Yoga has many benefits; but when it is combined with exercising then it becomes really powerful. When I say yoga I am including meditation because meditation is the heart of yoga. Yoga is not yoga if we take away mediation. Remember yoga is the union between your soul and Atman, the spirit within you.
Yoga is taken by many as a replacement of exercising; but exercising is needed as much as yoga. I do exercising and yoga asanas four or five times a week and meditation practically every day. Well, if I am not feeling fine then I might avoid any of them or all of them. We have to adapt to different circumstances.
What are the benefits of doing yoga?
Raja Yoga, which is an integral yoga, has eight limbs:
- YAMA => Self-control.
- NIYAMA => Commitment to study and practice.
- ASANA => Postures (Mind and body unification)
- PRANAYAMA => Breathing techniques to boost your energy.
- PRATYAHARA => Mental relaxation.
-DHARANA => Concentration.
-DHYANA => Meditation or study.
- SAMADHY. => Ecstasy or Blissful trance or Super-conscious state.
For a better understanding of Raja Yoga check the proper link at the bottom
Let us talk about some benefits of yoga and meditation:
YOGA AND OXYGENATION (Breathing).
Yoga teaches us to breathe properly. Proper breathing or longer breathing brings more oxygen to the body and to all its organs. Yoga increases the levels of hemoglobin and red corpuscles bringing health to our body.
Yoga practices promote better oxygenation and this makes the oxygenated blood to move toward the body’s cells. Letting blood circulate properly brings health to all organs of the body, which is really good.
A HEALTHIER HEART AND BRAIN.
The oxygenation, which brings more prana, combined with better circulation help the heart and the brain to work better and to stay healthy. Yoga then helps to prevent heart attacks and brain hemorrhage. Here again, yoga helps to keep you younger.
YOGA AND MEDITATION REDUCE LEVELS OF CORTISOL (Stress).
One of the great benefits of doing yoga and meditation is lowering the level of cortisol (The hormone of stress). That might help to keep calcium on the bones.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Yoga and meditation help to reduce stress lowering the levels of cortisol. A high level of cortisol affects in a negative way the immune system, which is responsible of defending us against germs and viruses.
High levels of cortisol affect memory on the long run. So yoga and meditation help you to keep your memory longer.
Cortisol plays a vital role on the blood pressure. Lowering the levels of cortisol prevents high blood pressure.
YOGA AND MEDITATION REDUCE STRESS, FIGHT ANXIETY AND PREVENT DEPRESSION.
I have a whole article about this matter: How can I fight stress, anxiety and depression (Please check link at the bottom).
BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR YOUR BODY.
Flexibility of the body is important, especially when you are getting older. Flexibility includes more movement of the articulations, which makes your body to keep younger.
Yoga has some asanas that will make you stronger and keep the body younger. Stronger muscles help you to prevent arthritis and back pains. Moreover, many times old people fall because their muscles are not strong enough; but yoga prevents that, as I said before, keeping your body strong.
Yoga is great to keep healthy articulations, which are made from cartilage. The latter is like a sponge that let bones to move without friction. So, this is preventing arthritis.
BETTER SPINAL DISCS.
Another great benefit from flexibility is keeping the spinal disks in good shape. Several asanas make the spinal move beyond normal movements. This makes the discs to be in motion and this help to prevent slipped disc.
TEACH YOU TO SEAT DOWN PROPERLY.
Many modern jobs require you to be seat down for long periods of time. This is really bad for the body. The body needs motion; you should stand up and walk around or just move a beat sometimes while working. It is important to seat properly in order to avoid back pains, neck pains, etc. Yoga teaches you to seat down with your spinal straight; so yoga teaches you to seat down properly. When the spinal is not straight then tension is produce in different areas of the back and neck and pain is the outcome.
Elderly people loss balance easily and fall. This is a cause of fractures, especially hip fractures. Yoga teaches balance and then it prevents elderly people to fall to avoid fractures.
KEEPS YOU IN SHAPE!
Yoga helps you to be in shape because of the asanas, but there is another reason. Stress usually makes people to over eat and what is worst: Fat and sugar cravings; which are not good for your health and for the shape of your body. Harvard Medical School has an article where it states: << overeating isn't the only stress-related behavior that can add pounds. Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less, and drink more alcohol, all of which can contribute to excess weight. >> If you would like to read more about that, then please read this article: Why stress causes people to overeat.
YOGA, MEDITATION, AWARENESS AND QUALITY OF LIFE.
Yoga promotes a positive self-image, which is so important for self-esteem. People need to have both a positive self-image and a healthy self-esteem to live better and be more productive.
FOCUS AND AWARENESS.
People usually are distracted thinking of many things. Students and workers feel the need to focus more on what they are doing; but the problems and worries of life distract them from their goals. Yoga and meditation help to develop focus and awareness; both are great tools to find the right path in life and to do things better.
Yoga and meditation make emphasis on being calmed and feeling inner peace. Both are great to solve problems. A mind under worries cannot think properly, therefore calmness is important on difficult times. Calmness helps to think better and with more clarity.
HELP TO SLEEP BETTER.
Yoga and meditation fight insomnia, which is bad for your health. People who practice yoga and/or meditation regularly tend to sleep better and, therefore to have better health.
YOGA PROMOTES NON-VIOLENCE.
Intolerance, violence and chronic anger are link to heart attacks, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. Yoga promotes inner peace, which affects regular life. Yoga teaches to be calmed, to relax. It also teaches compassion and the idea that we all are one.
We all want good relationships, especially in love. Nevertheless, the key might be our own behavior. Yoga teaches you tolerance, compassion, equanimity, non-violence, calmness, kindness, etc. All those ideas encourage a nice behavior that helps to improve our relationships.
DEVELOP WILL POWER.
Yoga encourages patience and perseverance. Both help to develop will power. This is so great and useful. We cannot do anything without will; but we can do even amazing things with a strong will. Will power is really important in life!
PROMOTE A BETTER WORLD.
Yoga, in general, promotes a better world. It teaches to help others, to avoid selfishness, to practice non-violence, to be kind, to have a positive aptitude, etc. All these simple principles are powerful when practiced regularly. We all could build a better world with yoga and meditation. They both are beyond beliefs and everyone can practice them.
YOGA AND MEDITATION CHANGE YOUR LEVEL OF VIBRATION.
A higher level of vibration helps you to live better and healthier. Vibration also plays a role on bringing positive and negative things into your life. Please read the article: YOGA HEALTH: MIND, SOUL AND ENERGY! (Link at the bottom).
All those are general benefits of yoga. Please remember that yoga includes meditation. I use to write yoga and meditation just to emphasize; but yoga cannot be without meditation. Meditation is part of yoga and actually meditation is the heart of yoga.
The main objective of yoga is the union with Atman; but anyone can practice yoga just to have a better health. Yoga has, as you can see, many benefits for the health of your body and your mind; but it can go even farther to improve your soul as well.
We are not just mere bones and muscles; but a wonderful being with a great potential. Ancient sages knew that and they practiced yoga to release that potential.
I think we all can practice yoga for health and we can practice yoga to try to build a better world. I think we all can build a better world and yoga is there to help us to do so.
Please take advantage of yoga and enjoy your life in a smart way.