Yoga is definitely not something that comes to the mind of the average Nigerian when they consider taking up a fitness routine. People who have heard about yoga actually think that it is a kind of religion where the followers mostly meditate and chant “Ohmmmm”, or contort their body in different ways. Their assumptions are not far-fetched; although it is not a religion, it is indeed a spiritual, mental, and physical practice extremely beneficial to mental and physical health.
Yoga is not very popular in the country (there are not as many yoga centers around the big cities as gyms or dance studios), it has been around for ages. Its benefits have only just become increasingly popular, as many are starting to realise that it offers a lot more to the body and mind than just increased flexibility and muscle strength.
Are you wondering what these benefits from yoga are, and why you should join the #yogalife gang?
Over the years, studies have shown that yoga actually can help boost a person’s immunity at a cellular level, and it does this through changes in gene expression. Our immune system consists of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body and fight off infections and diseases, so this sounds almost incredible as the exercise seems mostly eternal and nothing is literally absorbed into the system. Research has, however, also shown that this particular benefit of immunity boost can be experienced rather quickly, sometimes while you are still on the mat. Certain yoga postures, such as wheel pose, head stands, straddle ford bend and downward dog, imply that your head is below the heart for some time. This helps lymph move into your respiratory organs, a channel for most germs and infections into the body. When you get back upright, gravity drains the lymph and cleanses out your system. This in turn, strengthens your internal defence system, boosting your ability to fight off disease.
Tones the Body
A toned body oozes a level of sexiness which no one can truly ignore. Thanks to yoga, you do not have to be on the treadmill or elliptical for hours or necessarily carry weights for days to achieve this. Like a push-up or a pull-up, yoga only uses your own body weight as resistance. For the ladies, yoga won’t make you bulk up either. It will, instead, give you a nice, lean figure.
Yoga postures, such as the four-limbed staff pose and the boat pose, work the muscles in the same way as standard push-ups or abdominal crunches – a great choice if toning is the desired result. You must keep in mind that, while some yoga styles will you help tone muscles, it may not necessarily help you shed weight.
Improves breathing pattern and respiratory health
Inhalers, air humidifiers, nasal sprays and eucalyptus oil are great, but yoga offers simple breathing practices that not only reduce stress, quiet your mind and connect you to your inner self, but also sets you on a path to great respiratory health. Certain yoga poses allow you to move your spine in ways that stretch and strengthen the muscles all around your upper torso. These poses help you support your respiratory system by keeping respiratory muscles strong and flexible. Again, yoga Asanas, breath awareness, and pranayama can help with managing mild asthma by improving breathing efficiency and decreasing inflammation.
Food is a major part of our lives as humans; we suffer such things as indigestion, cramping, bloating and constipation from time to time. No matter the culprit: too much food, or something more serious like irritable bowel syndrome, they can be absolutely no fun. While eating high-fiber and probiotic-rich foods can help reduce incidents of indigestion, practicing yoga can also benefit your digestive system by cleansing, stimulating, and regulating your bowels. A number of yoga poses, including peacock pose, wind relieving posture, seated forward fold, corpse pose, massage the internal organs and keep food moving along. It is not best to practice yoga right after a meal, though.
Better, hotter sex
Sex is a great way to pleasure the body and yoga is one way to enhance time spent between the sheets. First, Yoga makes you more flexible generally, making it easy for you to try and actually enjoy a lot of sex positions…especially complicated ones like head over heels, the erotic accordion, and the pinwheel. Furthermore, it helps reduce anxiety and increases body awareness and confidence – a precondition for great sex. Finally, it accelerates the release of hormones that boost arousal and increase blood flow to the genital area, which is important for erections in men. Women are not left out in this, as a study shows that yoga helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, leading to greater lubrication and more powerful orgasms.