Yoga is a great way to stay healthy, and it comes with a ton of health benefits. Unlike workouts, yoga offers health (both physical and mental) through simple postures.
You have to have a perfect posture for each pose, a lot of practice, and patience.
In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know as a beginner.
These are the most asked questions about yoga. So, let’s get started and find the answers to all of these.
What is yoga?
The word yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit language. It is a variation of the word “yug” which means to unite. Yoga, therefore, means something that brings together or unites the mind and the body.
It is old as five thousand years and has its origins in India.
People associate it with something for physical well being but yoga is much more than that. It is something that promotes well being on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
Is yoga an exercise?
Yoga is not specifically an exercise, neither does it has its origins in the same.
But, some of its postures that focus on physical work are adapted in workouts. Different people have different reasons for doing yoga, some may start it for the physical benefits, and some for the mental and meditative part.
With that, I would like to add that yoga has a lotttttt of health benefits. Yoga leads you to a completely healthy lifestyle.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga offers different benefits to different people depending upon what they do and how their bodies are. In a general sense, there are some physical and mental health benefits of yoga.
Let’s see what are those.
Physical benefits of yoga.
Physical benefits of yoga are the physical or bodily improvements in a person practicing yoga.
One of the greatest physical benefits of yoga is that it increases flexibility. Yoga postures and poses get your body to move in different ways and hence improve the flexibility of joints.
It is one of the health benefits of yoga that most people don’t know. Yoga helps to tone and strengthen muscles as you practice some yoga postures.
Yoga postures make you sit, stand, and lay down in ways you actually should. So, when you sit with your back straight while practicing a pose, you are likely to get habitual of it and sit like that normally, as well. And, when you do so, you are lifting strain from your back, neck joint, and shoulders, etc.
A poor posture can be the cause of several joint problems as you age. It is one of the everlasting benefits of it. You maintain a great posture even if you don’t practice yoga regularly.
Improved Body Balance
A better posture means greater body balance. And, a better balance means fewer falls and therefore a lower chance of an injury. Tree pose is one of the best postures for body balance.
Better Bone and Joint Health
Some postures make you lift your weight and therefore strengthen your bones and joints. Moreover, different postures help to protect the spinal cord as well. The bones and joints related benefits of it are great indeed.
Increases Blood Flow and Controls Blood pressure.
Yoga postures help the blood to flow better. It also makes more oxygen to reach the cells. It boosts the hemoglobin levels and the number of red blood cells. It also makes the blood thinner making it flow easily and therefore controlling the blood pressure as well. Circulatory benefits of yoga include a decrease in the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
Controls Blood Sugar
Another thing that adds to the physical benefits of yoga is that it controls the blood sugar levels of the body by improving insulin sensitivity. It also helps to manage weight, control adrenalin levels, and boost the good cholesterol while lowering the bad one. Some yoga postures decrease the risk of diabetic complexities like heart attack etc.
Increases Lung Capacity
It puts great emphasis on breath, it makes you take fewer but deeper breaths. It promotes complete breathing with maximum volume intake and exhaling efficiently. In simple words, you inhale a greater volume of air and this will gradually increase the lung room and capacity.
It calls for breathing through the nose, this prevents harmful air from entering your lungs.
Releases Tension and Pain
Several places in your body hold tension, and one of the best benefits of yoga is that it makes you realize where that stress is and helps you get rid of it.
It is easy to release tension and pain from smaller muscles, and it can take up to a year to do the same for larger muscles.
Yoga postures have your body, organs, and tissues moving, therefore, facilitating lymphatic functions. Lymph is a fluid that has immune cells. A greater flow of lymph means a better immune system.
Also, it is one of the meditative benefits of it, as well. It helps the body’s immune system to act according to the need.
Mental benefits of yoga.
Mental benefits of yoga are the mental or mind related improvements in a person practicing it.
Helps You Concentrate
One of the greatest meditative and mental benefits of yoga is that it enhances coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ levels. It helps you focus on what you do. Postures call for focusing on the breath and therefore increase concentration in general.
