Downward dog. Child’s pose. Yoga mats of all colors and sizes. The practice of yoga as a stretching exercise or as a meditative regimen is so incorporated into our lifestyle that its classic poses and equipment are now commonly known. Each year, more people embrace the practice. They may do it to feel more flexible. Or to get tuned in to mindfulness. What might surprise these new yoga fans is the array of health benefits the practice provides.
Increasing popularity for an ancient practice. Participation in yoga classes or those doing yoga at home has been on the upswing in the last decade. The latest statistics show more than 34 million people in the United States say they have done yoga at least once in the last year, with many of those incorporating it into their regular wellness routine.
While more people are discovering yoga, it’s certainly not a new practice. It traces its roots back nearly 5,000 years to northern India. It has ties to religion, and to both sacred and secular meditation practices. There are many different types of yoga, yet they all have a common denominator: They guide a person to make the mental connection between their breath and their physical body.
Research continues to be done on how regularly practicing yoga can benefit our health, but what’s been shown so far is that the list of benefits is long. The positive effects encompass both mental and physical health, touching on everything from better body image to more flexibility and improved sleep. Some of the health benefits might surprise you. They include:
With all these benefits just waiting, it might be time to give yoga a try.