Yoga is one of the best activities you can do for both your mind and body. The benefits of yoga are endless and extend to both your physical and mental health. Donna Lea Jones is an avid yoga enthusiast based in Orlando, Florida. She has been practicing it for years and has experienced firsthand the incredible benefits that the activity can bring. If you’re considering attending a yoga class or even starting an at-home practice, this is the article for you.
Below, Donna Lea Jones lists the top 5 ways that yoga can improve your happiness and health.
1. Yoga’s Deep Breathing Makes You Happier
Nearly every yoga practice incorporates aspects of meditation, which involves a focus on the breath. This emphasis on breathing allows your body to relax. Studies have found a direct link between awareness and regulation of breath and reduced stress. This ability to not only listen to your breath but alter the rhythm is an extremely important tool in relieving anxiety and finding happiness.
Beyond the mental health benefits, the focus on breath, especially deep breath that is present in yoga has been proven to increase vital capacity. Vital capacity measures the maximum amount of air that the lungs can dispel. This improved breathing translates to healthier lungs and can even reduce symptoms of respiratory diseases like asthma.
2. Yoga Boosts Mood
Your mood can be affected by your posture. A simple change in your posture can change your mood. This is where yoga comes in. Lengthening and straightening your spine is an important element of yoga, and when you do so, your body sends a positive signal to your brain that in turn, boosts your confidence. One study broke up 135 seniors into groups. One group was asked to do practice for six months and the other to go walking. At the end of the six months, the group who practiced yoga was found to have improved moods and less fatigue than the other group.
3. Yoga Improves Flexibility and Balance
Donna Lea Jones claims that yoga is one of the best activities to engage in if you are looking to improve your flexibility and balance. Many of yoga’s poses are specifically designed to test your balance and flexibility. For all the yogis out there, tree pose, and crow pose might come to mind when you think of balance, while cobra and even standing forward fold are known for improving flexibility. But what exactly are the health benefits of better balance and flexibility? She asserts that flexibility is especially important when it comes to reducing pain and risk of injury.
If you’re someone who participates in other sports or forms of exercise, flexibility will improve your physical performance across the board. Further, balance is crucial when it comes to any type of functional movement and having improved balance will make you less prone to injury, which is vital as you age.
4. Yoga Decreases Stress
One of the most important ways that yoga can improve your health and happiness is its ability to decrease stress. As we all know, when we are stressed, it tends to manifest itself both physically and mentally. Luckily, yoga exists to help us channel our energy and clear our minds. Multiple studies have found that this practice reduces the amount of cortisol the body produces (cortisol is a stress hormone).
5. Yoga Builds Strength
Lastly, yoga is an excellent method of increasing strength. Donna Lea Jones has found that yoga has several strength-building benefits, which again comes down to the poses it incorporates. Poses known for their strength and conditioning abilities include dolphin pose, plank pose, chair pose, boat pose, chaturanga dan asana, and even downward facing dog.
Practicing these poses will allow you to improve your upper body and lower body strength, as well as build endurance. If you’re looking to build and tone muscle, and perhaps even lose weight, yoga can help.
For more information on Donna Lea Jones, visit her website at https://www.donnaleajones.com