*This article is medically reviewed and verified by this higly qualified yoga teacher, Mary Irby! ( See more here )
If you are currently practicing yoga or about to start your journey, you have probably pondered the following:
Why I should practice yoga?
What are the benefits of yoga?
How can yoga change my life?
So, in this particular article,
I will outline the 13 top benefits of yoga that will change your life and motivate you to come to your mat each day. When I started my personal yoga practice, I saw huge benefits quickly, and I think you will, too!
Have a look at what are we going to discuss about (it is clickable):-
What are the benefits of yoga?
Check out our video on the ” Top 10 benefits of Yoga ” instead of reading ( if you want )
Well, my answer ( What are the benefits of yoga? ):-
Yoga not only helps with flexibility and improves our posture, but it actually benefits the entire body from head to toe.
For example, downward dog pose may prevent hair loss, Bhramari pranayama is thought to improve eyesight, plank pose will help strengthen your core and arms, and the list goes on and on.
There are so many benefits because yoga heals each and every part of our body.
The scientific research of yoga reveals the truth about the benefits of yoga. Of course, there is nothing like proving it to yourself by coming to your mat daily!
Did you know the following facts?
Yoga is the most complementary health approach!
These numbers continue to grow, according to IDEA Health & Fitness Association.
So, after reading these facts..
Are you excited to know the Benefits of Yoga?
If so, then, check this out.
1St Benefit Of Yoga: It Increases Flexibility
I mentioned this benefit at the top of my list because flexibility is the most common reason yogis claim to start a yoga practice.
Now it is the time to show you the 5 perfect poses to start your practice, so grab your mat!
2 ) Benefits Of Yoga: It maintains your blood pressure.
How does yoga helps maintain normal blood pressure?
Yoga can help you…
- By reducing stress levels because it is the major cause of hypertension
- By improving your blood circulation.
- By giving you a slim & fit body because obesity is also a major concern that promotes hypertension.
- By improving your sleep
Here’s a case study to support these findings:
In 2011, Evidence-based Complementary and alternative Medicine published a research paper according to which Iyengar Yoga improves blood pressure.
1. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
2. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
3. Dolphin Pose
3) The Benefits Of Yoga: Live a stress-free life.
Before going deep into the topic, let me tell you that stress kills your brain cells.
That’s why brain cells stop growing when you’re an adult and the only solution is a calm environment that can be achieved through yoga or meditation.
A bit easy right? But very effective!
Do not worry that you have to perform yoga for hours to reduce your anxiety or depression levels.
People who do a little bit of yoga each day find it very easy to handle things when life get crazy.
Yoga can benefit three of our aspects: mind, body, and breathing
Practicing it helps you build balance, focus, and calmness.
(Case study textual) According to Harvard Health School, when 3 types of people (12 experienced yoga practitioners, 14 People with Stress-related problems, 16 healthy volunteers) were subjected to more or less painful thumbnail pressure.
People suffering from stress perceived pain at lower pressure levels and had the greatest activity in areas of the brain associated with the pain response
Sukhasana (Easy Pose) , Vajrasana, Sasangasana
4. Yoga can strengthen our nervous system
We all know that our nervous system is the most crucial part of our body (if you don’t know than look at the diagram, how complex! ) .
Without NS, you cannot even feel if you got burnt!!
Nervous System: Basics
(SNS= Sympathetic nervous system, PNS = Parasympathetic nervous system)
We have two types of nervous systems: sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system, both are antagonistic meaning their functions are opposite to each other.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for fear, fight and flight (known as 3F) which is obviously common to function on a daily basis.
When this system is active, it releases adrenaline into the bloodstream, as a result, there will be high blood pressure, high metabolic activities & high breathing rates, etc.
All this happens to prepare you for the 3F condition
When this system is active, it reduces blood pressure, metabolic rates, breathing activities, etc. Your body will be at peace and you will feel comfortable.
So, now you see they are antagonistic (woring as opposites) to each other
Yoga reinforces the parasympathetic nervous system to bring peace and calmness into your life.
And do you know?
What happens when you are dealing with your stressful jobs and busy lives?
To reduce the level of cortisol you need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and for that, you need a strong central nervous system.
( Just Kidding! ) A strong nervous system, balances and regulates the level of cortisol.
