Yoga is one of the world’s longest-living practices. Though you might associate yoga with the affluent, its history is so much richer. Experts suggest that yoga dates back to at least 5,000 years ago, and maybe even 10,000!
The earliest discovered mention of yoga is in one of the most ancient texts in the world, the Rig Veda. It also appears in the Bhagavad-Gita, which was composed in 500 B.C.E. Yoga has been practised around the world ever since.
Have you “downward dog-ed” today? It’s about time you do! Yoga isn’t just a long-standing practice; it’s an extremely beneficial one, too! Yoga isn’t just an impressive practice; it can improve so many parts of your life! Read on to learn my five favourite health benefits of yoga and check out my list of great books about yoga!
As kids, we’re as flexible as rubber. But as we age, our collagen weakens, our lives become more sedentary, and our flexibility diminishes. While you may have once been able to do backbends and somersaults, you may now barely be able to touch your toes.
You may be thinking, “Why do I need to touch my toes?” Turns out, flexibility is extremely important. Flexibility strengthens your collagen and helps to keep your spine and its muscles strong, protecting you from back and neck injuries. It also helps maintain your posture, which worsens over time due to our sedentary lifestyles. Flexibility may even protect against dementia by helping the flow of your cerebral spinal fluid. It’s clear that flexibility matters!
Regular practice of yoga is great for flexibility. The more you stretch your joints, the looser and more flexible they will become.
Have you seen someone practice yoga before? It looks deceptively easy. Unlike running or sports, yoga involves a lot of slow, steady movements. To an untrained eye, it can appear easy as pie.
The truth is that yoga is anything but. Yoga takes strength—a lot of strength. While early postures in yoga may involve a fair amount of sitting on the floor, as you progress through your practice, postures get more and more difficult. A skilled yogi may do headstands or balance their entire body on a single limb.
Just like flexibility, strength helps protect us as we age. Strong muscles protect against arthritis and back pain and help prevent muscular damage. For the elderly, strong muscles are even more important. They can protect against falls and allow the elderly to move through life with greater ease.
Balance is yet another skill that protects us from back pain and the potential of falls. You may be thinking, “How could I ever balance my entire body on a single limb?” While it may seem impossible now, through yoga, you can achieve it!
Just as yoga improves flexibility and strengthens muscles, it helps with your balance, too. Yoga strengthens the muscles that hold your spine erect and maintain good posture.
Turns out, posture is directly related to balance. People with poor posture tend to have poor proprioception. That’s the scientific word for your body’s self-awareness and ability to understand its location, movement, and actions. The better our proprioception, the better our balance.
Do you struggle to pay attention? Yoga can help. Studies show that people who practice yoga have better memory, quicker reaction time, and better IQ, too!
This is largely due to meditation practices that are taught in yoga. Through meditation, yogis learn to take control of their thoughts and clear their minds, a skill that results in better focus and enables them to be more present.
Couldn’t we all use better sleep? Life is busy and full of stressors. Not only does stress make us feel bad, but it affects our sleep, too. Poor sleep can lead to poor concentration, memory loss, impaired abilities, and even heart disease.
Yoga provides the rare opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Through yoga, you can learn deep breathing techniques and meditation practices that can help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. This, combined with a CBD sleep supplement like CBD gummies, can help you achieve your best sleep yet.