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The Many Benefits of Yoga

By Debra Rodzinak

Most physicians will tell you that stretching is a wonderful form of exercise.  Yoga not only provides patients with a path of wellness though the use of stretching, but a daily practice of yoga can also benefit the minds of those who practice.

Hatha yoga is the most common form of yoga practiced.  Using a series of particular poses and breathing techniques, the ultimate goal of yoga is to provide a number of physical and mental benefits to those who practice this ancient art.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

There are many benefits of yoga exercises:

  • Building up strength from holding yoga poses is a benefit.  Particular muscles or muscle groups can be strengthened with a particular yoga position and various movements.
  • Stretching and relaxation reduces the tension that builds up in muscles.  The abdominal muscles are essential to helping the body maintain proper posture and movements.  Back pain can be avoided with strong back muscles.
  • Training the body to be flexible with proper posture, balance, and correct body alignment are beneficial to a healthy body.
  • Obtaining an overall awareness of the body through yoga comes with diligent practice.  Training the mind to understand the limits of the body with an increased awareness of the body’s capabilities, allows injury to be avoided.

Mental Benefits of Yoga

By practicing yoga, the mind becomes prepared for meditation which can reduce overall stress and enhance mood.  All mental benefits of yoga are important in the overall healing of the body.  Back pain sufferers are greatly affected mentally from their constant struggle with freedom from pain.  The old adage “attitude is everything” applies; understand the mental benefits of yoga.

  • Perception has been found to be a great indicator of the level of pain suffered by those with back pain.  If a patient is in a negative frame of mind when experiencing back pain, the pain may tend to feel worse.  Reducing the perception of pain through mediation during yoga can decrease the overall level of back pain.
  • There are some who believe that the psychological and emotional state of mind is the primary influence in feeling pain and can ultimately change the body.  For many different reasons, high stress and negative emotions might actually cause those who have no pain to feel pain. 

With the mental and physical benefits of yoga, it is no wonder why so many are touting its positive effects on the muscles and the mind.

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