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General Yoga Benefits for Total Health and Wellness

Updated on May 21, 2012

"Every body is a yoga body."

People who wish to live a healthier lifestyle often turn to yoga since the practice offers a holistic process of clearing the mind and body from toxic influences that are often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Yoga is an effective way to detox, especially hot yoga, which is yoga done in a heated room. Whether you are doing yoga in hot temperatures or not, you can expect to derive numerous and varied benefits from this practice which will make your body stronger and your mind clearer.


General Health Benefits of Yoga

The practice of yoga provides a host of benefits, which can be categorized into physiological, psychological and biochemical benefits. Since rhythmic breathing is an integral part of the practice, it naturally leads to a lowered heart rate, lowered respiratory rate, decreased blood pressure, and improved action of the smooth muscles. Regular practice of deep breathing helps increase the tidal volume of the lungs, which over time improves lung capacity.

The practice of various poses helps improve flexibility, increasing the body’s range of motion allowing you to assume various poses with ease. Regular practice of yoga increases grip strength, improves dexterity, and improves hand-eye coordination. People report seeing an improvement in how well they can maintain their balance even when doing the most difficult poses. Reaction time increases, steadiness improves, and the overall coordination of body parts is enhanced. Stronger core and back muscles also gives the impression of added height. People also naturally assume a straighter posture, since the trunk and spine are strengthened.

Psychological benefits also abound. Those who practice yoga experienced improvements in sleeping patterns even after the first session. Their tolerance for pain also increased and immunity to certain diseases was enhanced. Another well-know psychological benefit of yoga is an improvement in mood. You become more in tune with your surroundings and some people even displayed a decrease in anxiety, depression, or hostility.


Hot Yoga Benefits

Hot yoga is yoga done in a heated room. Popular yoga centers like Bikram yoga and Corepower yoga offer yoga classes in heated rooms to help increase detoxification and flexibility. The heat keeps the muscles warm and flexible, allowing students to practice poses with ease and reducing the risk of injury. The increased sweating in a shorter time is known as one of the main advantages of this kind of yoga over regular yoga, although the overall yoga benefits are the same.


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Yoga Vs. Traditional Exercise

There are some yoga benefits which make it a better option for some people compared to regular exercise. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, while the sympathetic nervous system dominates in exercise. Yoga utilizes short, smooth and dynamic movements, which has a lesser chance of injury compared to the rapid and often forceful movements needed in exercise. The practice of yoga also leads to a more relaxed and calmer state, a complete opposite to the increased muscle tension which results from strenuous physical activity.

For people who want to become healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually, yoga is perhaps one of the best practices to try. The countless physical, mental, and spiritual benefits one can derive from assuming yoga poses are reasons enough to get off from the couch and get on the mat. The fluid movements, rhythmic breathing, and the low impact nature of these exercises also make yoga a more suitable type of physical activity for a larger segment of people. Even if you have not exercised for a long time, you can start with beginner’s poses and slowly progress to more complicated poses as you progress in your practice and as your body changes.

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    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      I'm sorry Eileen, I have not heard of Calanetics, but I think yoga complements any physical activity you do! Cheers, Mo.

    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 

      6 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      I used to do Calanetics do you think Yoga would be better?

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks Angela!

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks Thelma! Once a week is still beneficial, and combined with thai massage? Awesome!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great hub!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for this very informative hub. I only do yoga when I´m doing the traditional thai massage with my clients. That is at least once a week. Voted up. Thanks for sharing.

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      It's tough when you are dealing with that 'all hardcore, all the time' mentality. This thinking tends to be tied to self worth (y'know, if you didn't sweat blood, bla blah) so a person ends up feeling less significant when they don't really hit it. But as you know, muscle building without flexibility=injury+lack of mobility. Then there's the joint issue. I believe that by incorporating joint mobility and full body stretching, whether its yoga, pilates, static or whatever, you increase your body's longevity. My personal goal is to be fully able: Strong, flexible, able to run, jump, etc., etc. for as long as possible. Jack Lalane towed tugboats into his 70's baby! That's what I'm talking about!

    • jaybird22 profile image

      jaybird22 

      6 years ago from New York

      Yoga is great for the body and I think you pretty much touched on all the vast benefits it provides people with.

      I try to get some of my bodybuilding type clients to do yoga. Because of the stress they impose on their body on a weekly basis, they are shortening their muscle belly's -over time, with exercises that shorten the muscle belly's and focus on the contraction phase of the movement.

      I explain to them that they will have a much better overall physic and range of motion if they incorporate this into their routine. Some listen but a lot are too stubborn and have the old school, meat-head mentality.

      Great hub!

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      thesingernurse, that's true. But I suppose it also depends on the severity of their condition. Then again, yoga can be modified to accommodate a wide range of physical ability, and may be a good addition to a physical therapy program under the guidance of a professional. Thanks for stopping by and you definitely should try it! it does help control moods :-)

    • thesingernurse profile image

      Tina Siuagan 

      6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Too bad yoga cannot be really advised to those patients with severe physical debilitation and injury. However, yoga is one of the most effective physical activity one can ever engage in to. I'm actually thinking of trying it one of these days. Those people who do it are actually more relaxed and calm. And I want to be like them. :)

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Thanks ronaldoh, and go for it! You will never regret it IMHO.

      Cheers,

      Mo

    • ronaldoh profile image

      ronaldoh 

      6 years ago from England

      Nice hub, this is something I want to try, and this is informative and encouraging.

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      That is a good point Danette, it does seem to bring a sense of peace and control to the mind. Thanks for the comment, cheers!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I used to do yoga 3/week several years ago then my life and schedule went through some changes. Now I don't do it but occasionally but there is a definite difference when it's practiced regularly. My flexibility, balance and sense of peace have all declined. Getting back to a regular practice is something I've been working on doing but since I'm a more 'high energy' kind of person, it's hard to slow down, even though I know the benefits are so great.

      Voted up

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