Promotes Better Mood and Mental Peace
Some postures enhance mood and make you feel happy. Exercise is also a mood lifter but here, the meditative benefits of it tend to provide you inner peace and hence make you happy on the outside. It also makes you happy by making you feel good about yourself.
Some postures, particularly those with a meditative side help to attain mental and physical relief from all the stress. It helps you get relaxed and therefore promotes better sleep.
Gives Inner Strength
Some postures improve muscle strength but, almost all the yoga postures can give you inner strength. It makes you better in all ways.
The inner heat that is developed through constant practice is something that helps you to continue it. ( If that makes sense to you.)
Encourages Better Living
It can help you eat less and move more, it can promote an active and healthy lifestyle. The emotional and spiritual benefits of it are so effective that they can encourage you to move towards better living. You may feel the need to eat healthily and move more on your own.
What are the 5 basic yoga postures?
Yoga has countless postures and variations on each pose. These are some basic yoga postures that you can start with.
Asana means yoga postures and poses.
The mountain pose (Tadasana)
This pose teaches you to be as steady as a mountain. The word ‘Tada’ means mountain and that is where it gets its name.
How to do it?
- Stand straight with your feet close to each other and hands on the sides.
- Lift your heels and try to balance on your toes.
- When you are on your toes and manage to balance yourself there, lift your arms above the head while inhaling.
- As you inhale, elongate your abdomen, and neck.
- It improves focus and concentration.
Tree pose (Vrikshasana)
The word ‘Vriksh’ means tree and this poses shows you the balance and steadiness of a tree.
How to do it?
- Stand with your left foot placed firmly of your right thigh. (inner side of the thigh)Keep the foot flat.
- Try to balance yourself while joining your hands exactly above your head.
- Look straight, and balance yourself in the pose for around a minute.
- It improves body balance.
- The pose helps to strengthen the legs and back.
Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
The word ‘Bhujang’ means snake and this posture teaches us the flexibility of a snake.
How to do it?
- Lay down on your stomach, with your hands at the sides, near your stomach.
- Keep your feet close to each other.
- Lift your upper body and hold it up with your hands. Keep your elbows straight, and make sure that the upper body weight is equally distributed to both the palms.
- Keep your face up and feel the stretch in your core.
- It improves the flexibility of the spine.
- The pose helps in strengthening the core and lower back.
The word ‘Sukh’ means happiness and this pose teaches us the meditative and spiritual side of the asanas.
How to do it?
- Sit on the floor with your legs crossed.
- Keep your spine straight.
- Place your hands on your knees.
- Relax your body and breath slowly.
(You can close your eyes while doing this.)
- The pose helps to improve focus and concentration.
- It makes you feel comfortable in the meditating position.
The pose is about being stress-free and relaxed like a child.
How to do it?
- Fold your knees and sit.
- Place your hips on your heels.
- Lower yourself towards the front and bring your hands forward by your side.
- Press your thighs against your chest and breathe lightly.
- It helps you relax.
- The pose helps to restore physical, mental, and emotional activeness.
Which is the best Yoga for beginners?
The above mentioned 5 basic yoga postures are best suited for beginners. You can start with these postures, master them, and then move to complex poses.
These postures seem easy but require a lot of practice for you to be able to learn to do these correctly.
Remember, it’s not about how much you do. It’s about how you do it.
What is the best time to do yoga?
The best time to practice it is in the morning before breakfast. Also, early evening, around sunset is a good time.
The difference in the timings may change what you achieve through it.
Morning practice makes you work better towards yoga. Whereas, evening practice helps remove the fatigue and makes you feel fresh and calm.
How often should a beginner do yoga?
For a beginner, two to three hours a week is excellent for practice. Spend more time learning the exact posture of all the postures you do.
The better the posture, the greater the benefits.
It is not as easy as it appears, if correct postures offer amazing health benefits, wrongly done poses can cause tremendous harm too.
Be careful and observe the changes you fell in yourself.
Ask us your issues and queries as a beginner in the comments section below.
Share if you find it useful.
All the best.