7 Ways Yoga Increases Wellbeing
7 Ways Yoga
The power of the mind.
Yoga uses movements of the body and focusing of the mind as a way to increase wellbeing, to heal our bodies, and make us stronger on and off the yoga mat. I believe that yoga has the power to help aid in healing various physical or mental ailments. An open mind will increase the power of the practice even more.
Ever heard of the placebo effect? It alludes to the power of the mind - it’s the idea that merely thinking you might be doing something that’s good for you, can produce positive effects. I don’t think yoga is a placebo, I think it actually will help you, it’s just wonderful that simply having an open mind can help speed things along!
Here are 7 ways yoga can increase wellbeing:
1. Greater Focus
In this very visual age of Instagram yogis the fact that yoga is really about stilling the movements of the mind gets a little forgotten. Though, intentional breathing exercises, pranayama and meditation have just as much a part to play as our down dogs and handstands.
With practice at grounding the mind on the breath, we increase our ability to focus more acutely for longer periods of time. Which, off the mat, can improve productivity, attention, and balance to our minds’ multi-tasking nature.
2. Increase Joint Mobility
A well-rounded yoga practice will move all joints of the body in each’s full range of motion – thereby increasing blood circulation and oxygen to the area. Yoga can alleviate stiffness by keeping your joints lubricated with oxygenated blood and synovial fluid.
Already have good joint mobility? Yoga helps with joint stability, too, by strengthening the muscles around the joint which takes pressure off your joints to help keep them healthier over the long run.
3. Improves Flexibility
People mistakenly believe that if they’re not flexible, they can’t do yoga. That’s because the people they see doing yoga, look flexible. But – aha! – they’re probably flexible because they’re doing yoga. If you can’t touch your toes in class, bend your knees! The poses will work even if you never do them “perfectly” (whatever that means).
4. Builds Strength
Yoga builds strength through weight bearing poses as each student holds up his or her own body weight – which might not be super difficult in mountain pose (tadasana) – but takes on a whole other, more difficult, meaning in plank or low plank (chaturunga dandasana)! Think yoga is all about flexibility? Think again – it definitely makes you stronger too.
5. Better Bone Health
6. Develops Good Posture
Yoga moves the spine in all directions, including backbends, which is the perfect antidote to our extensive forward movement nowadays: looking down at phones, reaching forward for the steering wheel, and sitting at desks on computers. One of my teachers said in class that we do backbends in yoga not to get better at backbends, but more so that we can just counteract the forward bending we do in order to be able to stand upright as we age. And I can buy into that goal (as I sit…reaching forward…to type this).
7. Sense of Belonging
Yoga has been practiced for over 5,000 years and has grown a ton in the US over the last few decades. The yoga studio environment creates a space for cultivating community for those that have found the benefits of yoga and want to share in that journey together. Studies have shown that people who feel like they have a community, a place where they feel like they belong, can increase mental wellbeing.
My vision for The Yoga Zen is to be a place where people feel seen, cared about, and like they belong. I hope for it to be a place where our students and staff alike can feel that sense of community and encourages wellbeing – one yoga pose or intentional breath at a time!
Shanti (peace) -