Top 10 Health Benefits of Doing Yoga for Just 20 Minutes
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and the main reason is that there are many benefits of doing yoga daily. And even if you just practice yoga for a mere 20 minutes, you can already see its benefits. So read below to discover 10 surprising benefits of incorporating yoga into your daily fitness program.
1. Improves flexibility
This is the first thing you will probably notice during the first few classes of yoga. This is because doing yoga poses stretches your muscles, maintains the joints’ flexibility, allows joint lubrication, and enhances mobility. According to Mayo Clinic, stretching also helps with:
- Reducing the risk of injury
- Increase range of motion
- Improve your athletic performance
- Build muscle strength
Any flexibility exercises help prevent back pains and balance problems. It will also help you during your everyday tasks, such as reaching, bending, or stooping.
2. Relieves stress and anxiety
Numerous published research has proven that yoga helps relieve stress and anxiety. In an article published in NCBI, a study was conducted to investigate the effects of yoga (such as hatha yoga exercises) on stress, anxiety, and depression in women living in Ilam, Iran. They found out that yoga has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression by improving participants’ moods.
Yoga teaches you to meditate and focus on your breathing while doing yoga poses. This helps you let go of your worry and fear, allowing your body and mind to become calm.
3. Heals your body through guided imagery
Yoga nidra is a guided imagery meditation that can affect change in your body. It is commonly known as yogic sleep, a conscious relaxation practice, like the “going-to-sleep” stage. Although yoga nidra is one of the easiest yoga practices to develop and maintain, it is an immensely powerful technique.
Several studies have found the benefits of guided imagery meditation, such a yoga nidra. This approach can be used for the management of chronic insomnia and as a form of self-help therapy that is useful for challenging occupations like college professors.
4. Improve your relationship with others
The regular practice of yoga will make you more calm and relaxed. You develop friendliness and compassion with people through the application of yogic philosophy. That is to avoid harming others, to be true and honest to live a meaningful and purposeful life.
Yoga instructors often say to lift your chest as “lift your heart” and rotate forward as “open your heart.” Yoga teaches you to become open to your heart, so you’re more open to connections with others. Opening your heart is a way to open yourself to giving and receiving love.
5. Help you develop inner strength
Inner strength is the inner soul or core strength of the person. Practicing yoga allows you to go deeper into yourself. It connects your physical, emotional, and your spiritual body, tapping in the core of who you are, helping you to identify how you can navigate life. This helps you cope better in times of challenges, loss, or pain.
Yoga gives you the ability to use your inner strength when you need it. By learning how to navigate your inner strength, you develop a greater self-awareness that allows you to become more confident, remain calm, and find happiness.
6. Improve bone health
It has been documented that aside from drinking calcium and taking vitamin D, practicing yoga strengthens the bones and increases bone density. This is beneficial in treating or preventing people who are suffering from osteoporosis and osteopenia. However, you should still check with your doctor if it is safe for you to proceed with yoga. There are severe cases of osteoporosis, which is very rare, that doctors do not advise yoga.
7. Lower cardiovascular risk
According to a study, yoga lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and can improve the maximum uptake and utilization of oxygen during exercise. It also encourages a person to relax during a stressful situation. And we know what negative effects stress can bring to your heart.
Yoga helps decrease the blood pressure and increases blood flow to your vital organs by performing a variety of yoga postures and deep breathing. Since yoga is less strenuous compared to other physical exercises, it can be used during cardiac rehabilitation of people recovering from a heart attack or heart surgery.
8. Boost immunity
Stress hormones are one of the reasons why the immune system becomes compromised. Psychological stress has a huge impact on our bodies. Hormonal signals prompt your adrenal glands in your kidneys to release a surge of hormones, which include adrenaline and cortisol. Because of adrenaline, your heart rate increases as well as your blood pressure. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that can lead to rapid weight gain, diabetes, and many other health problems.
As you do the breathing exercises, your stress hormones decrease. Your lungs and respiratory tract conditions as the lymphatic system are stimulated to remove toxins from your body, bringing in oxygenated blood to your organs to ensure optimal function.
9. Anti-aging remedy
Yoga can slow the harmful effects of aging. As you age, you will encounter changes not only in your physical appearance but also in physiological changes. Aging affects your elasticity, stability, speed, strength, balance, and endurance. You move much slower, and you are less stable and weaker. Your skin and muscles also lose elasticity and flexibility.
Anti-aging benefits of yoga include:
- Prevents osteoporosis/osteopenia. Yoga helps increase bone density, helps you build muscle, body awareness, and better balance.
- Aids in reducing joint pain and help in improving joint flexibility.
- Helps prevent spinal stenosis and spinal disc problems.
- Strengthens the core and back.
- Helps reverse some of myofascial tightening and stiffness due to decreased collagen.
10. Cure Migraines and Headaches
According to research, practicing yoga reduces episodes and intensities of migraines and headaches. So before taking pain relievers, why won’t you try yoga first.
The majority of migraines and headaches are usually tension-related. Yoga helps with the release of tension in the body. Since yoga involves a lot of gentle stretching, it helps open areas in your body, such as the neck, shoulder, and back, which helps circulate blood into your head. Also, using breathing exercises while doing yoga allows plenty and fresh oxygen to circulate in your blood that will relax your mind and body.