Benefits of Consistent Yoga

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. ~BKS Iyengar

Many are well aware of potential benefits to practicing yoga, even if you never stepped on a yoga mat you may have an idea about yoga providing one with more strength and flexibility and even a calmer mind. Yes, of course those are benefits to be had; however, yoga can also offer much more if we give it the time and space to do so.

Being that we live in a fast-paced, instant gratification society, it does require a degree of discipline and commitment to sustain a yoga practice. Although how consistent the practice is may vary from person to person, one of my teachers suggests committing first to just 40 days of daily practice even if it’s only ten minutes. Another suggestion could be three days a week for three months. The point here is finding something that works for you and following through.

It’s best to start a yoga practice with an open mind (and heart), free of any limiting expectations. With that said, find the list below as a way to spark your curiosity about yoga rather than expecting to reach these benefits of practicing in X amount of time. The joy of yoga is in the process of never reaching a precise destination. If you already have a consistent yoga practice, you just might find yourself experiencing some of the benefits below, among many others.

1. Better rest

This is at the top of the list because it is directly related to how I first found yoga. The first yoga practice I ever had was via VHS circa 1999 and it was a relaxing, evening practice. It was simple and maybe all of 30 minutes, but it helped me sleep. Modern science is up to speed with the fact that exercise in general improves quality of sleep; however, yogis have known this all along. By moving the physical body, focusing on the breath and drawing the senses inward, yoga can be a great way to prepare the body for deep, rejuvenating sleep.

2. Improved digestion

In the USA especially, our digestion systems are overworked and underpaid. Even those eating on time and healthy home-cooked meals with minimal processed food still have daily stresses that can hinder our digestive capabilities. Yoga asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises) work at a pranic (energetic) level to clear toxins and increase our digestive fire. They don’t call it “wind-releasing” pose for nothing people!

3. Increased awareness of body in space

It’s called proprioception, but why should we care about it? Besides the point that it is essential to get into that one asana we’re working towards, it also helps in any other body-centered activities that we may partake in. Take surfing for example, the balance that we gain in our yoga practice will help when we go to stand up on moving surfboard. It also helps to prevent injuries, regardless if it’s on or off the mat.

4. Breath awareness

The average adult takes 16-20 breaths per minute, that’s according to a well-known textbook (Bates’ Guide to Physical Exam and History Taking, 10th Ed.). The majority of the time, we are not aware of how the breath is moving in and out of the body, yet we are completely dependent upon this process. Furthermore, our thoughts and feelings are influenced by the movement of the breath, as well as the reverse. Breathing exercise learned through yoga can provide us with great tools for our daily lives, whether to help us wake up in the morning, calm the mind or cool down on a hot summer day. A dear teacher of mine once said, “Don’t worry about your emotions. Regulate your breath first and your emotions will come under your regulation.”

5. Increase in intuition

Have you ever wondered about the mystery behind “gut feelings?” Well, without jumping over the esoteric cliff, I can say that since starting a consistent practice I feel more connected to myself and my intuitive thoughts and feelings. This is no coincidence. Yogis have been working on the scientific approach to expanding awareness for thousands of years and this includes our awareness of body, breath, mind and consciousness. By working with our own awareness, we also simultaneously become more aware of the subtle messages that surround us. We can think of it as tuning into a radio station that was always there; we just didn’t have the right antenna until now.

Please feel free to share this with others who may be inspired to start practicing yoga. Generally, people find yoga for a variety of reasons and you could be that reason. Also, comment below on how you have personally benefited from yoga. I would love to hear from you.

What is Women’s Health
Sign Up for My Newsletter
Connect on Facebook