Benefits of a Consistent Yoga Practice
We are frequently asked by others about the benefits of yoga. They are almost too numerous to mention, but here is our attempt at a concise summary.
1. Physical benefits
- Your Nervous System: Almost universally, curious non-practitioners believe that one of the primary physical benefits of yoga practice is increased flexibility. This is undoubtedly true; however, the answer is much more fundamental and holistic than that. On a physical level, yoga asana practice (yoga postures) is designed to make the central nervous system vibrant and healthy. Since the nervous system directs all activity of the body-mind, if it is healthy and vibrant, than so are you. The consistent practice of yoga postures achieves this result by bending, lengthening, and twisting the spine so that it is flexible and supple.
- Your Digestive/Elimination System: Similar to the effects on the spine, the bending, twisting and lengthening actions of yoga postures massage and stimulate the internal organs of the digestive and elimination system (e.g., stomach, small intestines, liver, kidneys, and colon). This in turn promotes regular and effective digestion and elimination which is crucial to good health.
- Cardiovascular System: The ashtanga and vinyasa krama methods that we teach are physically rigorous and promote cardiovascular health and endurance. Many students have achieved significant weight loss through consistent practice. In addition, the specific breathing system employed cleanses and purifies the blood while improving the efficiency of oxygen delivery throughout the body.
- Strength, Flexibility, and Balance: Finally, the regular and consistent practice of the ashtanga and vinyasa krama methods will result in a body that is flexible, strong, and balanced. When coupled with a healthy diet, the system is a complete method to achieve holistic health.
2. Mental, Psychological, and Spiritual Benefits:
- The Body-Mind is one entity, and it is impossible to separate one from the other; thus, physical benefits are intertwined with those of the Mind. We often tell our students, “As the physical body opens, so do the Mind and Heart”. Consistent Yoga practice is a path of self-inquiry which is deeply psychological and helps to illuminate our individual strengths and weaknesses on both physical and mental levels. As we gain insight into ourselves through practice, we can begin to take those actions which leverage our strengths and minimize or eliminate our weaknesses. In short, our path to becoming better human Beings starts to emerge.
- Moreover, as we explain on our Philosophy page, consistent practice and attention toward the refinement and mastery of the breathing system is a powerful way to focus the mind and have it gradually settle into a quiescent state. Once the mind is calm, then clarity of thought and subsequent action can be achieved. The enormous benefits of directing and receiving the input and activities of your daily life through the lens of a focused and calm mind cannot be overemphasized. It truly affects all that you do and become.
- From a spiritual perspective, the path of self-inquiry is the journey that all past and present Enlightened Beings have taken regardless of religious background. Yoga is a powerful tool to assist on that journey. Its ultimate goal is a state of Mind which provides complete understanding and integration with All That Is. We look forward to walking with you on this path.