I’ve seen, experienced, and read about benefits ranging from, “I can do the splits and put my legs behind my head!” to “it helped me cope with a death/divorce/trauma”. Below you’ll find a short list focused on the physical benefits you can expect to see*:
1. Healthy Joints. Yoga helps circulate the synovial fluid in your joints – this fluid lies in a capsule that surrounds synovial joints. This system (capsule and fluid components) helps to cushion the ends of the bones, allowing them to glide over each other, lessening the friction.
2. Decrease in blood pressure. The movements decrease blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation.
3. Increased flexibility
4. Increased strength and endurance (muscular and cardiovascular). Yoga uses the weight of your own body to build overall strength. Core strength is especially important for good posture and balance. Having a strong core and knowing how to use it will help prevent other injuries both on and off your yoga mat.
5. Body Awareness. Practicing yoga sharpens your awareness of your physical body. In practice students begin to consciously make subtle adjustments in order to achieve proper alignment in a pose.
6. Mind-Body Connection. Regular practice reinforces the mind body connection. Many yoga practitioners are so in tune with their body that they are aware at first sign if something isn’t functioning properly. This allows for quicker response to head off disease and other ailments.
For more information on the benefits (especially the emotional or psychological benefits) I suggest checking out Yoga Journal’s website. They have some great articles on this topic.
*Note: These benefits assume a regular practice. Depending on the consistency, level, and style of your practice, as well as your current health, your experience may differ. Namaste 🙂