The practice of yoga has profound physical benefits for every part of your body. Unlike any other sport, yoga not only has a positive impact on the muscles and bones, but also the internal organs and body systems that function on auto-pilot. There are many great books that explain in detail what takes place within the body when yoga is practiced; therefore, this is simply a brief synopsis of the key benefits that emerge with a regular practice. Remember, the more you practice, the more deeper the benefits. It is also good to know that the benefits that occur are cumulative in their effect on your body.
Key Benefits to Observe:
*Increases flexibility and strength of muscles simply by using your own weight against gravity. Lack of flexibility only increases until addressed. By not lengthening your muscles to make them more flexible, a multitude of consequences will emerge over time, including, but not limited to, back pain, compressed spine, and inability to inhale completely due to a concave back and lungs that have become accustomed to not being expanded.
*Strengthens your bones. By using weight bearing poses, you increase the density of your bones. Increased density within the bones helps to prevent osteoporosis. (Osteoporosis is decreased density of bone) This increased bone density makes you less susceptible to fracture as you age.
*The lungs are exercised by the focus on the breath. As your lungs expand wider from the deeper inhalations, you increase your intake of oxygen that is circulated throughout your body. With the complete exhalations, you then release the toxins in your body that the blood collects along the journey of circulation. The blood brings the toxins back to the lungs to exhale out of the body.
*Assists the lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is what fights infection in your body. The lymphatic system does not have an system of cleaning itself; movement is what gets the lymph dispersed. Yoga poses that move the muscles and organs in certain ways assist the lymphatic vessels "sqeeze out" toxic wastes. This helps keep the lymphatic system working at optimal level which keeps you less prone to illness.
*Your spine is strengthened. The spine is the core extension of your nervous system. By doing certain bends, you keep the fluids in the spine flowing so that the disks remain pliable instead of becoming brittle. (Remember osteoporosis?) A healthy spine keeps it possible for the nervous system to properly communicate with the organs and countless parts of the body it is connected to in order to properly function.
*The digestive systems is greatly assisted with yoga poses. Various poses help assist the digestive tract to move waste through the body faster. The process of eliminating toxins removed from the food quicker also keeps your body in a healthier state. Certain inversions help move fluids around within the body so that they can be eliminated instead of stagnating within the organs.
*Various glands within your body are exercised in your practice. For example, the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, is massaged when your chin is brought to the chest. The thyroid gland controls your metabolism, hormone levels and energy levels. The parathyroid gland that is connected to the thyroid gland is what determines the production of calcium. These glands, and many others are "exercised" so that they can get the movement they need to function at their optimal level.
*One of the most beneficial physical benefits of yoga for many is the lowering of the release of one of the the stress hormones, cortisol. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline serve a purpose in case of emergency. Unfortunately, a lot of people stay in a constant state of stress which overloads the body. This overload becomes toxic and failure to reduce it can weaken the immune system. Stress can shorten your life. The practice of yoga can get the chemicals that your body produces back in balance. This change of getting your body out of the "fight or flight" syndrome to a relaxed state will result in lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, better sleep and much more!
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