benefits.

Here are the biggest mental benefits you get from utilizing yoga:

Reduced Stress

Stress is often caused by focusing on the negative aspects of situations. Instead of looking at the positive and moving forward without dwelling, many people get honed in on negativity. Yoga teaches you to be in the present, symbols that allow you to remove yourself from situations and see them objectively. This allows you to be less reactive, and that in turn reduces the stress.

Self-Soothing

When someone is upset, it's very common for them to look for outside sources to help soothe them. A comforting assist from a friend or a friendly word from a family member can be something that helps you be able to handle difficult situations.

But with yoga, you're taught techniques that help your cell suits, like meditation and mindfulness. This allows you to keep a better grip and handle difficult situations even when there's someone close at hand.

Better Energy

More energy means less chance for anxiety and depression to grab you. With more energy, you'll feel more accomplished because you'll be able to get your goals done, and that will help continue the positivity loop that you need to ensure that your mental health is on point.

Assists with Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety and depression are something that many people deal with daily. Oftentimes this is because they're looking to the past or the future instead of being in the present. Instead of looking at what they can control, they look at everything that's outside of their control, and this exacerbates their anxiety and depression. By using the mindfulness techniques accompanied by a yoga practice one learns to stay in the present and this, in turn, reduces those anxiety and depression symptoms.

Tips for Optimizing Your Yoga Practice

There are a lot of different ways that yoga affects your body and brain. But just like with anything, it's always best if you can optimize those benefits. So that you can ensure that your health when it comes to both your physical and mental is getting the most from the time you spend on the mat.

So here are a few tips that we have that can help you optimize your yoga practice:

Limits

There are a plethora of different options when it comes to yoga practices. So maybe the best way to optimize is to choose one that your body can handle. On top of that, when you do choose the style, you want to make sure that you aren't overdoing things and keeping a good balance of activity. Don't push past your limits!

Smile

Oftentimes when you're doing something challenging, the first thing that you lose is that beautiful smile. Instead of letting that smile leave your face, try to readjust yourself so that you cannot be overtaxing yourself, and you can keep that smile. The truth is as a smile can do wonders to not only your mood but also your mental health.

Breathe

Most of us surprisingly don't really breathe properly. When you're doing yoga, you want to make sure you're taking long breaths so that you can relax into your poses and get all of the benefits they give.

Attitude

You want to respect the practice itself. In essence, yoga is intended to center yourself and allow you to become one with your inner world as well as your outer world. You want to be aware of this and honor those aspects to get the full advantages of the practice.

Diet

Though it is not necessary, you might also want to take a look at the food that you're putting into your body. Food has a big impact on physical, mental, and spiritual health. Being mindful of the food that you ingest will help you become more in balance with the world around you, as well as your body and its feelings.

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of answers to the question of what does yoga do to your body and brain. Not only does it allow for improved flexibility and strength when it comes to physical health, but also mental health as well. In the end, adding in yoga to your everyday wellness journey can lead to a much happier and healthier life.

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