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Yoga ascends from Hindu ascetic and spiritual discipline that involves meditation, specific body postures and breathe control. Is meant for the well-being of not only the mind but also body and soul. It is believed that “when on is in harmony within, the journey through life becomes calmer, happier and more fulfilled.” Yoga restores balance by calming the mind, strengthening the body and help in restoring focus as well as self-confidence. Achieving clarity of the mind, inner peace, restores outer calm, focus and peace, hence cultivating health and happiness.
1. Reduce stress
Yoga involve meditation, body posture or rather physical movement, and controlled breathing. All of which achieve relaxation of the mind and body. A relaxed and happy person is a less stressful person. Hence a more all-round productive person. Deep breathing exercises are for instance good for relaxing body muscles and calming the mind. It is highly beneficial because it can be exercised anywhere. It helps reverse your stress response.
Meditation takes care of mental health. A few minutes of meditation every day relaxes the mind. It helps achieve relaxation by cultivating awareness of the “patterns that our minds and emotions give rise to.” Instead therefore of allowing yourself to think and act out of proportion, you have more neutral thoughts. Therefore decreasing anxiety and in the process improving cardiovascular health.
Of course you can’t lose weight or achieve fitness through yoga alone. It does much more of preventing weight gain than weight loss. Few calories are lost during basic yoga than during basic session of aerobics. However, the stretching, the different physical movements reduce muscle tension and increase flexibility. It highly improve athletic performance. Yoga improves balance, muscle strength and range of motion. Strong muscles (apart from just looking good on you) helps prevent conditions like back pains, falls in elderly people and arthritis.
3. Improved Heart-Health
Yoga is of course a combination of breathing, physical activity and meditation. Each of the three affects cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure, and cholesterols. Yoga helps lower the risk of heart attack. In particular vigorous yoga that puts your heart rate in aerobic range. It relieves depression and anxiety, which works to alleviate heart conditions.
4. Relaxation and blood flow
Yoga relaxes your system. Yoga helps you relax and focus on the present and forget the past disappointments and worries. Yoga is “calming and restorative, it lowers breathing and decreases blood pressure, and increase blood flow to the intestine and reproductive organ.” Herbert Benson M.D. calls it a relaxation response.
The more relaxed your muscles and body is, the better the blood circulation. Twisting poses wring out “venous blood from the internal organs and allows oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released.” Yoga further help in boosting hemoglobin levels and red blood cells that carry oxygen to the tissues.
I have always felt happy in my “element”. By that I simply mean when I am at peace and relaxed. I’m guessing it is so for every one or most people. Yoga relaxes you, it keeps you fit and hence help you remain calm and mindful. It helps in alleviating depression and other chronic conditions. It therefore keeps you healthy. And if you’re at peace you are more focused hence more productive. All these are incentives for happiness.