Complete Health Benefits of Yoga


Complete Health Benefits of Yoga

What is Yoga?

Yoga is understood differently by different people. Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means “UNION”. It is a holistic practice of exercises that connect the body, mind and spirit through body postures, meditation and controlled breathing.

It is a practice of accepting, assimilating and becoming aware of your thoughts, experiences, surroundings, noises and physical being and becoming one with your surroundings.

Origin of Yoga

Yoga is said to be a school of exercises which originated and developed over 5000 years ago during the Indus-Saraswati civilization. According to contemporary belief, Patanjali is considered to be the founder of Yoga. The most famous of his treatise “Patanjali YogaSutra” is considered to be the most definitive guide.

Types of Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga literally means a broad style of Yoga where emphasis is on physical postures. It has a gentle approach to perform postures.

Anusara Yoga

Anusara Yoga as a school of yoga was developed in 1997 by John Friend. Anusara means to follow in Sanskrit. The concept of Anusara is flowing and learning and practising what Grace and Nature does. This form of Yoga puts an emphasis of unlocking innate goodness that allows one to help others without any prejudice.

Ashthanga Yoga

It literally means “eight limbed yoga”. This yoga contains eight spiritual practises like Yama (moral codes), Niyama (self-purification and study), Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense control), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption in the Universe). It is a six series of asanas campaign and all are performed in the same sequence.

Iyenger Yoga

Founded by BKS Iyenger, the emphasis is on the right alignment in each pose. Various props are used to fine tune postures. This is a passive form but this is a challenging part where one has to hold the poses for longer duration.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for flow. This yoga is known for its fluid movements that build intensity. It flows from pose to pose creating a dance like rhythm. The intensity is same as Ashtanga but there is a level of creativity as no two flows are same. The main focus is breath synchronized movement.

Power Yoga

This form was developed by Bender Birch in 1995. It takes the principle of Ashtanga Yoga to create heat and energy through a vigorous workout incorporating strength and flexibility with intense flowing sequence.

Bikram / Hot Yoga

This yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury. It has 26 classical poses of Hatha Yoga in an artificially heated room to 100 degree Fahrenheit. It removes body toxins through sweat.

Restorative Yoga

It is opposite to intense yoga and the primary focus is on relaxing and soothing mind and body.

Kundalini Yoga

This yoga has dynamic breathing techniques and chanting and meditation on mantras. This style of Yoga is about awakening of energy that lives at the base of the spine and drawing through each of the seven chakras. Teachers and students are encouraged to wear white.

Ananda Yoga

Swami Kriyananda created this style of Yoga in 1960. A key component of this yoga is use of silent affirmations while holding a pose. The focus is on proper alignment, ease through transitions and breathing exercises. With the idea of self awareness in mind, this yoga seeks upward movement of energy to brain preparing body for meditation.

Forrest Yoga

Ana T. Forrest created this modern yoga in 1982 to work on her own healing. She modified poses and created new poses to address today’s physical ailments. This yoga is founded on four principles of Breath, Strength, Integrity and Spirit which aim to transform intensely physical and internally focused practise from mat to life.

Yin Yoga

This yoga was founded by martial arts expert and Taoist Yoga teacher Paulie Zink in 1970. This yoga is popular as a great compliment to other forms of yoga. It allows you to advance your asana practise by slowing down and getting deep into the postures to increase flexibility.

Based on the Tao concept of “Yin” and “Yang”; the yin concept concentrates on stiff tissue (tendons, ligaments and fascia) and yang concept concentrates on more mobile and pliable muscles and blood.

Kripalu Yoga

This form of yoga was founded by Amrit Desai in 1980. This yoga involves inner focus, meditation, standard yoga postures, breath work, relaxation and emphasis on developing a quiet mind. It practices “following the flow” of Prana, compassion, self-acceptance, observing the mind without judgement and allowing inner teachings to transfer in daily life. The practice focus on press points that are attuned to the body allowing you over time to express yourself in the poses that best suit your body.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep with Nidra in Sanskrit means sleep. It is a five step process which includes –

  1. Relaxing the body and mind
  2. Meditation on the breathing
  3. Balancing of emotional states
  4. Visualization
  5. Self-Healing

It begins with a scan of body to engage your physicality and setting a positive intention to provide purpose. During this yoga the awareness spreads through entire body as one move through stages of consciousness –

  1. Waking state
  2. Dream state
  3. Deep and dreamless sleep

Jivamukti Yoga

This style of Yoga was created by David Life and Sharon Gannon.

It is a physically vigorous style of yoga with equal emphasis on the educational aspect of Yoga and its yogic philosophies. Jivamukti is a Hindi word which means liberation while living. This word is derived from the Sanskrit term Jeevanmukti which means a state of enlightenment and/or God realization.

