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  • Kim MacKay

12 Benefits of Yoga

1. Prevents and Relieves Stress Yoga helps you unwind after a full day, but you may not know that it is quite beneficial to practice before you step out into the busy bustling world. Practicing yoga in the morning or before a big meeting will decrease the chances that you will stress out in the first place. One study examined the effects a yoga practice on reducing stress by presenting a group of yoga-practicing subjects and a non-practicing group with the same exam. The results revealed that the yoga group did not have a significant increase in stress, based on their heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, while the non-yoga practicing group did. 2. Improves Your Immunity Practicing yoga on a regular basis can help you build up a stronger immune system. In one study it was found that postoperative breast cancer patients that practiced yoga did not experience significant immune system depression that is common after surgery and had better odds of a successful recovery from their surgeries. 3. Can Improve Your Relationships Yoga teaches patience and compassion, which can have positive effects on all of your relationships.. When your mind and spirit are at peace, you can respond more positively towards those around you. With a Yoga practice you gain the confidence you need to be comfortable with expressing your own thoughts and needs. This is the result of the meditative and contemplative time that you are provided with during a yoga session.

4. Ability to Stay in Movement Although one hour of yoga may seem to involve less physical exertion than an hour running, the truth is that yoga actually improves your endurance more than most cardiovascular exercises. This is because yoga requires you to hold some positions for a very long time. Along with the Yogic practice of Pranayama ( yogic breathing) you will build a stronger lung capacity. 5. Helps You Make Better Food Choices Yoga helps lower the levels of cortisol and increases the levels of serotonin in your body, which means that you are less likely to binge eat and more likely to feel happy. As you practice yoga, you will notice that you become more in tune with what your body needs and you will be able to easily avoid those pesky cravings. 6. Increase Your Strength If you think that yoga is easy you've obviously never tried it. As mentioned above, yoga usually requires you to hold postures for a long periods of time, which ups your endurance and, on the way, your overall strength. Yoga also works on most every aspect of the body, giving you a more complete workout than targeted muscle work-outs at the gym.

7. Removes Toxins from Your Body Yoga stimulates the lymphatic system in the body, which helps flush the toxins out of your body. With all the breathing you do in yoga, you may even noticed this happening! Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you practice yoga to ensure that the maximum amount of toxins are pushed out of your body. Yoga will leave your body feeling lean and clean. 8. Manage Pain For those with lower back pain, yoga is a natural and excellent way to relieve some of your discomfort. Because yoga not only focuses on increasing strength and flexibility that will prevent the weakness of muscles in the future, yoga also helps calm the mind making it harder for the pain to envelop your thoughts. Yoga has also been proven to help a number of other problems, such as knee and joint pain.

9. Protect Bone Density Yoga will give you stronger bones. The strength-baring poses in yoga have the same effect as running or lifting weights, and doing yoga could reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life for all individuals. 10. Improve Your Heart Health Because yoga decreases levels of stress, anxiety and depression, your blood pressure and BMI are also more likely to be healthy. Yoga is also a great cardiovascular workout that strengthens most of the muscles in your body at the same time. 11. Help Asthma For those with asthma, yoga is a great exercise option. The deep-breathing exercises that are incorporated into most yoga practice increase the stamina of the lungs and raise awareness of how one should be breathing. Those that suffer from asthma can realize when they are about to have an attack and calm their breathing before the attack is able to escalate.

12. Aids Your Digestion When you choose to practice yoga on a regular basis you can experience better digestion as a result. The twists involved in many of the yoga postures get your organs in motion and your digestion back on track. Do a few twists when you wake in the morning to get your systems going, and you are set to start the day feeling lighter and less weighed down.