1. Creating a toned & flexible body
How you look has an impact on how you feel, and vice versa. A youthful appearance is one of the many blessings of a consistent yoga practice. Yoga postures tone your muscles. When you add inner focus to your yoga stretches, there will be little or no chance of muscle injury. Besides, healthy, toned muscles have less chance of injury, and they hold your posture erect and give you a beautiful physique.
Rather than building muscle, yoga builds muscle tone. Because yoga helps to maintain a balanced metabolism, it also helps to regulate weight. Additionally, yoga stretches muscles lengthwise, causing fat to be eliminated around the cells, thus reducing cellulite.
Yoga can help you look and feel years younger than your age. In India, age is measured by the flexibility of the body and, especially, of the spine. The spine is the "switchboard" of your nervous system and the messenger to your brain. When the spine is flexible, the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and organs is unrestricted. Many yoga postures and exercises keep the spine flexible by gently twisting or flexing the spine in all directions.
3. Yoga as preventative health care
Yoga can simplify your health-care needs, especially if you make good nutrition and other health-conscious choices part of your everyday life. As many health-care plans are beginning to acknowledge, the most effective way to treat disease is to prevent it from occurring at all. It just makes goods sense to take care of your health, instead of waiting for a health crisis to make you pay attention to it.
4. Peace of mind & higher awareness
Yoga equals freedom: freedom from the load our minds often carry unconsciously. Once you make a habit of practising yoga, you'll become more aware of your mental processes. At the same time, you may notice how often your mind holds you back. It may be telling you, "I am not good enough to do that" or ?"This is not fair, so I'm going to withdraw (or fight)." Becoming aware of the way your mind thinks is the first step towards peace of mind.
After you've practised yoga for a while, you may have the courage to override any preconceived self-limitations. Once you do, and are successful, you will feel lighter. You may describe this feeling as peace of mind, or an acceptance of your life as it is, with all its challenges. Yoga can help you realize that challenges have their place. Yoga helps you to realize your potential, and encourages self-growth towards that potential. With this understanding comes peace of mind.
A heightened awareness of the senses and the ability to fully appreciate the richness and beauty of your natural surroundings is another bonus of practising yoga.
2. Less stress, more energy
Stress is an energy zapper. Enjoying life is an energy builder. This explains how a young office worker, who on Friday afternoon says she's exhausted and has no energy left, can go out on the town on Friday night and dance until dawn!
What does this have to do with yoga? Yoga gives you the tools to transform stress into energy. If you're wondering how (and since experience is the best teacher), let's try an actual yoga pose right now. Don't worry, it's an easy one - a simple forward stretch (Pascimatanasana).
Sit on the floor (use a mat if needed) with your legs stretched out in front of you. Inhale deeply through your nose and stretch your arms up while lengthening your spine and stretching upwards. Now exhale slowly and deeply, and bend the trunk forwards from the hips. Bring your arms down and hold on to your legs or ankles or toes if you can. Bend the hands at the elbow and stretch the trunk along the thighs and face rests on the knee if you can. Hold this position for about a minute with normal breathing. Every time you exhale, let your muscles relax a little more, and allow gravity to draw you even further forwards.
Now sit up straight and cross your legs. With your eyes closed, notice how you are feeling from the inside and become aware of your breath moving through your body. Do you feel different? How? As tension is released, can you feel how the subsequent relaxation circulates energy within your body and mind?
Confrontations at work or in everyday life can be very stressful - but drawing on your yoga practice will help you to handle difficult situations more easily.