Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are known to make people healthier and happier, but how do they actually help improve our lives? Is it all in people's heads, or do the exercises have real effects on our minds and bodies? Good news: yoga and meditation have been scientifically proven to be beneficial for things like chronic back pain, overall heart health, and mental health. Read below to find out more!

Physical Benefits

One of the most noticeable benefits of yoga is its ability to improve your posture, balance, and flexibility. Yoga is all about putting your body in different positions and stretch, stretch, stretching. Even if you think you're too inflexible to ever do a split again, yoga lessons a couple of times a week may change your mind.

In fact, with all the stretching that yoga incorporates, it turns out that yoga helps with chronic back pain because its movements promote spinal flexibility. Gentle yoga is also great for arthritis, with participants moving through slow, easy poses that benefit the joints, bones, and muscles.

Suppose you have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In that case, yoga can be greatly beneficial because it incorporates movements and poses that massage the internal organs to help food move through your digestive system. Yoga also stimulates the lymphatic system that flushes toxins out of your body; that same system protects you from illness and disease, making yoga a great immune system booster. Because meditation is a great way to reduce your stress levels, meditation also helps ease stress-related IBS flares.

Both yoga and meditation are good for overall heart health. Yoga is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease because of its cardiovascular benefits that help eliminate arterial plaque. Meditation lowers your heart rate and improves blood circulation. Meditating for ten minutes a day can lower your blood pressure and reduce your stress levels.

Another condition that yoga can help alleviate is a case of chronic migraines. Specific poses target the neck and shoulders for relaxation; tension builds up in these muscles as we go throughout our day, especially if we're hunched over a computer for eight hours. These bunched muscles can lead to migraines, so one of the most effective ways to fight migraines off is by eliminating their source.

Meditation can help you regulate and process emotions effectively by giving you a figurative sense of clarity and improving your physical brain. Meditation improves your brain's grey matter concentration, which then improves your ability to learn and retain information.

Mental Benefits

One of the other most famous benefits of yoga and meditation is the way each improves your emotional and mental health. Both practices enhance cognitive-behavioral performance and relieve symptoms of mood swings, depression, and anxiety. If you practice yoga in a group setting, your chances for a mood boost are even higher: being with other people stimulates the body's production of oxytocin and serotonin, which are the love and happiness chemicals in your brain.

It's been suggested that doing yoga twice a week can greatly improve sleep quality by lowering anxiety. Meditation clears your mind and relaxes your body so that you can get the best night of sleep possible.

Yoga and meditation are both good practices for the person trying to lose weight, not because either activity burns a lot of calories or builds a lot of muscle (though some yoga practices do that as well), but because they both teach the life skill of mindfulness. As people become more aware of the signals in their bodies, they'll be less likely to over-indulge in food that's unhealthy for them, and reduced stress levels will help prevent emotional eating. Weight loss is about a state of mind, and yoga/meditation proves that.

Mental and physical health are very closely intertwined. Incorporating yoga and meditation into your routine can improve both areas of your life and make you a healthier, happier you.