The Benefits of Yoga


As I began college, I had left behind the long volleyball practices that I had in high school behind. I started to think that I needed to find something that would help me reduce the stress from school and keep me active and healthy. When you are in college, you can quickly get involved in many activities that are not necessarily good for your health. Sometimes you want to go out with friends until late hours of the night; so you start neglecting sleep. Also, when you start college, it can be hard to keep a healthy diet since it becomes easier to eat outside and cooking at home takes more time than you would like to spend. On top of that, your classes can bring a lot of stress making you feel more tired and exhausted.

My Mom had recommended that I try a yoga studio that was close to my campus and told me to give it a shot. I always thought that yoga was this trendy practice that only alternative people talk about. I couldn't truly understand what all that hype was about. I felt like if I ever did try yoga, I would fall asleep as soon as the first "om" was sung.

Regardless of my self-doubt, I had heard a lot of the benefits of yoga, how it could decrease stress, chronic pain and many other issues such as obesity, diabetes and even heart disease. 

I went to my first yoga class, and surprisingly I found people from all ranges of age. Next to me, was Garret and Maria. I asked them if this was their first time in this class and they both nodded. I had made it clear that this was my first time trying yoga.

Garret was 65 years old and told me how he started doing yoga after the death of his wife, Rose. He told me how yoga had become a part of his life in ways that he never thought it would and how he wished he had started earlier.

The class began, and we started chanting Om......I felt a little self-conscious about doing it, but I decided to give it a try. I felt that chanting is such a lovely way of uniting the energy of the group altogether. We spent the whole hour focusing on physical stretching, movement and detoxing from our busy modern lives by concentrating on our breathing.

After the class was over, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I had never felt before. I rushed home to tell my Mom all about it. I wanted to share with everyone how good yoga felt and how easy it is to get involved.

Like everything in life that I get involved with I always try to research and examine its origin to understand it and approach it better. So that's what I did with yoga. I used to think that yoga was just a set of difficult poses but as I tried it more and more, I learned it was more like an ancient method of training and discovering yourself.

The actual word yoga means union and that is precisely what I discovered as I was doing it. Yoga is the kind of practice that will allow you to connect your body, mind, and spirit through all of the different poses, that controlled breathing and your meditation. 

I can begin to try and outline the history of yoga or at least one that is brief. But I feel that a practice that is so rich in spiritual, physical and religious purposes would only take me years or maybe even a lifetime to fully understand. This is why I believe that yoga is one of the most exciting, moving and never-ending journeys we can experience here on Earth.

If we try to analyze the beginnings of how yoga started, we might find ourselves somewhat lost. Many historians are still to this day not sure of how the practice of yoga first appeared and its frequently left to debate.

Nevertheless, we do find that the term "yoga" is found in ancient India and their early known scripts - the Vedas. The Vedas are the oldest writings of the Sanskrit and Hinduism literature. In some of these early known scripts, it is found that yoga was used to describe a warrior dying and then, later on, transcending into heaven, simultaneously being carried by a chariot to reach the gods and some other higher powers of being. By the 5th century, yoga became more of a loose notion, something that was rather difficult to pin down. It became more of a notion of religious and meditation practice rather than it was exercise as we usually know today.

These ancient versions of yoga were mostly spiritual practices, mainly focused on core values and rested among Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. One of the first value involved being able to examine one's own cognitive and perception state by understanding what was the root of the suffering and using meditation in order to solve it — the second one intended to "transcend" the bodies pain or suffering in order to reach a higher level of just being. The second one intended to uplift and broaden the consciousness and the third aimed to use yoga as a way to transcendence.

Now that there is more understanding of how yoga originated let's discuss its several benefits. Yoga is a practice that has infinite benefits that can positively influence you both mentally and physically. We will consider both internal and external benefits that can affect the body over some time and also immediate results that you will experience as you begin practicing yoga.

The Internal Health Benefits of Yoga.

Enhanced Circulation & Lowered Blood Pressure:

One of the very first things that yoga does to your body is that it regulates and improves the circulation of blood. Yoga enables better transportation of oxygen and nutrients into your body. As the improvement of blood flow occurs, you will notice a glowing of the skin and healthier organs.

Better Cardiovascular Endurance & Increased Immunity:

Yoga starts to improve the oxygenation of the body, therefore, lowering the body's heart rates. This allows the body to develop higher cardiovascular endurance. With better endurance, you will also experience how yoga works towards healing every cell of the body thus making you stronger and more immune.

Increased Metabolism & Sleep:

If you are trying to achieve an ideal weight yoga does a perfectly good job at keeping your metabolism in check. On the other hand, it can also encourage you to relax and work on unnecessary tensions making you get a better sleep every night. Yoga has the exceptional ability to make you feel rejuvenated and energized after a session.

The External Health Benefits of Yoga

Improves Posture:

If you want to look confident and healthy yoga teaches you to control your body with regular practice. Eventually, you will automatically seize the right posture. 

Increases Strength:

As a method of strength training in yoga you can use the weight of just your own body to increase strength over time.

Keeps Premature Aging at Bay:

Although aging is inevitable, it is essential that your age accordingly and not before time. Because dealing with day to day stress can you wear you down physically, yoga helps you to detox, therefore eliminating all of those toxins and the unwanted free radicals. Since stress is one of the significant factors of aging, yoga can alleviate and lessen the impacts of stress as well.

Toning of the Muscles Plus a Non-competitive Workout:

If you practice yoga regularly, you will start to notice increased muscle development over time. Also, because yoga holds that introspection and self-building is the base of its practice you will always find yourself in a no judgmental environment. When competition is out of the window, you tend to work, and you start to concentrate on every single moment better. This practice allows you to go on your own pace making you avoid any injuries or stress.

Furthermore, yoga can also contribute to your life in an emotional way. There have been many doctors that recommend yoga because yoga can prevent many diseases and disorders such as asthma, cancer, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, migraines, back pains, and menopause. As important as it is to prevent these diseases it is also exceedingly necessary to maintain a healthy emotional state. If you decide to try and become more involved in yoga remember how beneficial it can be for you and the people around you.

Yoga can uplift your mood. When you practice it, your body is being refreshed by new energy that can uplift your mood and refresh your mind. Yoga will reduce your stress and your anxiety. When you lay down on your mat, you focus on your practice and improvement leaving all current worries away. All your attention is turned to you, and you become aware of your feelings and needs slowly draining out the stress and troubles.

Yoga can also help you to work on fighting depression. The practice of yoga allows you to connect different parts of your body such as mind and soul; this permits some of your repressed feelings to surface. Even though you might feel sad at the moment, you are actively releasing of all of the negative energy.

Whether you decided to hop on a yoga journey because of the benefits it brings to your life, or because you want to continue exercising, remember that one of the advantages of yoga is that you can do it wherever you want! Don't be scared to join a local studio, or practice by yourself under a nice tree in your closest neighborhood park. One of the perks of practising yoga is that you can join large social groups do it by yourself anywhere or anytime you wish.