Some of you might have a regular yoga practice and it is likely that you have experienced the benefits of yoga for yourself. That is probably the reason why you are still doing it because you know that it works. You might or might not be wondering – how does yoga actually work?

So, today, we want to share with you some of the insights into how yoga works.

Yoga is a very ancient practice that was developed thousands of years ago in India. Interestingly, originally yoga was developed for men, as a way to prepare the body and mind, to bring them into balance on the path to enlightenment or liberation. In every human being, there is primordial energy, called Kundalini, that resides at the base of the spine and for most people it lies dormant. If it starts to awaken without proper preparation, it can create havoc in the body and mind, so yoga helps to prepare body and mind gently for that awakening. So, originally, yoga was a spiritual practice.

Commonly, in the West, yoga is understood as an exercise system for health and fitness, so basically only one component of yoga (actually two – asana and breathing) were taken out of yoga and brought into the west. But yoga is much more than just an exercise. Broadly speaking, yoga is a way of life. It refers to harmony between the mind, body and breath and eventually harmony with one’s environment and the planet. If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you might have noticed, that not only you have fewer aches and pains and you are much calmer but also that you are now, probably, making better (healthier) choices for your yourself in life, whether it comes to relationship with food, people or things. This is the effect of yoga.

There are obvious and scientifically proven benefits of yoga. On the practical, physical level, the main benefits of yoga are relaxation and stress relief. If the body and mind are constantly under stress, the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that are released into the body cause inflammation, which is manifested as anxiety, depression, immune deficiency and all sorts of health issues.

Yoga brings everything into balance. How does it do that? It happens in a few ways.

  • Improved communication between brain and body

    Firstly, through postures and movements nerve flow from the brain to organs and back is improved. Better flow of nerve supply to the brain means that we respond to external, as well as internal stimuli’s faster, so we are able to better cope with change and stress, able to adapt to new environment, so deal with stress better.

  • Increased flow of blood and oxygen

    Secondly, movements and breathing increase blood flow and oxygen, which results in better functioning of the organs, which means we stay healthier for longer and generally the life of the body is prolonged. 

  • New neural pathways

    Next, yoga creates new neural pathways. How does that happen? We are body-mind system. They are interconnected. The state of the mind is reflected in the body and vice versa. In class, we use the mind to control the body. For example, when we hear new instruction, like “take your right hand and bring it behind the back of the head, then draw your right knee up and over the chest” – when you hear this instruction for the first time, the brain has to create new neural pathway. Over the time, this process is automated and you don’t need to think about it. But in our (Yogahealth classes) we always introduce new movements and we find ways to explain the same movements differently, so that the brain keeps learning and keeps creating new neural pathways. 

  • Balancing left and right brain hemispheres

    Yoga also helps to balance left and right brain hemisphere – through specific breathing techniques and movements. What that means is that there is a better communication between logical and intuitive parts of your brain, so you are able to use more of your brain, expanding your capabilities. Bet

  • Body alignment and improved posture

    On the physical level, the practice of yoga helps to lengthen your spine, and stretch and strengthen your back muscles, bringing your body into alignment, improving posture, which means there are fewer aches and pains in those vulnerable parts of the body, like neck and lower back, few headaches and fewer injuries.

So, yoga brings mind, body and breath into balance, so that we become integrated, harmonious whole. When we are integrated and whole, our movements are smooth, free flowing, the mind is clearer and the breath is deeper and slower. This lessens occurrence of injuries, slows down ageing process and allows us to enjoy life, which means living life fully and with JOY (that is what ENJOY life means), rather than just making our living. So, the benefits are obvious and the choice to continue with your yoga practice is up to you. We trust you are making the right choice by continuing with your yoga practice, or if not, start your yoga practice now😊.

By the way, you can go deeper into the mechanics, theory and physiology of yoga in our yoga Teacher trainings, so if you are interested, feel free to email us. That’s it for today. I  hope this has been of some benefit to you and if you have any questions, comments, please post below.