The benefits of Yoga are all-encompassing. In fact, we are so interconnectedly woven internally, we cannot affect one aspect of ourselves without it directly influencing the others. As we engage our body and breath in particular ways, this directly impacts the mind. As we engage our mind in a particular way, this directly impacts the body and nervous system. As the mind and body circulate these feedback loops, consciousness evolves and self-awareness expands. Let’s look at some of Yoga’s many benefits in greater detail:
Physical Benefits Of Yoga
The practice of Yoga has stood the test of time, over many thousands of years, because of its powerful and sustainable benefits. Yoga releases stress and dis-ease in the body, promoting relaxation, circulation, detoxification, and core+muscle activation. Multiple studies have shown that when we practice yoga, cortisol secretion decreases. This is considered the primary hormone associated with the stress response. Our heart is obviously vital. It is working non-stop to pump blood throughout the body and supply our tissues with essential nutrients. High blood pressure is a modern-day pandemic and a major catalyst for heart attacks and strokes.
Scientific Studies (and direct experience) show that Yoga improves our heart health, naturally lowers blood pressure, and reduces our risk for heart disease. Inflammation also plays a vital role in our health. Chronic inflammation leads to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Yoga organically reduces inflammation (without all the pills), soothes the nervous system, and invites the body into deep healing. Many of us struggle with chronic pain in the body, headaches, and migraines. When we practice Yoga consistently and in the correct manner, these ailments tend to alleviate themselves, lessening in severity and sometimes disappearing altogether. In general, Yoga stimulates the release of that which is no longer sustainable. It awakens our intelligence within to heal ourselves, restore order, maintain balance, and ground peacefully in our own Being. We will need these qualities to navigate life’s challenges with peace and happiness.
Spiritual & Psychological Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word, yog. This later evolved into the word yoke, which was an apparatus used to unite oxen. Yoga simply means to unite! When we practice Yoga, we are uniting our consciousness (spiritual), with our mind (psychological), and our body (physical). From a more expansive spiritual vantage point, we are uniting our individual (ego) consciousness with our universal consciousness. We are transcending our self to connect with our Self. Think of it like a wave merging with the Ocean. Yogic practices are ones that cultivate Unity, orderliness, balance, release, and expansion. Given the fast-paced and demanding nature of modern society, Yoga is stretching into the mainstream as an adjunct therapy for mental health and wellness, personal development, and overall quality of life. Studies and direct experience demonstrate Yoga’s ability to soften depression, dissipate anxiety, and heal trauma. As the body engages in healing movement and divine stillness, the mind begins to reflect that chemically and behaviorally. It is not possible for our body and breath to enter into a new state, and for our mind to not follow. As we stretch and breathe mindfully in Yoga, the mind settles into the expansive safety, the causeless Joy, of this present moment. As we stretch physically, we also stretch our consciousness, expand our sense of self. The wave is coming into contact with its Oceanhood.