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5 Proven Benefits of Yoga that Would Surprise You!

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Last month we wrote about Self-Care, this month let’s explore one of the most important self-care activities you can do for YOUrself…..........Y O G A

Yoga isn’t what we may remember from the 1970’s when the Beatles (yes I’m aging myself) made psychedelic splash in the very small yoga world. Today, you can find yoga in nearly every town across our state and medical professionals are one step short of writing a prescription for it. Who hasn’t heard their doctor ask them if they do yoga? Science has even gotten involved, yoga is evidence & science based.

If you’ve been in one of Joyful’s yoga classes you have probably heard the term “flesh & bones”. There is more to that than just a few words.

Prevent Osteoporosis, Strengthen Your Bones

Yoga is not just about quieting the mind, (we will get there) but yoga has a brilliant strengthening aspect to the practice. You may have been in a class where we hit a posture, say Warrior II, and hold it while we breathe…..and breathe…..and breathe…..

While your thighs might be quivering, you are building muscle and strengthening your femur, your thigh bone.

Yoga involves many weight-bearing poses, in which tension is applied to muscle and bone. This type of exercise is great for strengthening bones and improving bone density over time. Yoga Journal has a great science based article about bone health and yoga.

Migraine Relief

Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Not saying all migraines are caused by stress, but it might be likely.

When the stress migraine sets in find a few minutes to roll out your yoga mat and ease into your comfortable seated position. Just taking a few minutes away from your stressors can help begin to ease the pounding. According to the American Migraine Foundation, yoga is another possible treatment strategy for ease of the suffering.

Here is a list of some of the recommended postures for stress migraines:

  1. Child's Pose.

  2. Forward Fold

  3. Supine Twist.

  4. Legs Up the Wall.

  5. Supine Chest and Shoulder Stretch.

Sore Muscle Relief:

If you’ve been one of the many people who now find themselves working from home, I’m guessing you’ve discovered a few new sore muscles after a long day. Sitting in a chair for an extended period of time while zooming with colleagues is a top cause for an aching back. Working from home doesn’t need to be the cause, it can be the hour commute or running around after a toddler.

Contrary to popular belief, when your muscles are sore that is exactly the right time to practice yoga! Women’s Health Magazine has a great article on why yoga is a perfect idea. A gentle stretch class is best to ease your aching muscles! A gentle class can ease your mind and help work out the kinks and soreness! Joyful Yoga features multiple gentle classes throughout the week, try our specific Sacred Stretch & Restorative class on Thursday evenings at 6:30pm.

Depression & Anxiety - Improved Mental Health

Yoga practices use a slow deepened belly breathing technique that helps to lower cortisol, a stress hormone.

When you use that deeper form of breathing you provide your brain with more oxygen and in turn you begin to feel calmer and more peaceful. Reducing our stress hormones goes further than just a reduction of hormones, that reduction has long term effects on the body and our wellbeing. Anytime you can reduce your fight, flight or freeze response you bring the body back into a balanced state.

The aspirin manufacturer Excedrin agrees, try yoga for a stress relief!

Yoga Breathing

Do you breathe out of your nose (nasal) or mouth? There are health benefits to nasal breathing verses mouth breathing. Books have been written, scientific studies done and anyone who truly nose breathes knows how it feels to change the amount of oxygen taken into the body. Athletes nasal breathe for that very reason, increased oxygen, 20% in fact.

When we nasal breathe we keep the oxygen in our bodies longer, resulting in the higher oxygen intake. Nasal breathing also warms the air nearly 40% before it reaches the lungs. Thinking about the cold weather we have in New England that may be an important item to keep in mind.

An article by the Breathing and Sleep Center noted that in 1931 a scientist named Otto Warburg won a Nobel Prize for work demonstrating that only oxygen starved cells in the body mutated into cancerous cells. That is one very important reason to nasal breathe!

Conclusion: Medical Professionals now agree and support the practice of yoga for your health and wellbeing, and science supports it!

There are over 15 scientifically based benefits of yoga. Western culture may have us thinking that yoga is only for exercise and the physical aspects of yoga, but calming the mind and bringing a peacefulness into our lives, even for an hour a week can go a long way in bringing balance back into our lives.

Joyful Yoga’s classes are perfect for a busy lifestyle. We begin and end our classes on time, respecting your time. We offer classes during the mornings, evenings and weekends. Joyful Yoga is offering you an opportunity to try yoga and experience that calm we keep mentioning! New clients can try the studio and all our classes for 30 days for $49!

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