Yoga is sometimes referred to as a true “fountain of youth” due to its numerous anti-aging benefits. There are many reasons to practice yoga in addition to enjoying a younger looking appearance on the inside and out.
If you’re already an avid practitioner you’ve probably noticed the positive difference in your life; it affects the body, mind, and spirit. If you haven’t tried it yet, consider these 13 reasons for doing just that.
As our body’s age, flexibility naturally decreases, which often leads to pain and immobility. Yoga can help mitigate this process. Some beginning students find they are unable to even touch their toes at the start, but after practicing regularly, a gradual loosening of the body begins and even the most impossible poses will become possible. Those aches and pains may also start to disappear.
Many poses require the practitioner to support the weight of their body in new ways, like balancing on one leg or supporting the body with the arms. These poses help to build strength which can decrease the chances of developing conditions like back pain or even arthritis.
Better balance can be essential as we get older in order to prevent falling, this is one of the most important benefits of yoga. The leading causes of hip and wrist fractures in the elderly are caused by falls; improved balance helps to decrease this risk.
People with arthritis often see significant improvements in mobility as well as reduction in pain with regular yoga practice. This is because every time you practice yoga, the joints are taken through their full range of motion which helps to prevent degenerative arthritis and alleviate disability by using areas of cartilage that aren’t normally utilized.
Yoga also has a positive effect on our mood and overall attitude. It helps to increase mindfulness and our ability to live in the present which results in an improved outlook on life. Regular yoga practice has been shown to improve depression and leads to an increase in serotonin levels, the “happy hormone.”
As some people age, a hunched back can develop, which increases episodes of back pain. Yoga can help reverse this effect by elongating, strengthening and stretching the spine. A healthy, strong back allows a person to remain physically active throughout their life.
The Lymphatic System
Stretching and contracting muscles moves the organs around and increases the drainage of lymph, which is a viscous fluid containing white blood cells. White blood cells are the critical component of the bodies system to battle infection, including the eradication of cancerous cells and elimination of toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
The way we breathe can affect our overall health and well-being, but it isn’t something many of us even think about. Most people take shallow breaths – yoga helps us focus the attention on the breath, teaching us to take deeper breaths which can benefit the entire body. Better breathing offers numerous physical and mental benefits.
The calming effect derived from practicing yoga helps to lower blood pressure. Studies have found as much as a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure after three months of consistent practice.
Yoga can also help support the heart as well as the entire cardiovascular system. Participating in yoga that gets the heart rate into the aerobic range such as power yoga or Ashtanga, can help improve cardio conditioning and increase endurance.
The Digestive System
Yoga can help to ease constipation and even lower the risk of colon cancer. Moving the body through yoga poses helps to facilitate a more rapid transport of food and waste products through the bowels. Because yoga can also reduce stress levels, it can help to decrease symptoms of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and even ulcers.
Practicing yoga provides an increased awareness of the body as the small, subtle movements serve to improve alignment. Over time, it can improve the comfort you feel in your body, leading to better posture and more self-confidence.
Regular yoga practice can induce better sleep. Getting enough quality rest each night has numerous mental and physical benefits including the ability to focus better the next day and take on more challenging tasks, reduce weight gain and boost your mood.
Have you started practicing yoga? Many communities offer yoga classes through a variety of channels and you might even find a free introductory lesson. Your body will thank you for it!
-The Alternative Daily