“Whatever you’re looking for, yoga is the answer,” says longtime yoga practitioner and teacher Deborah Douglas. “Everyone benefits from the practice of yoga, from children to the elderly. We all gain something from sitting in meditation or practicing the stretches.” You may be ready to stop reading here and start hunting up the nearest yoga class. But if you need a few more details before dropping to the yoga mat, here’s a list of very convincing benefits.
Stress Relief: The deep breathing and mindful stretching of yoga is an effective tension melter. Learning to meditate and focus the mind helps the body relax and release stress.
Hones Your Brain: “As the body becomes strong through practice, the mind becomes sharper,” explains Douglas. Learning the breath control techniques helps you breathe deeper, giving the brain more oxygen which helps to clear the thoughts and improve the memory.
Suddenly Your Body Works Better: Yoga keeps the body toned and flexible, strengthens the bones, and helps with balance and agility. “Yoga develops endurance and great vitality,” says Douglas. “The asanas and stretches exercise every muscle and gland in the body, and reduce fatigue and soothe the nerves.”
Flushes Out Toxins: All that bending and twisting was formulated in part to massage the internal organs and help them release toxins by wringing them out and infusing them with fresh blood.
Provides a Spiritual Practice: Some forms of yoga include meditations, chanting, and prayers. “Yoga is not a religion,” says Douglas. “It’s a daily practice that helps a person center themselves and discover the higher self that lies within.”
Happiness: The ancient practice of yoga strengthens the body, sharpens the mind, and uncovers the spirit. “Doing all this in harmony creates an awareness of your higher self,” explains Douglas. “In that awareness, you create emotions of joy, happiness, bliss, and compassion. To me, these are the greatest benefits.”