When it comes to the leisurely activities that you partake in to help maintain your sanity, you may think of going on a hike to catch the sunset or jogging at your local dog beach.
While these are all activities help to clear your mind and get your heart rate up, yoga may be the one activity that you never knew you needed in your life.
Your first memory of yoga may have been from Eat, Pray, Love, where Elizabeth Gilbert goes on a self-seeking quest for healing, and finds solace in yoga and meditation.
Beyond just a Hollywood-glamourized practice, yoga is known to have numerous benefits for your mind, body, and soul.
Here are five science-backed reasons why you need to add yoga into your daily routine.
1. Release your stress after an eventful day
In this day and age, we are connected with our devices and access to social media more than ever. There is a constant influx of information flowing to our brains to process and retain. There are social media detoxes, where people unplug from technology for a weekend. Yoga is equivalent to a social media detox, but you can practice it on the daily!
When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels are high. It’s the feeling of when you first wake up and immediately retreat to your emails and list of things you have to do. Your stress levels experience a spike from zero to 100. Yoga has been shown to help decrease your cortisol levels, which is the primary stress hormone.
2. Relieves your depression and anxiety
There is no better time to discuss self-care than now. Whether or not you agree that social media contributes to more children and adults feeling depressed or have anxiety, there’s no denying that there is a need for something to alleviate emotional stress, pain, or suffering.
Depression or anxiety is more common than you think, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling the way you feel. It can either be due to triggers from the past or current circumstances. Some studies have shown that yoga has the same effect as an antidepressant. Besides lowering your cortisol levels, meditation, a practice that is a part of yoga, helps you shift your focus to the present and not the past or current circumstances.
3. Helps to prevent chronic inflammation
When it comes to how your body reacts, inflammation is a normal immune response. Chronic inflammation, however, is not. This can either manifest itself through fatigue, fevers, mouth sores, or abdominal pain. Chronic inflammation can essentially lead to developing certain cancers, diabetes, and more.
A previous study demonstrated that those who practiced yoga had less inflammatory than those who did not. By practicing yoga on a daily, you can protect yourself against inflammatory diseases in the future.
4. Reduces chronic pain in your body
When you stroll down the street as pass by a yoga studio and see a group of women posing, it’s not just for fits and giggles. Yoga has been shown to reduce chronic pain in your body. If you have a running history of arthritis in your family or have carpal tunnel as a result of working on your computer too much, yoga may do the trick. If your back is hurting as a result of playing a sport or you’re experiencing cramps as a result of Mother Nature’s monthly gift, all of the stretching in yoga can help to reduce the pain in your body.
You’re not only stretching out the tense muscles in your body, but building upper body strength while you’re at it.
5. Improve sleep quality and overall quality of life
Sleep quality is correlated to your quality of life. Recount back how many Monday mornings you had where you had to go to work after a night of trying to serenade the baby to sleep.
Maybe you have insomnia, and find yourself tossing and turning in your bed while everyone else has fallen asleep. Maybe you do fall asleep, but wake up every couple of hours or never manage to reach actual REM sleep. Yoga may be what you need in your life.
A previous study demonstrated that those who practiced yoga fell asleep faster, and were more well-rested than those who did not. Yoga can help to improve your sleep quality better than what it already is, and essentially, allow you to lead a better quality of life.
Have you experienced the transformative effects of yoga in your life? Share your thoughts below in the comments!