This practise is a combination of physical, ethical and spiritual practices combining Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga styles which adhere to five central tenets

  1. Shashtra meaning Scripture
  2. Bhakti meaning Devotion
  3. Ahimsa meaning non-violence or non-harming
  4. Nad meaning Music
  5. Dhyana means meditation

Partner Yoga

This type of yoga is practised with a partner whose main focus is integration. It helps to develop communication skills, honesty and capacity to understand and interpret body language

Pre-natal / Post-natal Yoga

Pre-natal yoga is for expecting mothers. It helps them prepare for the birthing process by teaching techniques to keep stress levels low, relieve physical pain and discomfort during pregnancy and build awareness towards the baby and all the changes that happen in the body and mind.

Post-natal yoga is great for post-delivery lactating and/or healing mothers. A trainer will suitably modify techniques which allow the mother to be active during the lactating/healing period.


Suryanamaskar means Sun Salutations in Sanskrit. This is not a standalone type of Yoga and is a part of the Ashthanga Yoga practice.

Suryanamaskar brings together 12 different asanas to give you a complete workout. Even if you do Suryanamaskar every day for 5 to 10 minutes you will get full benefits of the same.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

The relaxation acquired by doing yoga eases:

  1. Chronic pain like lower back, headache, carpal tunnel syndrome – Yoga helps to release tension of the muscles and bones and helps them to relax.
  2. Lowers blood pressure – Yoga with meditation helps to calm and rest the body. This reduces the toxins in the body which lowers pressure.
  3. Increases flexibility – Yoga is good for flexibility of the limbs as the stretching and the poses help to relax the bones and muscle which get restorative time.
  4. Increase in muscle strength and tone – Yoga does not necessarily tone the muscles and body but aids in the development of muscle mass and gives strength.
  5. Improved respiration, energy and vitality – Pranayama, Meditation and Yoga relaxes the whole anatomy of the body which increases vitality, gives strength and increases the capacity of the respiratory system to inhale more oxygen.
  6. Maintains a balance in metabolism – Metabolism is essential to keep the body functional. Yoga helps to balance out irregular metabolic activity.
  7. Aids in weight reduction – Although not directly, Yoga will give your body much needed system push which jumpstarts weight reduction.
  8. Cardio and circulatory health – Yoga is a great way to reduce fats in the body. Reduced fats from internal and external of body means more efficient circulatory health, both blood circulation and respiratory circulation.
  9. Improvement in athletic performance – Those having athletic body or are involved in athletic sports benefit greatly from Yoga as it makes their body supple.
  10. Protection from injury – Yoga increases physical and mental mindfulness; hence the risks of injury physical and nonphysical, internal and/or external are reduced.
  11. Perfects the body posture – Yoga helps to develop and enhance body postures. It eliminates slouching of the back and eliminates joint pain.
  12. Prevents cartilage and joint break down – Cartilage and joints are important for smooth functioning of bones. Yoga helps to strengthen them.
  13. Protects the spine – The spine connects the brain to the body, hence if the spine malfunctions, the whole body malfunctions even becomes paralyzed. Yoga aids in the development and maintenance of a healthy spine.
  14. Improvement in bone health – Bones are important to live a healthy life. Yoga helps to maintain them.
  15. Increase in blood flow – Yoga eliminates toxins, pain, bad fats from the body and the blood which increases the blood flow.
  16. Drains lymph’s and boosts immunity – Lymph’s in the body are susceptible to toxins. Yoga helps to drain these toxins out of the body which boosts immunity.
  17. Increase in heart rate – If the heart is going, you are alive. If the heart beats slowly, it can be a sign of a condition. Yoga helps to increase the heart rate.
  18. Regulate adrenal glands – The sudden rush of vigour in the body is called an adrenaline rush and is a good thing when the body is overwhelmed. But adrenal rush every time in the body is not good. Yoga helps regulate these rushes by controlling the glands that release these chemicals.
  19. Creates a healthy lifestyle – You can achieve the best of your health through Yoga.
  20. Lowers blood sugar – Yoga helps to convert blood sugar levels into energy for the body. This way blood sugar levels can be lowered.
  21. Relaxes the system – The body is a complex system of various mechanisms, something like a machine. Yoga helps in the upkeep of this machine.
  22. Strengthens organs – Yoga provides necessary energy to organs to help them function better.
  23. Regulates gastrointestinal organs – Yoga helps to maintain the health of the digestive system by strengthening gastrointestinal organs and eliminating digestive system problems.
  24. Regulates sexual functions – Yoga also aids in enhancing sexual health. It helps to regulate and increase the sperm count in males. Helps correct symptoms and conditions like ED. Regulates release of happy chemicals and testosterone, oestrogen and other chemicals necessary for a healthy sexual life.
  25. Helps detox the body – Yoga helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
  26. Eases Asthma – Yoga has been proven to help ease Asthma in people suffering from it. It helps to normalise the intensity.
  27. Fights Arthritis – Arthritis is a disease of the bones and Yoga helps to keep the bones supple.
  28. Helps in controlling multiple sclerosis – Multiple sclerosis is a deadly disease and Yoga has been proven to ease the pain in patients living with it.
  29. Increases digestion – Yoga helps to increase the digestive capacity of intestines and stomach.
  30. Improves breathing and lung capacity – Yoga specifically pranayama and meditation help to expand the capacity of the lungs to intake more air and process oxygen, thereby increasing breathing capacity.
  31. Improves diabetes management – Yoga helps to regulate insulin and helps the body to make better use of sugars in the blood and the body as a fuel.
  32. Eases labor and improves pre and post natal health – Yoga has helped pregnant women and new moms to cope with child birth by keeping their bodies supple and healthy.
  33. Eases menopause symptoms – Menopause is like a benchmark in every woman’s life. For many it is not a pleasant phase. Yoga eases the changes associated with menopause in women.

