Over the last few decades, there has been an increase in the popularity of yoga. Not only research has proved the health benefits of yoga, but also medical professionals and celebrities are adopting and recommending yoga for health. While some consider yoga as just another trend and associate it with new age mysticism, others vow for how amazing this form of exercise feels. But they do not realize the many health benefits of yoga and how it helps people even emotionally.
Before talking about the health benefits of yoga, let us have a look at how the World Yoga Day came into being.
World Yoga Day 2017
Celebrating yoga day all over the world as World Yoga Day or International Day of Yoga on 21st of June every year was declared by the United Nations General Assembly on 11th of December in 2014. The declaration was done after the call by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the United Nations General Assembly on 27th of September in 2014 during his address to the UN General Assembly.
He called the United Nations General Assembly for adopting 21st of June as an International Yoga Day to get all the benefits of yoga for the people all around the world. He suggested 21st of June for adopting the World Yoga Day as this day is the longest day in Northern Hemisphere regions as well as of great significance for people in many parts of the world.
What did Narendra Modi say?
Narendra Modi said during his address to the UN General Assembly that “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
World Yoga Day was finally declared on 11th of December in 2014. It was first ever in the history that the initiative of any country has been proposed and implemented in the UN body within 90 days. This resolution has been adopted under the Global Health and Foreign Policy by the General Assembly in order to provide a holistic approach to the people worldwide for their health and well-being.Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being. Click To Tweet
What Is Yoga?
Before we get into the health benefits of yoga, it is important to understand what yoga really is.
Yoga originated in ancient India, and aims to bring together one’s physical and spiritual self. The word ‘yoga’ actually means union. It is a practice that connects the body, mind, and spirit through different body postures, meditation, and controlled breathing.
The renowned Yogi, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev calls yoga “an expression of life.” He says, “Yoga essentially means finding the keys to the nature of the existence.”
Yoga is not just about bending or twisting the body and holding the breath. It is a mechanism to bring you into a state where you see and experience reality just the way it is.
The founder of Yoga, Patanjali said, “Sthiram sukham asanam.” It means that a posture that seems firm and comfortable is your asana. Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being. It promotes harmony among people, and between ourselves and the natural world.
The perfect unison can be achieved through Hatha Yoga and its various branches (Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Yin Yoga, Kundalini Yoga), depending on what you like and the problems you are looking to deal with through yoga.
Learn about Famous Indian Yogis
10 Internal Health Benefits of Yoga
Whether it is maintaining your blood pressure or raising your pain tolerance, yoga has many internal health benefits. These are some positive changes you will feel after practicing yoga for a few days:
2. Practicing yoga regularly, leads to enhanced blood circulation in the body. Hence there is a reduction in blood pressure as the body calms down.
3. Yoga reduces the sprain in the body, thereby easing it down. When the body relaxes, the pulse rate is lowered. A low pulse rate indicates that your heart is strong enough to pump more blood.
4. Yoga improves oxygenation in the body and also lowers the heart rate. This results in higher cardiovascular endurance.
5. Studies indicate that with regular practice of yoga, the digestive system is activated, and indigestion, gas, and other stomach related diseases are eliminated. In other words, the gastrointestinal functions improve in both men and women.
6. Yoga and immunity go hand in hand. As yoga works towards healing and enhancing every cell in the body, your body automatically gains more immunity.
7. Yoga not only works towards reducing chronic pain, but it also increases the level of pain tolerance.
8. To keep your weight in control, a balanced metabolism is very essential. Yoga keeps the metabolism in check.
9. Yoga increases your self-confidence and offers complete relaxation and more control. This gives your sexuality a much-needed boost.
10. Yoga relaxes your mind and hence facilitates better sleep.
External Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga also works on the external body, making it possible for us to see the benefits. You will be surprised by these health benefits of yoga.
1. Everyone has to age, but it is important you age gracefully, and not before time. Yoga helps you detox, thereby eliminating toxins and free radicals. This keeps premature aging at bay. Yoga also relieves stress.
2. Yoga teaches you to control your body. With regular practice, your body will automatically assume the right posture. You will look both confident and healthy.
3. Yoga helps you use the weight of your own body to increase your strength. This is an astounding method of strength training.
4. With an increased or regulated metabolism, and a workout that helps you build lean muscle, yoga can work wonderfully to reduce, increase or maintain your ideal weight.
5. Yoga also aims at increasing balance and focus as it allows you to gain control over your body.
Related: 7 Yoga Poses to reduce Belly Fat
Emotional Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga creates a strong connection between the mind and the body, and this enhances your emotional health.
- Uplifts Your Mood
- Reduces Stress
- Helps you overcome anxiety.
- Fights Depression
- Allows Self-Acceptance
- Builds Self-Control
- Brings About a Positive Outlook to Life
- Better Concentration
- Improved Memory
- Better Social skills
- Harmony and Calmness
Other Health Benefits of Yoga
Some other health benefits of yoga includes:
- Yoga helps lower the cholesterol levels in the blood owing to the increased circulation and burning of fat.
- Yoga includes movements that strengthen the lymphatic system. This boosts immunity and also helps to flush out toxins from your body.
- Yoga keeps a check on your glucose levels, hence reducing the risk of diabetes.
- Yoga helps lessen the level of sodium in the body and keeps you healthy.
- When you practice yoga, your endocrine system is enhanced. The hormones are controlled, and this helps promote better emotional and physical health.
- Yoga helps increase the number of red blood cells in the body.
Yoga transforms your life in many unimaginable ways. It is absolutely worth trying.
Also Read: 6 yoga poses for a healthy heart
5 Tips for Beginners
Yoga can be intimidating to beginners.So with International Yoga Day just around the corner on Wednesday, here is some advice for those just starting out.
Tatjana Luker has been teaching yoga for four years at her Bedford studio Yoga Harmony Perth, and she offered plenty of tips.
Find a friend to go with
“Yoga is a communal practice,” Ms Luker said. “People can try it once or twice and they feel a little bit defeated by the physical challenges.” She believed people are more likely to stick with something that is challenging with motivation from a friend.
“A lot of people feel they can’t do it,” she said. “If you really want to start doing yoga, and feel the benefit from it, you can’t feel defeated. “Yoga really requires stillness, concentration and being present.”
Find a routine – and stick to it
Repetition is important. “Even just once a week, you’re going to see great benefits,” Ms Luker said. “But because the body, the brain forgets – it’s better to do it twice a week, three times a week is even better.Traditionally there are commands to yoga six days a week, and on the other day you rest. That’s for the really dedicated ones.”
Find a school
“Find a teacher who can help to face yourself and to face those challenges,” Ms Luker said. “When you find that, that’s when the magic happens. That’s where the real transformation happens.”
Just do it
“It makes your relationships better, it makes your body better,” Ms Luker said. “Everything becomes better – you become a better worker, you start thinking more clearly. That’s the real benefit – when your body starts to function better and get clean, pure and full of good energy.”