Yoga Benefits For Women
Yoga undoubtedly has so many benefits – for both your body and mind. Today, I’m going to walk you through some potential benefits you can look forward to when you incorporate a regular yoga practice into your weekly routine.
Improve your mood
‘Yoga protects the brain from depression’ – reported by the Daily Telegraph.
And yes, there is actual science behind this! The flow that comes with a yoga practice massively increases your blood circulation, which in turn can improve your mood. Additionally, when we move our body, we promote the production of endorphins (also known as happy chemicals) in our brain, resulting in increased mood and a boost of energy.
Yoga can also help you to feel more grounded. Our world at the moment is full of fast-paced tasks and distractions. It can feel really difficult to find a moment for yourself within your day, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and over-worked.
The great thing about yoga (I actually love to practice yoga in the morning because of this) is that once you save that hour session for yourself, that’s it. You will hopefully feel more grounded, and be able to bring your mind back to those moments of calm throughout the business of your day. It’s so important that we do find the time for ourselves in the day, and going to a yoga class gives you the space to do so.
Get a better night’s sleep
It has been reported that 55% of people who did yoga found it helped them get to sleep. If you are someone who struggles to get to sleep, you may want to consider adding literally just a 3-5 minute yoga sequence to your bed-time routine. Ideally, you want to be feeling relaxed as you drift off to sleep. There are a few ways some yoga techniques before bed-time can help you do so:
- Buddha belly breath – Next time you are really struggling to sleep, try taking some ‘Buddha belly breaths’. To do this, you take a deep breath in through your nose, making sure your belly expands on your inhale, and contracts on your exhale. You can try inhaling for 5 seconds, exhaling for 5 seconds. This will physiologically change your state, instantly making you feel more grounded, and relaxed.
- Mini meditation – You can go this whilst you are in bed trying to sleep. Here, you want to focus on noticing the chattering going on in your mind. Our minds are constantly trying to tell us things, however when we’re trying to switch off and shut down for the day, this isn’t all that helpful. Try to simply observe your thoughts, don’t judge them, don’t label them, simply let them be. This in itself can give you distance from your racing thoughts, which you’ll find will actually help you feel more relaxed and accepting of what is currently going on.
What can also be really helpful is doing a mini yoga sequence before bedtime! On the internet you’ll find a plethora of relaxing before bed-time yoga sequences, why not give it a go?
Reduce anxiety and stress
It’s no secret that yoga helps ease symptoms of both anxiety and stress. I’m sure that’s what drew a lot of us to yoga in the first place! That’s definitely what it was for me, find out more on that here.
Anyway, there have actually been various scientific studies showing the value in practicing yoga in the treatment of clinical anxiety. If someone has clinical anxiety, this may mean their anxiety has got so high it is impacting on their daily functioning, therefore requiring treatment.
One study found that a 12-week yoga intervention was associated with greater improvements in anxiety and mood compared with a matched control. In fact, there is actually ‘yoga therapy’ – which essentially bridges the gap between anxiety and healthcare, and really emphasizes the all important mind-body connection.
Imagine going to your GP and being prescribed some yoga sessions!
Improve your posture
Unfortunately, with the modern world and our ever-busy lives, improving our posture isn’t always on our mind. One thing you can start doing is being aware – how often throughout the day are you either slouched over a desk, slouched in your car, or slouched just walking around? Taking note of this is the first step!
To then improve our posture, with yoga, there are some simple poses to help us do so. I can do a separate post on this if anyone is interested! But what is the point of this? Well, when you have bad posture, essentially you are not in physical alignment with your body. What this means is that your muscles will be under strain, because your body is having to keep muscles in place that aren’t meant to be in that position!
One actionable step to put this right instantly, is to take a few moments during the day to re-align yourself, by simply making sure you’re stood up straight – shoulders back, chest out and head up.
Better than weight training?
Practicing yoga has actually been compared to weight training! Yes, you’re not actually lifting weights however you are lifting your own body weight and holding quite challenging positions for a period of time. So, it’s no surprise that you may be achy after a yoga class!
Additionally, you are less likely to strain your body and injure yourself when practicing yoga in comparison to weight training. By increasing your flexibility, you are essentially building your body’s resilience and skill, strengthening a whole plethora of different muscles, in various positions and directions.
And because you are lifting your own body weight, it may actually take more skill and determination to practice yoga, rather than simply going to the gym and lifting weights. The result? Increased muscle ton, physique, and overall strength.
Although all of these benefits are great in themselves, I think they key is that they all really intertwine – once you start feeling less stressed, you’ll sleep better. Once you improve your strength, you’ll improve your posture etc. So, begin your yoga practice today, and see just how many of these you begin to notice!
All the best