What are the health benefits of yoga?

young girl practicing yoga

Yoga is a sport that is widely practiced, among other things because of its positive effects on health. Yoga seeks a balance between body and mind. The health benefits at a glance.

When people think of yoga, they often think that they have to be very flexible to participate. The opposite is true, you don’t have to be very flexible. Performing the exercises well will automatically make you more flexible. You are never too old to improve your flexibility.

Many of the yoga postures stretch your muscles, eliminating lactic acid. Lactic acid is formed during exercise and causes stiffness and muscle pain.

When the lactic acid is removed again, the muscle pain and stiffness are reduced. Yoga also improves the movement space in the joints. If you practice yoga regularly, the joints become more flexible.

Power & Strength

Yoga also provides stronger muscles. The standing postures strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps, among other things, these are both thigh muscles.

The abdominal muscles are also strengthened with standing postures. The spine is strengthened in the sitting postures. Reclining postures are good for the abdominal and back muscles. When the exercises are performed correctly, they almost all give strength to the deeper abdominal muscles.

Attitude & Posture

When your flexibility and strength increase, you naturally also improve your posture. Abdominal and back muscles are important for your posture, by strengthening these muscles you stand and sit better. By practicing yoga you are more aware of your posture , so you can adjust it yourself.

Boosts Endurance

Yoga postures are accompanied by breathing exercises. Through these breathing exercises the lung capacity improves, so that sport performance and endurance improve. Most forms of yoga use deep, long breathing, so your heart continues to pump quietly and your body can relax.

Relief From Stress & Depression

Many people who practice yoga say they are calmer and less tense after a yoga session. In some forms of yoga, practitioners try to ‘clear’ the thoughts through meditation in order to relax. Other forms of yoga provide peace of mind by keeping your brain healthy and relaxed.

There are indications that biochemical reactions occur in the body that cause less stress . Stress hormones are produced less, creating a feeling of peace and tranquility.

It is also thought that the hormone oxytocin is stimulated by yoga. Oxytocin is also called ‘the cuddle hormone’ and is associated with peace and the sense of belonging to others.

Increase Concentration & Mood

It is hard to prove if it is, but many yoga practitioners say they can concentrate better and be in a better mood after a yoga class.

Research is also being done into whether yoga may have positive effects on depression, an advantage that may be caused by the oxygen boost the brain receives from yoga.

Boosts Immunity

Yoga can have benefits for people with various disorders or complaints. People with heart problems and high blood pressure benefit from yoga because it lowers blood pressure. Yoga can also relieve asthma, back pain and arthritis symptoms.

What All You Need To Perform Yoga At Home

Yoga is possible anytime and anywhere. Of course it is very nice to follow a lesson in a yoga school, but in the summer lessons are regularly given on the beach or in the park. At home is also a great place, or in the garden. What do you need to practice (home) yoga?

Yoga is very simple: if you can breathe, you can practice yoga. In addition, you also need very little for it. In principle you are enough. There are, however, a number of things that can make practicing yoga easier.

Yoga mat

The choice of yoga mats is huge and what you choose depends strongly on the yoga form that you practice. With more dynamic forms, grip, stability and comfort are more important. This also applies if you sweat quickly. If you mainly lie a lot during yoga, it is better to have a thicker yoga mat, but they are less stable.

If you practice different forms, then it is best to go for an all-round yoga mat. Issues such as sustainability, color and material can also influence your choice. The cheap mats – for a few euros – that are for sale, generally have little grip and do not last long.

Clothing

You can of course buy an official yoga outfit, but this is certainly not necessary. At home it is also great in your pajamas, for example. It is especially important that you wear loose, easy (sports) clothing. Make sure that you have socks and a cardigan at hand, during the final relaxation prevent you from cooling off.

Special yoga socks can ensure that you have more grip on, for example, wooden floors. They are an outcome on a trip (you don’t have to bring a yoga mat) and can help you find balance in yoga or pilates exercises.

Meditation cushion

A (meditation) cushion is a must for comfortable sitting postures during meditation. With the help of a meditation cushion you create a small cavity in your lower back, which puts both your back and neck in the right position. There are so many different meditation cushions available. Most pillows are round and filled with buckwheat husk or buckwheat husks. Choose a cushion that fits you well, so that you can sit comfortably for a longer period of time.

Yoga towel

A yoga towel has the same dimensions as a yoga mat and is therefore also designed to be used in combination with a mat. Especially if you train in a yoga studio and do not use your own yoga mat, a yoga towel is a pleasant and hygienic addition. In addition, a yoga towel provides extra grip in sweat and shifts less than a ‘normal’ towel or bath towel. Extra nice with warm or intensive forms of yoga. When traveling, you can also use a yoga towel as a replacement for the mat.

Eye cushion

For extra relaxation after an intensive yoga class – or just at home on the couch – eye cushions are perfect. The pillow helps you to shut yourself off from external stimuli and to get in touch with yourself.

Start with yoga

Find a lesson in your area and see if you like it. Yoga is also on the roster at more and more fitness clubs. If you start the intensive yoga classes, make sure that you are healthy.

Build it up gradually and don’t immediately expect too much from yourself. Even people who are reasonably fit may find it difficult to fully perform all positions in the first few times.