When done consistently and under the guidance of a proper yoga instructor, yoga usually takes about 6-12 weeks to see results, although this varies from person to person.
Yoga must be practiced in its entirety for the best benefits. This means along with the postures and meditation, having a diet as prescribed by your yoga teacher is a must to obtain maximum benefit from yogic practices.
Today, in the United States, more than 36 million people practice yoga regularly. They practice the exercises that involve 12 basic postures, such as plow, fish, cobra, locust and bow poses. As the yoga training progresses, the postures get more complicated.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a 3,000-year-old tradition with origins in India and a form of alternative medicine. Contrary to what some believe, yoga is a holistic approach to health, not just a series of postures and exercises. Different components of yoga include:
- Yama (abstinences): Abstaining from beverages or food that cause intoxication
- Niyama (observances): Eating according to the body’s composition
- Asanas: Stretches or postures
- Pranayama: Breathing exercises
- Dharana: Exercises to build concentration and focus
- Dhyana: Meditation
Recent studies showed practicing yoga can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression better than traditional medication if practiced daily for over a month. Yoga has also been found to be an effective way to help overcome addictions.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
When done right, yoga has the following benefits:
- Helps with mindfulness (being present in the current moment)
- Promotes weight loss, which is gradual but sustained
- Provides an energy boost and increases muscle mass and bone strength
- Improves hormonal imbalances
- Improves joint flexibility
- Helps with psychosomatic diseases, such as asthma, hypertension, and skin allergies.
Always talk to your doctor before starting yoga. If you have the following conditions, certain yoga postures may not be suitable for you.
What does yoga do for your mind and body?
Long-term yoga practice will help you reap more benefits and improve your overall wellness. Since it only takes a few minutes each day, you can find a routine that works for you.
Yoga helps you stay healthy through the following interventions:
- Stress levels:
- Meditation, breathing, and poses help regulate heart rate.
- Lowering the heart rate calms your body and helps it respond to stress positively.
- Yoga helps prevent insomnia by relieving your body from the stress that keeps you awake at night.
- Managing stress improves overall health and lowers the risk of disease.
- Weight management:
- Yoga boosts your metabolic system, which promotes increased fat burning.
- Daily practice promotes hormonal balance, making it easier to maintain healthy body weight.
- Yoga influences your body’s cortisol levels, which help regulate blood glucose levels, suppress appetite, and prevent stress eating that leads to weight gain.
- Practicing yoga daily helps you feel refreshed and energized.
- Different poses allow for equal distribution of energy throughout the body.
- Regular practice strengthens your body and helps you go about your daily activities without feeling exhausted.
- Yoga helps you learn how to control your breathing, promoting relaxation and calm in both body and mind.
- Regular yoga practice improves cognitive functions, which help you concentrate better and retain more information. It sharpens your focus and helps you think more clearly.
- By reducing physical tension and mental stress, your memory and ability to organize your thoughts can improve.
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Woodyard C. Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga and Its Ability to Increase Quality of Life. Int J Yoga. 2011;4(2):49-54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
Robinson KM. Can Yoga Transform Your Body? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/yoga-transform-body#1