woman in downward dog pose

How and Why Yoga Helps You Maintain Body and Mind Balance

On June 21, the International Yoga Day was celebrated. Over the last few years, this very old practice has become the subject of scientific studies. Positive effects on the brain such as anti-stress and antidepressant effects have begun to be measured.

Millions of people practice yoga regularly and research began thanks to its spectacular spread. Postures (asanas) are increasingly known among different people and age groups. The reasons are mainly that we want to learn how to relax, how to get rid of several kinds of pain (back, neck, shoulders, etc.), manage stress, and maintain good physical shape.

This traditional discipline (from the Sanskrit “yuga” which means “union”) comes from India and it is more than five thousand years old.

An important source of this spiritual school, which should guide us towards the divine, is a writing by PatañjaliYoga Sutra, which contains the essential foundations of the discipline.

According to this essay, the purpose is to attain a higher form of self-knowledge, which can be achieved with inner contemplation. In addition to specific physical exercises, and breathing techniques, traditional yoga also includes meditation, a vegetarian diet and an entire philosophy of life.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a small group of Indian teachers began to start teachings in the Western world. After the explosion of fitness in the 1980s, which focused above all on the cult of the body, the spiritual part has been lost a little. Therefore, in the Western world mainly hatha yoga began to spread.

Today we know that this discipline can do more than just strengthen and tone our body.

Recent researches shows it can have a powerful effect on our health, making it a perfect remedy for several diseases, from high blood pressure to anxiety and depression.

You may already be familiar with some moves such as downward dog and mountain pose, but yoga is more than that. It’s a total body and mind workout that includes breathing practices, deep relaxation, and meditation that helps improve our health in several ways.

There are several types of yoga, the most common is hatha yoga. The effects of this type of yoga on health are improving body consciousness, plasticity and coordination, strengthening muscles, and enhancing blood circulation. Moreover, it is also good for stress management.

From experience, I can say that after a yoga session I feel relaxed and rested. The beneficial effects are immediate, probably thanks to the excellent stretching’s component (but also to the good teacher).

You surely know that physical exercise is good for your mind too. Perhaps, that’s why yoga is a fast-acting cure-all, as it associates physical exercise with meditative practice.

In fact, by associating postures (asanas) with breathing (pranayama), we act on the body by relaxing the muscles, and on our mind because the sympathetic nervous system (the nervous system that is stimulated when we rest or sleep) is activated.

Yoga allows you to find calm within yourself, and with regular practice, even some minutes a day are enough, you will sleep better, your self-confidence will increase, as well as your ability to make decisions and manage stress.

On top of that, it will help you improve your balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination, reduce the risks of heart disease, relieve migraines and fight osteoporosis.

In addition, the meditation component may even help to delay the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease and fight age-related declines in memory.

Have you tried any kind of yoga yet? If not, why don’t you venture on a class to see how it can help with your health? Don’t be scared if the postures look difficult to you. As my yoga teacher says, yoga is not a competition, but a step-by-step process.

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32 thoughts on “How and Why Yoga Helps You Maintain Body and Mind Balance

  1. Yoga is good for the mind, the body and the spirit. It gave me many benefits. I lost twenty chilos thank also to the yoga. Thanks.

  2. I remember I went to a weekend yoga retreat and everyone was familiar with it except for me. I was heavily into exercising at that time and constantly pushing myself to do more, so I took that I tense competitiveness to the yoga floor, totally not understanding the whole purpose of it! I haven’t really tried it since then!

    1. I practiced yoga for a long time, then I stopped because I couldn’t find a good teacher again. I think that in your case, it would have made the difference. My teacher always tells us that you have to do only what your body lets you do it. Maybe you can try again one day? Thank you for sharing your experience Tamara!

  3. I loved yoga and went to class three times a week for years. Then I fell skiing, tore my ACL and meniscus and I’ve never been back. I feel like I won’t be able to many of the poses. Instead I’m swimming which keeps my knees in alignment with my body.

      1. I don’t have flexibility in my knee. I can’t sit cross legged anymore. I could probably do yoga while accommodating many poses for my bad knee.

      2. My husband has prosthesis in his both hips and he practices yoga with me. I think that a good teacher would help you find your way to yoga.

      3. I see, I can understand your fear. There are postures I don’t dare to try because of my articulations issues and the last thing I want is being injured.

  4. I use an app called Asana Rebel that has yoga inspired exercises in a variety of formats, from short to long, challenging to easy, stretch or core focused, you name it, they have it. I loaded it when we were in the second or third lockdown because I couldn’t go to my mom group in the church basement anymore for exercise.

    It makes me wonder why I waited so long to start yoga because it’s just the perfect exercise for me. Mostly I focus on core and strength, but some days I just want to do stretching, and nothing too crazy, and I love almost every aspect of it.

    I appreciate reading about the history, some of which I knew but I still learned something.

  5. Our body is amazing. If I do not do yoga for just a short amount of time it looses quite fast its flexibility. And I am happy If I just do half an hour. YouTube has a big variation of different yoga videos. Ashtanga & kundalini and Yin are my favourites at the moment. Thanks for this post🙏🍀

      1. Yin yoga affects body fascias. And our body fascias restore all our stress. I also enjoy yin yoga.

  6. After a lot of pressure I started yoga in 2022. Better late than never. Yes it is very good But it requires commitment and results do not show up overnight. Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. 🙏

  7. I love this holistic view of the practice. Thanks for this great post to remind me to get back to more yoga so I can experience all of the benefits!

  8. I started practicing yoga a few years ago and it really made some differences in my mind and in the way I feel. I do attend classes sometimes, but mostly I practice at home with a online/Youtube/subscription site teacher named Adriene Mishler (Yoga With Adriene). I love it 😎

    1. I used to do yoga at home during COVID but now I prefer the gym center because they have sauna, and jacuzzi. But it’s good that you can do yoga at home, the most important it’s practicing it! Thank you for your comment Todd!

  9. I have been practicing yoga for over a decade, and have gotten older but never felt better. There is no question my yoga practice is the reason (and some meditation). Thanks!

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