The Not-So-Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga

Are you searching for a workout to strengthen your body, mind, and soul? Look no further! Yoga is a great exercise that can positively affect your body and mind. There are many benefits to the practice and it is easy to get started and create a routine.

For thousands of years, yogis have combined physical and spiritual exercises to focus their bodies’ energy. Yoga provides a multitude of benefits to its practitioners including improved physical and mental health, increased energy levels, and heightened balance of both the body and mind.

Daily practitioners of yoga first notice the physical effect on their bodies. Yoga can strengthen muscles while simultaneously stretching and lengthening the body. This can contribute to weight loss, better posture, and flexibility. Those who practice yoga may also notice as well as improved digestion and increased metabolism. The breathing techniques, which are sometimes the most difficult aspect of yoga for a beginner to master, can improve cardiovascular health.

The twists, gentle bends, and inversions encourage fluid to move through the spinal column, improving spinal health. The calming breaths of a Pranayama practice can help reduce inflammation in the body, relieving stiffness and joint pain and increasing the natural immunity to illness. Yoga has also been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.

Yoga Nidra: The Benefits of Sleep Yoga

Yoga nidra is a fantastic way to help the body’s cells repair and regenerate. Yoga nidra is one of the simplest forms of yoga to practice. Unlike traditional yoga, those who practice yoga nidra do so as a deep relaxation technique. Some people may even fall asleep while practicing yoga nidra and that is perfectly acceptable!

During yoga nidra, some people experience what is like a complete loss of consciousness, but stay awake. This out-of-body experience is not even achievable in regular sleep. Not all yogis will experience this state out of the gate, but continued practice will allow for a deeper relaxation in each yoga nidra session.

The benefits of yoga nidra are like those in regular yoga practices. Yoga nidra helps to decrease depression and anxiety. It has also been proven to help women with irregular menstrual cycles and psychological issues. There have also been some women who have used yoga nidra to successfully manage pain after operations.


Yoga nidra is the yoga of aware sleep. In this lies the secret of self healing. Yoga Nidra is a pratyahara technique in which the distractions of the mind are contained and the mind is relaxed.

— Satyananda Saraswati

Yoga: The Mental Benefits

Yoga also has positive effects on mental health. Taking time out to practice allows yogis to connect with themselves, to affirm their worth, and to bask in positive, healing energy. The deep, slow breathing releases the body’s tensions and decreases anxiety.

Yoga movements help to release mood-elevating hormones. Asanas, also known as poses, help to stimulate the brain by challenging our perceptions and balance. A daily yoga practice can help people feel grounded. It can help to feel connected to the earth and to the body in a very primal way. This awareness and connection allows people to move through the rest of their day with more clarity and a deeper sense of purpose. The inherent beauty of yoga and the softness and grace of the movements can change the body’s energy. It can also deepen the sense of community and compassion for others.

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Yoga has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.

How to Begin Practicing Yoga

Finding time and space to exercise is the largest stumbling block for most people. Perhaps the best thing about yoga is that it can quite literally be practiced anywhere. If there is space for your body, there’s enough space to practice – even in a chair or in bed. It is not even necessary to have a long, invigorating workout every day. You might choose to practice for 45 minutes one day and only ten minutes the next day. Some days, you may even just spend a few minutes in child’s pose or sitting cross-legged in an easy pose breathing deeply. The duration and intensity of the exercise do not matter nearly as much as the intention and the dedication.

Consider beginning a daily practice. It can be as simple as starting your day off by saluting the rising sun. Throughout the day, try to fit yoga into your schedule when possible. As previously mentioned, there isn’t a lot of room needed to practice yoga. You can easily practice in your office or in your home.

Try taking a time-out to regroup after work or end your day with a restorative, relaxing practice. Don’t forget about the super relaxing practice of yoga nidra. Reap the benefits by practicing yoga nidra prior to bedtime.

There are many ways to practice yoga. You can attend a local class or download a yoga app. There are many free, guided courses on YouTube ready to be played at any time. The possibilities for yoga are endless – and so are the benefits!

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