The Mind-Body Health Benefits of Yoga on International Yoga Day | UHSM

Today is International Yoga Day!

Whether you practice yoga for fitness, stress relief, or mindfulness, we are all connected by the universal principles of compassion, community, and self-awareness.

Yoga combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote health and well-being. In recent years, yoga has become increasingly popular in Western countries, with millions of people practicing yoga regularly.

Yoga can significantly improve your physical and mental health. There are endless benefits to practicing yoga; check out these seven below:

1. Reduces stress.

One of the most well-known benefits of yoga is that it can help reduce stress. Practicing yoga can help calm the mind and body, lower cortisol levels, and promote relaxation. Postures, such as the child’s pose, downward-facing dog, and corpse pose, can help release tension in the body and promote a sense of calm.

2. Improves flexibility and balance.

Yoga involves various stretching and balancing postures that can help improve flexibility, balance, and range of motion. Many yoga postures, such as tree pose, warrior pose, and triangle pose, require you to balance on one foot while stretching your body, which can help improve balance and stability.

3. Strengthens muscles.

Many yoga postures require you to hold your body weight, which can help build muscle strength. Plank pose, chair pose, and bridge pose are recommended yoga postures to help strengthen your core, arms, legs, and back muscles. Yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility.

4. Relieves pain.

Yoga can help reduce chronic pain, including back pain, arthritis, and headaches. Yoga poses can help stretch and strengthen muscles, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation, all of which can help relieve pain. Yoga is a practice that connects the mind and body, allowing people with chronic pain to improve flexibility and helping them cope with their pain mentally.

5. Improves sleep.

Practicing yoga can help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. Yoga postures, such as legs up the wall pose, can help calm the mind and body and promote relaxation, which can help improve sleep quality. Yoga is a gentle and relaxing way to wind down your day. A national survey found that over 55% of people practicing yoga said it helped them sleep better.

6. Boosts immune system.

Yoga boosts the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells. Specific postures, such as camel pose, can help stimulate the thymus gland, which produces white blood cells and improve lymphatic flow, which helps remove toxins from the body. Yoga helps lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system while conditioning the lungs and respiratory tract and eliminating toxins from the body.

7. Enhancing focus and   concentration.

Yoga involves focusing on the breath and the present moment, which can help improve focus and concentration. While practicing yoga, your brain cells develop new connections, and changes occur in brain structure and function, resulting in improved cognitive skills, such as learning and memory. Yoga strengthens parts of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, awareness, thought, and language.

In conclusion, practicing yoga can benefit your mind and body. Whether you want to reduce stress, improve flexibility, or boost your immune system, yoga is a great way to promote health and well-being. With regular practice, you can build strength, increase flexibility, and cultivate a sense of inner peace and well-being. Celebrate International Yoga Day by trying some new postures and poses today!

Blog Contributed by UHSM Ambassador Brittney Moses

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