You can have a strong nervous system with Yoga 🙂
And this also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and as a result, it lowers the high production of cortisol.
You can also reduce stress by hanging out with friends, listening to peaceful music, doing meditation, etc.
Now, what asanas or breathing exercises should you do to strengthen your nervous system?
Well, this breathing exercise reduces stress-
Anulom Vilom Pranayama helps in reducing the level of cortisol (Stress Hormone) and it also has a soothing effect on the sympathetic nervous system.
And here are the 3 Yoga Asanas which will assist you in getting a strong nervous system.
Ardha Matsyendrāsana, Halasana, Balasana
5) The benefits of Yoga: Reduces Blood Sugar Level
So, learn to live a stress-free life.
And you already know that yoga helps to live a stress-free life (discussed in the above points)
How exactly yoga helps in diabetes?
It helps in the following ways:-
a) Engaging the muscles in physical activity-
Just like the other physical exercises ( like aerobics), it promotes the glucose uptake by muscles, as a result, it lowers the blood sugar level and also reduces the risk of heart diseases like strokes or cardiac arrest.
b) Weight loss:-
You already know from the above chart that obesity is the major cause of diabetes.
But yoga can assist you to reduce weight and to regulate it, both factors are vital for reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
c) Yoga helps to restore the pancreatic cells-
6) Benefit of Yoga: Relieves Back Pain
For most of your life, you don’t pay attention to your spinal muscles.
But they also need your care and attention.
Most back pain is temporary, but when it happens, it disturbs the daily schedule of life.
Well, yoga can help us because it has a direct effect on both the abdominal muscle and the back muscles and these muscles support us in gaining the right posture and movement.
And yoga poses like Knee Tuck, Seated Twist, etc. Stretches your body which in turn helps you to reduce back pain.
7) The Benefits of Yoga: Increases your lung capacity
Do you know?
Not all your air cells of the lungs take an active part in the breathing process.
And this has a huge impact on health
For an energetic body, you definitely require strong lungs
And the good news – “
” According to a press release by the American College of Chest Physicians, they found that after performing yoga for 12 weeks, it cures shortness of breath, lung function, and inflammation,”
Well, now the question is–
Here are some points that show the impact of yoga:-
- It increases the activeness of air cells because it involves thoracic, abdominal & clavicular breathing.
- Standing yoga poses help to strengthen the muscles of the back to keep it straight. Thus, it increases the lung capacity to inhale more oxygen.
- Yoga postures (like trikonasana) & pranayama like kapalabhati) both are highly beneficial to the lungs as they increase the activity and elasticity of the lungs.
- Longer breaths could clean your nasal passage and it can help people with allergies.
- It can reduce stress levels, as a result, it pacifies our nervous system which positively affects the respiratory system.
- It can widen the pelvis by extending the pelvic ligaments.
According to the chestnet.org, ” An estimated 24 million Americans may have COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.
Patients with COPD have trouble exhaling air out of their lungs, making it difficult to inhale healthy new air. “
8) The benefits of Yoga: Get rid of Inflammation
Before going any deeper into this particular topic, let us see its particular definition given by WebMD:–
This definition is given because you need to know the basics to understand better.
And also, there are two types of inflammation and we prefer yoga, to cure the second one.
The answer is that Chronic inflammation is dangerous and can cause everlasting damage if left unnoticed or untreated.
How yoga slows down the harmful effect of chronic inflammation?
- First of all, yoga naturally relieves stress by reducing the cortisol levels (This stress is the major problem of our life, so get rid of it first!)
- According to some studies, it stimulates the production of “Adiponectin hormone” which is anti-inflammatory in function. As a result, it reduces Inflammation.
- And it also helps the body to detox, it aids in digestion, and it also promotes healthy lifestyle which as a result reduces Inflammation.
And if you want to know in detail about the health impacts of yoga on Chronic Inflammation, you can read this case study published by Harvard Medical School.
What yoga poses to do?
1. Child’s Pose
2. Triangle Pose
9) The benefits of Yoga: Builds up Self-Confidence & Inner Strength.
How yoga builds up self-confidence?
Well, what happens when someone starts to care about you?
You feel more confident to talk to them, to share your feeling with them, etc.
