Aside from the obvious benefits of practicing yoga, i.e. improving your flexibility, strength and cardiovascular health, there have also been a slew of studies that document the mental benefits that can help aid in weight loss and decrease your overall response to stress. I have outlined a few :
7 benefits of yoga that you might not know about
- Studies have proven that immediately after practicing yoga participants will score higher on cognitive tests. This is likely because breathing deeply activates the prefrontal cortex in the brain.
- Yoga requires intense focus, often times in class your instructor will tell you to focus on a still spot in the room in order to help you maintain your balance or posture. Practicing this type of control carries over into other aspects of your life, studies have proven yoga students have more overall control of their feelings such as fear, anger or stress.
- Combing your breathing, focus and movement activates the parasympathetic nervous system, this is where our body decides whether or not to rest or digest. Digestion actually takes up a great deal of energy, and if this system isn’t working properly it can interfere with our bodies ability to cleanse.
- The vagus nerve is a neural system in the body it is partly responsible for regulating your mood, and alerting your immune system. After practicing yoga more immunity enhancing cells are released into your system making it easier to fight off infections.
- When we breathe from our belly we fully expand our lungs allowing for more oxygen to be received by the body.
- Regular yoga practice has proven to lower your resting heart rate.
- After yoga class cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are low, since cortisol makes many people crave fatty foods it’s often easier to avoid snacking on trigger foods right after your yoga practice.