The Beginner's Guide to the Benefits of Yoga

Although yoga was developed thousands of years ago in India, it has just recently began to become more popular in the West during the 21st century. One of the major contributors to the recent rise in popularity of yoga are the widely reported health benefits of regularly participating in yoga exercise.

Many of the health benefits of yoga go beyond simply improving core strength, flexibility, and balance. Studies suggest that developing a yoga routine can improve a person’s mood and make us happier.

Improved Range of Motion
In every pose and stretch during a workout, your joints are exposed to a full range of motion. Challenging your joints by rotating and stretching them helps protect your cartilage and keep you feeling loose.

Better Balance
Practicing yoga improves our ability to understand how our body is moving and its location in space. Moreover, improved flexibility and range of motion mean even greater control over our bodies – giving us better balance on and off the yoga mat.

Strengthens Lungs & Breathing
Participating in complete breathing during a yoga workout has been used to improve the lung function of elderly patients suffering from congestive heart failure. By increasing the ability of our lungs to more efficiently process oxygen, we increase our overall capacity for exercise.

Sharpened Focus
Studies have demonstrated that people who enjoy a regular yoga routine exhibit improved coordination, reaction time, memory and IQ. Because of the emphasis on focusing on the present during a yoga session, practitioners are better able to control their thoughts and focus. Improved Mood Studies suggest that developing a yoga routine can improve depression and make people happier. While it may not be as simple as diving into the downward facing dog pose when you feel sad, scientists have determined that yoga can elevate serotonin levels and decrease neurotransmitter breakdown. Other studies reveal that yoga practitioners demonstrated elevated prefrontal cortex activity that has been correlated with increased happiness.