Yoga for Wellness – Ways that Yoga can Make YOU Feel Better
May 14, 2020
It is estimated that 55 million people will try yoga by the end of 2020, solidifying its place as one of the top 10 most popular fitness activities in the world. The reason for yoga’s immense popularity however, extends way beyond just its physical benefits. Yoga works on many levels!!
Of course like anything else, your individual results will vary, according to how much time, energy and belief you dedicate to the practices. But its pretty safe to say, that if you begin and stick with a consistent yoga practice, you will see positive results in your overall health and well being.
I am going to present to you how yoga can improve your heath and wellness in 4 areas of your life, in order to show you how using yoga for wellness can work for YOU! Those areas are:
- Physical Wellness
- Mental Wellness
- Emotional Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
This article is more of a broad overview of some of the amazing ways that yoga can enhance your life. Instead of breaking down and going into a ton of detail on each benefit, my aim is to simply introduce you to the positive effects of yoga all in one place.
If you are interested in learning more specifics on a certain topic, the research is out there, all you have to do is look for it. I will also be diving deeper into some of these topics in future posts, so stay tuned 🙂
Ways Yoga can Increase your Physical Wellness
Using yoga to increase your physical wellness is probably the most obvious way that yoga can enhance your life and is more often than not, the reason that people first get started with a yoga practice. A regular yoga practice can have a very positive effect on your physical health and wellness.
Some of the many physical benefits that people have experienced from yoga include:
- An increase in overall flexibility
- An increase in overall muscle strength and tone
- Helps to improve your posture and protect your spine
- Helps to improve your bone health
- Better respiration and the ability to breathe more fully
- An increase in energy and overall vitality
- Assists in the ability to maintain a balanced metabolism
- Assists in weight loss
- Improved cardio and circulatory health
- Helps with lymphatic drainage and boosts immunity
- An increase in athletic performance
- Assists in protection from future injury by supporting connective tissues
- Releases tension in the body
- Improved balance and coordination
- Increased body awareness
- Encourages healthy eating habits
The physical results that you experience will most likely vary according to the type of yoga you are practicing and the frequency and duration for which you engage in the physical activity.
There are many different styles of yoga, some being much more physically active than others. The more physically engaging the type of yoga you are doing is, the more likely you will be to see some of these physical results. Some of the more physically active styles of yoga include vinyasa, ashtanga and hot yoga.
Using Yoga to Benefit your Mental Wellness
Along with its obvious physical wellness benefits, yoga has many benefits for your mind as well. The physical practice can create an open and safe space for your mind to relax and let go.
Many of the mental benefits of yoga are contributed to the acts of breathing deeper and developing a meditation practice, which are essential parts of yoga. Some of the mental benefits you may experience form yoga are:
- Developing a consistent meditation practice
- Reduction in overall stress levels
- Improved breathing techniques
- Deeper and more satisfying sleep
- Increased mental clarity and calmness
- Increased ability to focus and center your attention
- Can help to relieve anxiety and teaches you healthy tools to manage your anxiety
- Soothes your nervous system
As you can see these are some pretty amazing mental wellness benefits!
While yes, many of these benefits will be achieved when you stick with a yoga asana or yoga posture practice, but they can also be experienced by trying different, less physically active forms of yoga. These include practices like meditation, pranayama (breath work), yin and restorative yoga.
How Yoga can Help with your Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness is an area that often times people don’t realize they need support in. There is a tendency to deny or stifle our emotions, for fear that expressing them makes us seem “weak” or “out of control”. These negating beliefs and actions are one of the main reasons that our emotions get out of whack and need healing.
Thankfully, yoga can help you to deal with and express your emotions in healthy and productive ways. Some ways in which yoga can assist with your emotional wellness include:
- Increases your ability to control your emotions
- Helps you to become more non-reactive to triggering situations
- Teaches you to use breath as a tool to cope with your emotions
- Improves the overall quality of your life
- Increases your awareness, both internal and external
- Provides community and a sense of belonging
- Can improve symptoms of depression
- Can improve mood and help you to better deal with mood fluctuations
- Helps to increase self-esteem
- Helps to promote a more positive body image
- May improve your relationships
- Encourages you to take better care of yourself
Acknowledging your emotional body and realizing that it does not control you is the first step. You always have a choice on how you respond to people or situations. In fact, how you respond is the only thing you can control.
Yoga teaches us to be more responsive, rather than simply reacting to things. Using yoga to learn about yourself and gain awareness on how to manage your emotions is a powerful tool that will assist you in all areas of your life.
Yoga for Enhanced Spiritual Wellness
As you can see by now, the wellness benefits of yoga extend way beyond just developing a stronger and more flexible body. Along with the physical, mental and emotional rewards you can experience though a yoga practice, there is another area of life that is equally important to nurture. Developing a connection with something greater than yourself.
Yoga is not a religion, nor does it promote that you have to follow or believe in any particular ideology. Yoga simply asks that you shift and broaden your perspective to look beyond yourself and your physical form. To develop a deeper inquiry into your existence.
A few examples of how yoga can enhance you spiritually may be:
- Cultivating a deeper sense of meaning for your life
- Assists in your ability to see the bigger picture
- Creates union between body, mind and spirit
- Increases your inner strength
- Opens you up to a sense of guidance
- Cultivates inner awareness
- Helps you to let go of control and surrender to what is
- Quiets your mind to hear your inner guidance
- Develops your intuition and a deeper sense of trust for it
Ultimately, yoga aims to unite us with our truest and highest selves. The part of us that is not always apparent, but always there. The part of us all that requires a bit of faith to believe in. Call it what you want and believe in what you wish, but eventually it will become difficult to deny its existence.
Results Will Vary
Please understand that I am not a doctor, nor can I guarantee you any specific results. I am simply sharing some of the wellness benefits of yoga that many others, including myself, have experienced and reported.
A lot of what you experience will be uniquely personal to you, and will greatly depend on how much time you dedicate to learning the techniques of yoga. It will also depend on your consistency with the practice. If you try something once or twice, you may feel some small benefit from it, but the effects will be much more profound and lasting if you stick with the practices consistently and long term.
It’s important to remember that in yoga, just as in life, there is no magic wand or quick fix. These techniques take time to learn and their effectiveness will unfold over time, along with your understanding of the practices.
Be patient and allow yourself the time and space to absorb and integrate what you are learning. Many people worldwide have experienced tremendous wellness benefits from the practices of yoga, and I believe that you can too.
Believe in yourself, stay strong and yoga on.