The Health Benefits of Regularly Practicing Yoga

This article looks at the ancient practice of yoga and the range of health benefits that can be achieved by regularly enjoying this form of exercise. The importance of wearing the right clothes is also a factor in gaining maximum benefit from the art of yoga.

What is Yoga?
The word ‘yoga’ originates from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ that literally means ‘to integrate or unite’ and is the unifying of an individual’s consciousness with the universe. It is also about a union of the individual’s whole being with the aim of achieving spiritual tranquility and insight. Yoga originated in India 5000 years ago. There are six forms of yoga to choose from ranging from Hatha to Raja and each form focuses the mind on a different area.

Yoga has Healing Power
The health benefits of yoga are extensive as it works on all levels of a person including the physical, mental and spiritual. People feel a combination of deeply relaxed but also energised after a session of yoga. It is estimated that 90 percent of disease has its origins in stress. Stress is the body’s response to the ‘fight or flight’ response. Symptoms include increased heart rate, perspiration, shallow breathing and tension. Long-term stress is extremely damaging to the body. Simply learning to breathe in the yogic way is important for general health. By breathing deeper and longer you release tension and increase oxygen around all your organs. The meditative aspect of yoga has been found to decrease the levels of cortisol in your blood, which is the stress hormone. Practicing yoga wearing the right yoga clothes can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the human relaxation response. This causes blood pressure, respiration and heart rate to reduce as well as stimulating digestion. Physically yoga works to increase muscle flexibility and strength. Yoga also teaches you about self-awareness and general health consciousness. Conditions that are known to benefit from yoga include high blood pressure, infertility, cancer, insomnia, colitis, insomnia and multiple sclerosis.

Yoga Apparel
To achieve the best results from practicing yoga, it is best to consider what you might wear carefully. Yoga is about letting go and feeling free to connect to a higher force, so you need to feel very comfortable and flexible and not have clothes that dig in and distract from this. As yoga involves many different postures and positions it’s important that your yoga outfit fits perfectly, is lightweight, gives you maximum flexibility and lets your skin breathe. Most people choose to wear vest tops with an outer sweatshirt which can be removed once you get warm, as well as leggings or pants. Choose clothing that fits snugly so you can gain graceful movement without trouble.

Yoga can significantly improve your health and has many different health benefits. There are six different forms of yoga to choose from, so pick one that suits your fitness and what you wish to achieve in terms of health. Wearing the right yoga clothes is also important to achieve good results.

Julie Warrington is a yoga teacher and writes frequently for a variety of websites and complementary health blogs. She is particularly interested in the benefits that yoga can have on infertility. Click here for more information.