Mental Benefits of Yoga

  1. Boosts memory – Yoga has been proven to boost memory in old and young people alike.
  2. Reduces anxiety and stress – Anxiety and stress are the gifts of the modern hectic life. Yoga helps the mind and body to relax which reduces anxiety and stress.
  3. Reduces hypertension – Hypertension is cause due to overwhelming stress. Yoga has helped to reduce hypertension in people and has saved many lives.
  4. Helps to relax – Relaxation for the body is essential to perform optimally and Yoga helps to achieve it.
  5. Boosts concentration and brain power – Concentration and brain power are essential for today’s knowledge economy. Yoga helps to maintain both.
  6. Increases attention span and focus – Today the attention span and focus of people is dwindling. This can lead to many issues. Yoga helps to increase attention span and focus.
  7. Helps ease migraine – Migraine is a form of headache but much worse than a normal one. A migraine attack can severely impale a person leading to passing out and black outs. Yoga helps to reduce the intensity of this condition when performed with meditation.
  8. Reduces and controls insomnia – Insomnia is condition where the sufferer is unable to sleep at night which leads to bloated, dull and sleepy day. Yoga helps to regulate sleep in insomniacs.
  9. Helps to control headaches – Headaches are common but some always seem to suffer from it. Meditation and Yoga helps the mind to remain calm and thus reduces instances of headache.
  10. Stabilizes mind – An instable mind is the outcome of many conditions and mental problems; Yoga has helped many practitioners to stabilize their mind.
  11. Brings mental balance – Mental health issues are a big health hazard. Yoga helps to bring mental balance.
  12. Helps in curing spinal problems and strengthen it – Spinal problem affect the brain and body. Yoga helps to fight spinal problems, issues and conditions.
  13. Regulates sleep – Yoga helps to achieve and maintain sound sleeping patterns.
  14. Helps brain to utilize more oxygen – More breathing capacity means more oxygen. The brain needs oxygen to perform optimally, Yoga and Pranayama help the brain to utilize more oxygen.
  15. Improves other brain functions – The brain controls almost all the functions of the body. If the brain is healthy then the body is functioning at the optimum level.
  16. Increases mental capabilities to learn and retain – Learning makes the brain healthy and keeps it young. Yoga maintains the youth of the brain.
  17. Decreases chances of mental diseases – Yoga helps the brain to become healthy which in turn reduces the chances of mental diseases.
  18. Helps in Cerebral Palsy – Yoga has been found extremely beneficial for people suffering from Cerebral Palsy or CP.

Spiritual Benefits of Yoga

  1. Eliminates negative thoughts – Yoga creates and develops happy state of mind which eliminates negative thoughts.
  2. Increases positive awareness and bliss – Yoga increases happy hormones and chemicals in the brain which enhances positive awareness and increases experience in bliss.
  3. Increases self-awareness – Yoga increase self-worth.
  4. Increases mindfulness – Yoga increases empathy and mindfulness.

Emotional Benefits of Yoga

  1. Kills depression – Yoga has found to be the best anti-depressant among sufferers.
  2. Increases self-worth – Yoga helps to develop a body and mind positive imagery and increases self-worth.
  3. Increases confidence – Increase in self-worth increases confidence.
  4. Helps overcome PTSD (Post Trauma Stress Disorder) – People working in military and paramilitary forces, retired veterans and heroes of war, people under shock or trauma for incidences or accidents are greatly relieved of PTSD by taking up Yoga.
  5. Improves mood – Yoga increases the release of happy chemicals and hormones in the brain and body which lifts up the mood.

Over to you….

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