Eight Benefits of Yoga and Pranayam

The practice of Yoga, combined with Pranayama and Meditation offer a plethora of benefits not just for the body but the whole mental, physical and spiritual dimension of oneself. Hatha Yoga practices such as Shat Kriyas for cleansing and Asanas or body postures promote overall well being creating a joyful and meditative nature. Let us look at some of the prominent benefits of practicing Yoga.

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1. Tones the Spine 

Yoga practice is very good for spinal health, which inturn affects all other aspects. It increases spinal strength and flexibility along with reducing back pain and stiffness. Bhujangasana is particularly useful for the spine.

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2. Builds Confidence

Practicing Yoga generates a sense of confidence and clarity in one’s interaction with the world, born out of regular practice of postures, and Yogic breathing which undoes the mental and physical blocks which create a sense of doubt and fear. Yoga instills a sense of empowerment.

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3. Improves Blood Circulation

Yoga involves movement of various body parts which improves blood circulation by relaxing the muscles and bringing more oxygen to the cells. Specific Asanas such as Sarvang Asana and Shirshasana rejuvenate the heart and lungs by reversing the flow from the lower body.

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4. Increases Immunity

Yoga helps boost one’s immune system by reducing the oxidative stress on the body cells. It lowers the stress hormones and calms the nervous system. The body is better prepared to fight viruses and seasonal allergies.

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5. Improves Sleep

Good quality of sleep is vital to one’s health. Regular practice of Yoga centers and calms the mind and body. With the muscles more relaxed and the mind free from stress, one is able to have a sound sleep which is deep and refreshing.

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6. Reduces Obesity

Yoga practice is very good for reducing weight for people suffering from obesity. The muscles are toned and the metabolism rate increases. One starts living more consciously and is in tune with the requirements of the body.

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7. Improves Flexibility

With stretching the muscles and a range of movements, Yoga Asanas help in boosting overall body flexibility and releasing muscle tensions. Forward bending, child pose, downward dog pose are particularly helpful in improving body flexibility.

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8. Reduces Cholesterol

Yoga is good for overall heart health. Besides normalising blood pressure, it reduces the  cholesterol levels in the blood. Chakrasana, Shalabhasana and Kapalbhati pranayam are particularly good for reducing cholesterol.

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This article is part of a series on Health Benefits of Yoga

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