Just like that when we perform yoga, it sends a positive note to our mind & soul that we care about ourselves. Thus, it builds up confidence.
And even when you do yoga in a group or you go to a yoga class, it itself boost our confidence and our self-esteem.
For example:- when you are you talk to different people, you learn from them, etc. As a result it builds up confidence.
Well, yoga can also boost up your confidence or inner strength through the following:-
- It stimulates relaxation in our body
- The breathing exercises mean you to focus on your breath and as a result it promotes self-awareness.
- When we perform yoga, it builds up our physical strength and later on, after some experience, we try to perform more challenging poses as a result we feel stronger on the inside.
- It also helps you to learn self- calmness and the ability to remain calm helps you restore self-confidence.
“And when we love our body, it helps us to gain confidence with our own-self.”
10) The benefits of Yoga: It makes you smart!
Another study conducted by-
Journal of Physical Activity & Health also says that 20 minutes of yoga make your brain more effective and helps to quickly process information.
After seeing these research papers, I would personally suggest that, if you are a student, consider performing yoga for a few minutes. That will really help you stay sharp and focused.
Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
11) Benefits of Yoga: Improves the Sexual Health
First, let me prove this point by showing you the case study
Apart from the case study, Lauren Zoeller, a certified yoga instructor and the Whole Living Life Coach based in Nashville, Tennessee says “Sex and yoga both benefit your physical, mental and emotional state. Learn to practice them regularly for access to feeling your absolute best!”
According to Lauren Zoeller, yoga helps you to listen to your body and also it increases awareness.
And the more you’re present with your partner, better the experience will be.
So, let us make it simple and break in points on
“How yoga can improve your sex life? “
It reduces your stress levels (again, huh! ) By lowering down your cortisol levels, thus increasing sexual desire and making your sex life more awesome.
It increases the flexibility.
It helps you to build self-esteem and healthy body
- It increases blood circulation in our pelvic region, making it more alive!
Well, now you know the impact of yoga on libido.
Then, watch this video to create that impact through yoga.
12) Benefit of Yoga: It detoxifies your liver
- The liver is the second biggest organ (about the size of a football) after skin, which means it has lots of jobs to do.
Your brain depends upon your liver for better functioning, as it is the major regulator of plasma glucose & amino levels. As a result, if our liver get’s out of control it can result in coma.
It helps to keep the toxins and carcinogens away from the bloodstream otherwise they will recirculate in blood flow (if liver is not functioning well)
How yoga can keep the liver healthy?
Yoga exercises help in liver stimulation, as a result, it cures, various liver-related problems.
Poses like ” Ardha Matsyendrasana ” exert pressure on the liver, which helps the liver to gain strength and also supports it to recover from inflammation, stress, and apoptosis.
Dhanurasana yoga poses assist the body to get rid of fatty liver and to convert that fat into energy sources
- Yoga also supports circulation of oxygen & blood through the liver, thus getting rid of fat, infectious bacteria and toxins from the liver.
Well, are you interested to see the impact of yoga on your liver by yourself?
If yes, then read below the 3 yoga asanas to detoxify & strengthen your liver
1) Ardha Matsyendrasana
This yoga posture is known for its benefits for the liver. The posture helps to stimulate and strengthen the liver by exerting pressure on it.
Now, press the left leg slowly against your abdomen and turn your head to the right side at the same time.
2) Kapalbhati Pranayama
For this yoga posture, sit cross-legged on the yoga mat with closed eyes and spine straight.
Now, inhale deeply and exhale out forcefully through both nostrils.
Repeat this procedure for at least 5 minutes daily. This exercise prevents various liver diseases like jaundice, hepatitis, and cirrhosis, etc.
3) Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
This yoga posture is very beneficial for people suffering from fatty liver and it also massages the liver, which helps in proper digestion.
For this yoga pose, lie on your stomach and then hold both your feet with your hands. After, this pulls your both feet slowly and gently and look straight start feeling your breath.
After 10-20 seconds bring your legs and chest slowly to the ground and calm down.
13) The Benefits of Yoga: Prevents & cure thyroid
According to Barkatullah University (Bhopal), yoga is effective in treating & preventing hypothyroid disorder.
In this study, 20 female patients suffering from hypothyroid disorder were subjected to one hour yoga session for a period of one month.
