There are many physical benefits yoga of practicing yoga on a regular basis. These include improved flexibility, better core strength and increased strength.
But, there are plenty of ‘nonphysical’ advantages as well. These are less well documented, but still a big reason why so many enjoy practicing yoga.
The mental benefits of yoga can for some people outweigh the physical ones. Below is a list of the non-physical benefits you can expect once you begin a regular yoga routine.
1. Elevates mood and increases contentment
When practicing yoga you are encouraged to regulate your breathing. This is done using meditation and deep breathing techniques. The result is slower breathing which leaves you feeling much more relaxed.
But, there has also been research carried out that points to a stimulation of brain activity. This stimulation leads to a more positive mood. The study found an increase in Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) activity for those that practiced yoga regularly.
The study was conducted over 12 weeks. It compared a group that carried out a walking activity to a set of participants practicing yoga regularly. It found higher levels of GABA in the yoga group. Low levels of GABA have been associated with anxiety and depression.
2. Improves concentration and focus
Yoga has been proven to increase a person’s ability to focus and concentrate. Research has shown that people are far more able to focus and maintain their concentration after a yoga session.
Researchers compared a yoga group to one that had performed a regular workout at the gym. They found the gym group lacked focus when asked to perform tasks.
There were no definitive answers about why this may occur. Yet, researchers pointed to the fact that yoga increases your self-awareness. This in turn leads to a less anxious state where cognitive function can be improved.
3. Improves mind/body connection
Yoga has long been shown to improve the relationship between mind and body. This is due to the focus on the use of poses and particular breathing techniques.
Certain poses and breathing techniques have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and nervous system.
This is encourges a ‘conversation’ between the mental and physical parts of your body. Both can be improved by many types of movement and exercise. Yoga is excellent for this very purpose. It encourages movement to synchronize with breathing regulation.
Ultimately, yoga is about unity of mind and body, with them being two sides of the same coin.
4. Increases self-knowledge
Many psychotherapists and natural healers encourage self-awareness or self-knowledge. But it is not always that simple to achieve.
Yoga can bring about this awareness and the rewards are great. With it, life becomes a much richer experience as a result of a better outlook and general positive attitude.
Further, yoga practitioners have the ability to experience unique physical sensations. These are not usually felt within the confines of normal consciousness.
Feelings not encroached on by word or thought can be a revelation. These can lead to subtle but definitely noticeable changes in the mind and spirit.
By learning to ignore the chatter of the mind whilst strengthening the body, you are able to unlock the secrets of self-knowledge.
The above are the main mental benefits of yoga you can expect. And it is the tip of the iceberg to the all benefits of yoga. Yoga is just plain wonderful, get started today!