Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, and its hardcore adepts never get tired of outlining the miraculous powers of practicing. Some of the supposed benefits may not appeal to everyone – for instance, try to attract a beginner with something like “it makes energy flow smoothly along your spine” or “you won’t believe how much the flow of prana improves”, and watch them politely nod and then quickly run away.
But don’t get skeptical just yet and give it a shot, even if you are not quite on the “spiritual” side. Besides, these days there are hundreds of yoga styles, from completely relaxed and meditative to power yoga for stubborn gym junkies. The best thing is, all the styles have something exciting in common – and not only a couple of poses! Due to amazing benefits of yoga, everyone can gain similar benefits from a class of any style, picked in line with personal preferences.
Today, we would like to talk about 3 surprising benefits of yoga, which will surely inspire you to try it if you haven’t already!
Yoga for better sleep. If it takes you forever to fall asleep, and you’ve been a crazy insomniac for a while – we have excellent news for you. According to a recent review funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, practicing yoga is one of the best available alternative medicine strategies to battle insomnia, compared to other common drug-free approaches. Some yoga postures, or asanas, were found particularly helpful to overcome the annoying issue – for instance, lying on your back with your feet up the wall or practicing uttanasana (a forward fold). No magic, just physiology! These poses improve circulation and have a relaxing effect on your mind, distracting the brain from racing thoughts.
Yoga for cartilage and joints health. Every time you perform a yoga sequence, you are helping your joints to experience their full range of motion, which is not something you can easily achieve by sitting at the desk from 9 to 5 or lifting weights at the gym. By activating the cartilage areas that are not used frequently, if ever, you may prevent the development of degenerative arthritis later in life or gently soothe the existing condition (if you have any pre-existing issues, make sure to discuss your program with your physician first and do appropriate exercise modifications). It’s very important to “squeeze” cartilage from time to time so it can soak in a new portion of nutrients, and yoga serves the purpose perfectly.
Yoga for immune system. You’ve probably heard of some asanas that “boost immunity”, and being honest, we won’t judge you if you think it sounds a bit weird. Looks like the ancient yoga practitioners were right, however – this kind of activity contracts and stretches muscles in some very clever ways, promoting the drainage of lymph (that’s a body fluid rich in immune cells). This activates the immune system, helping fight infections and eliminate bacterial toxins.
Hope we surprised and motivated you with these unusual benefits of yoga! So keep calm and get your mat ready, and remember: it’s never too late to try something new.