And here is conclusion taken from the article-
This means it is practically proven fact that yoga if taken as complementary therapy can make the medical therapy more effective.
- Low energy,
- In capability to tolerate cold,
- Dry skin,
- And there might swell of the throat, which is also known as goiter.
The above symptoms are common except the last one.
Yoga cannot completely eradicate the thyroid imbalance and you must consider yoga as a complementary therapy.
How yoga will help with thyroid problems?
- Ans:) Yoga can prevent and cure thyroid problems in following ways:-
A lifestyle with full of stress is the major contributor to the thyroid disease, but giving oneself in yoga can manage stress to a great extent.
- It can help with fatigue & muscle pain if you are already suffering with thyriodrelates
- Pranayama and asanas influence relaxation and reduce stress.
- Yoga poses which are related to throat, stimulating improves circulation of blood and flow of energy around the thyroid which results in stretch and strengthen of neck.
Yoga postures for your thyroid
The following yoga postures will strengthen your thyroid.
Keep in Mind:-
Do not perform all the yoga asanas at once and modify any of the following poses according to your body.
Be kind & gentle to your body.
Sarvangasana (The Shoulder Stand)
Note: – Before performing this yoga pose, warm up yourself by performing Tadasana or lower back exercises as we suggest relieving any spinal pain before performing this yoga asana.
Step-by-Step instruction to get into this pose-
2) Lie down with your arms close to your body and your palms facing down.
7) Raise your legs straight up towards the ceiling.
8) Try to keep your body in a straight line as possible.
9) Hold the pose up to 10 seconds and breathe normally
10) Release the asana by taking your legs back over your head
13) Lie down in corpse pose and rest. Don’t get up immediately.
Fish Pose (Matsya)
1) Lie on your back with your legs and arms extended out
2) Lift your pelvis slightly above the floor and slide your arms underneath your hips with your palms down
6) Hold here up to 10-15 seconds and balance gently on your elbows and the crown of your head
7) Gently release the pose by sliding your head back
8) Release your arms from beneath
9) Now, relax by coming into corpse pose (savanasana)
10) Stretch out your body and relax until your breath comes to normal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 13 benefits of yoga?
Here, are the 13 benefits of yoga –
1. It Increases Flexibility
2. It can lower your blood pressure
3. Live a stress-free life with it.
4. It can calm your nervous system
5. It reduces blood sugar level
6. Relieves back pain
7. Increases your lung capacity
8. Helps in getting rid of Inflammation
9. Builds up Self-Confidence & Inner Strength.
10. It can make you smart by making your brain more efficient
11. It improves the Sexual Health
12. It detoxifies your liver
13. It prevents & cures thyroid
Is it proven that yoga increases flexibility?
According to the case study conducted by the International Journal Of Yoga.
It was found that after doing yoga for 10 weeks there were 1.8 inches increase in Sit reach, 1.0 inches increase in Shoulder flexibility and 4 seconds increase in Stork Stand.
Thus, yoga increases flexibility.
Can yoga cure high blood pressure?
Yes, yoga can cure high blood pressure by reducing stress levels because stress is the major cause of hypertension, with yoga or pranayama it can reduce cortisol level to a great extent.
Thus, lower down the blood pressure.
See more in the article!
How does yoga calm the nervous system?
Yoga can calm down our nervous system by activating our parasympathetic nervous system which in turn regulates our cortisol levels, as a result, it pacifies our nervous system.
How does yoga help with diabetes?
Yoga helps in diabetes by
1) Engaging the muscles in physical activity thus promoting glucose consumption
2) Weight loss because obesity is the major cause of diabetes
3) Restoring the pancreatic cells because yoga poses stretch the pancreatic area
Can yoga help with back pain?
Yoga improves spinal flexibility and poses like knee tuck, seated twist, etc stretches your body which in turn reduces back pain.
Does yoga help with breathing?
Well, yoga can help with breathing by
1) Increases the activeness of air cells because it involves thoracic, abdominal & clavicular breathing.
2) Strengthening the muscles of the back to keep it straight as a result it increases the lung capacity to inhale more oxygen.
3) Longer inhalation in pranayama can clean your nasal passages thus assist people with breathing.