Where did yoga come from?
Yoga first originated around 5,000 years ago in the Indus Valley Civilisation, located around northern India. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’, meaning ‘to unite’, and is based in very sacred ancient texts.
Yoga has evolved throughout this 5,000 year period, but its core focus has always been the importance of one’s physical body to promote wellness and enlightenment.
Today, yoga isn’t just a religious practice. Despite coming from deeply religious roots in south Asia, yoga is only getting more and more popular in the west, and it’s easy to see why when there are so many benefits!
Yoga increases your flexibility
You may have seen some yoga poses before and thought, ‘there’s no way I’m flexible enough to do that!’, but that might not necessarily be true. There are varying intensity levels to yoga. Even the lowest intensity positions have been proven to increase flexibility, based on research in subjects who performed only one 90 minute session of yoga per week over six weeks. This only makes yoga even more beneficial, as you do not have to dedicate a substantial amount of time to it in order to notice results.
So, with regular sessions (even if it’s only once a week), you can be sure that yoga will make a difference to your flexibility, even if you’re a complete beginner.
Yoga improves your mental health
Yoga is often associated with meditation and mindfulness practices; however, you might be surprised to know that there is scientifically backed evidence to prove that yoga does have a positive effect on your mental health.
In a study conducted in 2017, a group of people who had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) carried out regular movement-based yoga and breathing exercises over a 12-week period. Within this timeframe, depressive symptoms decreased in the participants to such an extent that yoga and breathing exercises are now considered an effective alternative treatment to depressive disorders.
So, not only does yoga improve your physical health, but it can also be a great way to keep control of your mental health!
Yoga will boost your immunity
As well as mitigating symptoms of depressive disorders (including anxiety and stress), there is also evidence to suggest that yoga can really boost your immunity. Poor stress levels are known to affect your immune system negatively, so it stands to reason that, as yoga improves stress levels, it could have a positive effect on your immunity too.
However, yoga also helps to boost your immunity by improving your respiratory system and blood circulation. Optimal respiratory health and circulatory system are also significant factors in the strength of your immunity, meaning that practising yoga is a great all-around activity to not only improve your health but your protection against illness too.
So, when are you going to add yoga to your routine?
There are so many more benefits to yoga than what we’ve mentioned here, and the research is still fairly recent. However, it is clear that this age-old practice and its variations all have an overwhelmingly positive effect on your body and mind (no wonder it’s stuck around for 5,000 years!).
Yoga is also easy to practice regardless of your age, flexibility or fitness level. There are so many different types of yoga exercises to suit any ability level, so it really is a fantastic way to give your body some TLC.
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