What Yoga Does to Your Body?
What yoga does to your body? It does a lot of things. This is an Eastern practice that has become a symbol of serenity and peace. In an American study, it showed that over 20 million Americans are practicing it. And it’s not just people in their 20s or 30s who practice it. Rather, people of all ages are now engaged in it.
It’s a mind-body practice that can help in reducing stress and boosting overall well-being. In other words, it gives you a retreat from your busy lives.
Types of Yoga
Yoga isn’t just one form. Rather, there are different types of it you can practice at home or in your home office. Hatha is the most popular style. It’s not a still form.
Another type of pranayama. It involves a lot of breathing control exercises. It’s also followed by asanas and savasana.
The challenging poses of yoga can help in achieving harmony between the mind and body.
What Yoga Does to Your Body – Musculoskeletal
As you practice yoga, blood flowing to your muscles increases. It’s a good thing as it brings oxygen and nutrients to your active tissues. With increased blood flow, the muscles can function properly. It also builds muscle strength. Furthermore, it helps sugar moving out of the bloodstream and into your muscle.
Since yoga involves a lot of stretching, the muscle fibers re-align and lengthen. As you regularly do yoga, the muscles become more flexible. Flexible muscles are less susceptible to damage. They also reduce strain on the body’s joints resulting in less damage to the joints. It will help you prevent osteoarthritis when you get older or as you reach your 40s.
Your lungs are also affected when you do yoga, especially during deep breathing exercises. As you do deep breathing, your lung tissues are stretched, thereby, activating some nerves in the tissue. With the said activation, it results in parasympathetic response.
As you stretch your lungs through deep breathing, it improves your lung function to make it work more efficiently. This is vital if you have a chronic lung condition like asthma.
Your heart also benefits from yoga. As you breathe deeply and exhale slowly, the action stimulates the vagus nerve, which is an important part of your parasympathetic nervous system. It counters the effects of a sympathetic nervous system that also activates the stress responses.
Keep in mind that when the parasympathetic NS dominates, it slows down the heartbeat. It also causes blood pressure to drop. This is what happens when you do yoga poses. As you regularly practice yoga, the changes in your nervous system are sustained, which can help in improving your heart condition.
What Yoga Does to Your Body — Your Hormone Changes
Regardless of the yoga pose, this practice causes cortisol levels to go down. This is a hormone related to stress. It is released when you’re emotionally and physically stressed. If you have high levels of cortisol, it increases your blood pressure. It also increases your risk of having diabetes.
But as you practice yoga regularly, you’re making your body more sensitive to insulin. It moves sugar to the muscles and tissues. It causes the pancreas to be more sensitive to the increased blood sugar levels. As a result, it can help in preventing diabetes development.
What Yoga Does to Your Body and the Brain
Yoga is a form of meditative exercise. This form of exercise increases alpha brain waves, which are an electrical activity in the brain related to restfulness and quiet thoughts. These waves are also involved in helping you feel calm and alert.
This type of change in brain activity may only occur during practice. However, if you do it regularly, the changes will be sustained and permanent. And it’s one of the reasons you’ll feel less depressed if you do yoga regularly.
In a study, it showed that this meditative exercise could actually increase your arousal, orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction. It improves your sex life as you become more familiar with your own body.
Neck Pain Relief
If you practice Iyengar yoga, it can help in reducing pain intensity if you suffer from chronic neck pain. Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga that emphasizes the proper alignment of the neck.
What Yoga Does to Your Body and Weight?
This meditative practice supports mental, physical, and spiritual development. In other words, it can help in creating the best version of yourself.
As regards to weight loss, it may help you lose weight. But you need to practice those active poses. With relaxing yoga practice, you can be more aware of what you eat and how your body responds to what you eat.
Since yoga focuses on mindfulness, it boosts your awareness on various levels. It makes you more conscious of the food that you put in your mouth. In that case, you are able to resist the temptation of eating unhealthy foods. You can avoid eating comfort foods. You also become more in tune with your body. As you eat, you’ll be aware of whether or not you’re full.
With these benefits, yoga can be useful in stopping your binge eating.
However, it is vital to remember that yoga has no direct link to weight loss. What yoga does is to help you be more mindful of what you eat.
Yoga is also useful in helping you get better sleep at night. Keep in mind that sleep and weight loss are strongly connected. If you have inadequate sleep, you’re more likely to crave unhealthy foods.
In a 2018 study, researchers found that those with restrictive sleep lost less fat compared to the group who followed normal sleeping patterns.
If your goal of practicing yoga is to lose weight, then you need to do it more often. You must also consider doing more active poses.
