Are you looking for a reason to try yoga? Here are 5 reasons to get on the mat.
- Increased Flexibility.
This is one of the first and most obvious benefits of practicing yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind anything else. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, easing and eventually, all those seemingly impossible poses will gradually become possible. You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence.
- Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown.
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.
- Betters your bone health
It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward and Upward-Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
- Drains your lymph and boosts immunity
When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
- Lowers blood sugar
Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Get your blood sugar levels down, and you decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.
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