Hot Yang Yoga – The path to physical & physiological serenity

With more and more people embracing and practicing hot yoga this week I thought I would outline the benefits of yoga in general on the body, mind and soul.

As an aside I asked a few yogis for their opinion on the greatest benefits to them personally since joining our classes at Yoga Republic and without exception and inspite of the obvious physical changes, weight loss, toning, flexibility, improved general heath and feeling of wellbeing…. Most agreed that the greatest benefit was their mental health. Learning how to focus on each pose and concentrate solely on breathing allows the human mind to empty itself and release pent up stress and negativity which in turn quickly heals an ailing body.

The benefits of yoga vary. Just as with any form of exercise, prayer practice or diet, the efforts made by the practitioner and the willingness to approach things with a positive attitude greatly affect the results.

Whether you’re trying yoga for the first time or a seasoned practitioner, there are many stages in which you can experience the benefits of yoga.

The body welcomes and requires active movement. Any form of stretching will help the body stay limber. However, the physical benefits of yoga, as reported by the millions of people who perform various types of asanas, are many. For example:

Better flexibility of the spine and joints
Increased flow of blood and oxygen
Stronger balance and straighter posture
Improved digestion
Toned and strengthened muscles
Reduction of toxins built up in the body
Heightened immune system response

Many yogis claim that regular practice can also greatly reduce the symptoms of a number of ailments, such as allergies, arthritis, chronic fatigue, thyroid disorders and weight problems–especially when practicing a vigorous routine such as Bikram yoga or power yoga. A gentle practice can improve the health of people suffering back pain, and many pregnant women claim that doing yoga helps prepare for labor.

Once the yoga poses become more familiar, practitioners begin to experience the benefits of yoga more experientially.

Through a dedicated and disciplined approach to yoga, many claim to experience:

Relief from stress
Improved ability for concentration
Greater capacity for joy, contentment and peace
Deeper relaxation and sleep
Expanded consciousness and awareness
Increased desire to live and eat more healthfully

There isn’t a great deal of scientific research to reinforce these mental benefits of yoga. But, it stands to reason that the positive factors researchers state general exercise provides would accompany a consistent yoga practice. And, it can’t be a coincidence that the deep breaths we’re advised to take in order to calm ourselves are similar to the breath foundation used to move into a yoga posture, also known as pranayama.

Although it is the hardest yoga benefit to evaluate, the very core of yoga is enhanced spirituality and the pursuit of a higher state of being. The practice of Kundalini yoga is rooted in awakening spiritual energy. The healing aspects of yoga therapy rely on connecting with the greater universal good for healing power. Even Nidra yoga, also known as “the sleep of the yogis,” encourages a yogi to explore the vast caverns of the mind in order to achieve peace and heightened awareness.

As with most things worth attaining, the spiritual benefits of yoga will not happen overnight. But your dedication to practice and respect for the gradual awakening of your body and mind will help you see the path more clearly.

Learn More about the Benefits of Yoga
If you can, take yoga classes from a certified yoga instructor, someone who will be a helpful guide to each level you’d like to attain.

Embrace yoga and reap whatever benefits you can. You will most definitely notice a difference in your physicality and emotional health with continued practice.