5 Health Benefits of Practicing Yoga

The relaxation and exercise advantages of various yoga styles

Yoga can be a great workout or a way to relax; there are numerous styles to choose from. “Yoga is a good way to reconnect mind, body and spirit — to allow someone the resilience to face whatever stressors or obstacles come throughout the day,” says Poulina Uddin, MD, a Scripps Clinic cardiologist who teaches a weekly vinyasa yoga class for cardiac rehab patients.

If you have prior injuries, have had surgery recently, or have a specific health concern, check with your doctor or yoga instructor to find out which poses to avoid or modify.

Health benefits of yoga

Dr. Uddin says just about anyone can enjoy the benefits yoga has to offer.

1. Reduce stress and anxiety

“In the same way it improves strength, flexibility and resilience for the body, it does the same thing for the mind,” says Dr. Uddin.

2. Helps with sleep

People who practice yoga get more restorative sleep.

3. Increases flexibility and balance

Better flexibility and balance reduce the risk of falls, especially as we get older.

4. Helps establish a sense of well-being

“It’s a nice way for people to take an inventory of how their body feels overall, a chance to quiet the mind and reset or reconnect that mind-body connection,” Dr. Uddin adds.

5. Helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure

A 2016 study found that regularly practicing yoga lowers blood pressure slightly more than dietary changes.

How do you yoga?

Once you’ve found your slowest, deepest breath and mastered the basics of yoga, try stepping up your stretching and strengthening game with one of these alternative varieties.

  • Hot Yoga
  • Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga
  • Beach Yoga
  • Alternative Yoga (laughing, goat, baby, etc.)

This article was originally published on scripps.org.

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