The calories burned when you do yoga will depend on the poses. However, you can burn from 180 to 360 calories an hour. Try Vinyasa and Ashtanga. They are power yoga poses that can help burn more calories. You may also mix it with dance or kickboxing.
When you do power yoga, you’re doing cardio while improving your strength and flexibility. A 90-minute session of power yoga will help you heat up inside. It helps in flushing out toxins and water weight. It also boosts the functioning of your lymphatic system and organs.
All styles of yoga have a deeper benefit and that is to tune in to your body.
But you don’t have to do hardcore yoga if you don’t want to. You can still lose weight with gentle yoga. This type of yoga activates your parasympathetic nervous system. It regulates your digestion and hormones.
As you go through your day, you’re always in flight-or-flight mode. But as you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, you’re telling your body to take a rest. As you press the internal brakes, your hormones will be rebalanced, injuries are repaired and digestion starts to become normal again.
These factors can aid in weight loss. Of course, don’t expect an immediate result.
As you slow down, you’re learning to know the difference between the urge to eat and emotional impulses. In other words, you’ll know whether or not you feel hungry or just thirsty. It helps you know if you’re truly hungry.
Gentle yoga is vital if you’re just getting started. With it, you can avoid injuries that could immobilize you.
Will Yoga Help Burn Belly Fat?
Burning or losing belly fat is a difficult challenge. There are various factors you wish to consider here. In addition to your workout intensity, you should also consider your nutrition and stress levels.
Indeed, yoga can assist you in losing fat. However, it may not be enough. Experts recommend doing resistance training as well.
There are yoga poses that might accelerate your body’s ability to burn belly fat.
Also known as chatruanga dandasana, this pose starts with the plank pose. There are many benefits of this pose, including strengthening your wrists, arms, and abdominal muscles. The four-limbed pose is like a traditional push-up. It strengthens your muscles that surround the spine. With that in mind, it can help in improving your posture [link].
It’s another yoga pose you can try if you wish to burn your belly fat. In this position, you start by lying down on your back. Then, gently lift your upper and lower body. Your knees and back must be straight. Your arms must be pointing forward.
This position will force you to tighten your abdominal muscles. It also straightens your back. Because it tightens your abdominal muscles, it is useful in building your abs.
Doing this pose will also get rid of lethargy while stimulating your circulatory system.
It’s a favorite pose among yogis. First, you need to lie on your stomach. Then, slowly place your palms under your shoulders. Lift your upper body, knees, and pelvis.
This pose helps you straighten your arms, shoulders, and thigh. It also strengthens your spine and abdominal muscles. Furthermore, it strengthens your core muscles.
How Long to Practice Per Week?
There’s no need for you to practice every day, although if you can, then that would be better. However, just an hour per week will already help you experience its benefits.
But if you’re just starting out, then make sure that you do it two or three times a week and do an hour each time. If you can only spare 20 minutes per session, then that would be fine.
Keep in mind that you must consider yoga as a fun way to help you get fit. You must never allow time constraints as an obstacle. If you consider yoga as a fun and not as an ordeal, then it’ll be easier for you to do it every day or more often.
Is Yoga The Same as Stretching?
Yoga is a form of stretching exercise. But there’s more to it than just stretching. Rather, yoga involves physical postures that connect body movement and mind fluctuations to the rhythm of your breath.
With that inward attention, you can start to recognize your thought partners without having to judge them or change them. You’ll be more aware of your experiences every time. The said awareness is what makes every session a practice, instead of a task or goal that you need to complete.
When you do yoga regularly, you’re likely to be more flexible.
If it’s your first time doing yoga, you might wonder whether or not you can do it. Yoga poses can be learned. That’s why, even if you’re not flexible, you can still be a good candidate for this practice.
How to Start Yoga?
You can start by preparing your mind and body. It’s also ideal that you wear yoga leggings and shirt. But avoid baggy shirts. What’s great about yoga is that you don’t need special shoes for it. The reason for this is that you can go barefoot.
If you wish to start yoga, you might want to purchase your yoga mat. It’s especially true if you’re practicing it at home. However, if you’re going to a yoga studio, you’re likely not required to buy mats. Then again, it’s still ideal that you buy and bring your own mat if you’re too hygienic.
Before you start your yoga class, make sure that you don’t eat three hours before the session. If you just ate your meal and you do yoga, it might be uncomfortable for you to do those poses, especially if you practice poses that you require to turn upside down.
However, if you always feel hungry, you might want to have a light snack before your class. A few nuts or yogurt will help.
What does yoga to your body? It offers a lot of health benefits. It improves your mind, body, and coordination. It’s also ideal if you wish to lose weight as you become more mindful of what you eat. In that case, you can avoid eating unhealthy foods or just anything that you can grab.
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