If you are new to yoga then you’ve probably heard how good a regular yoga practice can be for your health. I started practicing yoga to help with my chronic low back pain and found the many health benefits of yoga for back pain relief, but what I also started to realize was that the rest of my body was feeling better than I could ever remember as well. Not only was my chronic low back pain going away but I was getting stronger, more flexible, and more mentally aware than I’d ever been before.
Common Health Benefits Of Yoga
Aside from the physical relief you are going to feel from the pain in your back, sticking with a regular yoga practice is going to start healing all other parts of your body that are directly responsible for how good your overall physical and mental health is.
1. Helps Heal Lower Back Pain
This is the number one reason a lot of people today begin a yoga practice. Most of us sit down for the majority of the day which can cause weakness and tension in our lower back and core muscles. Since yoga incorporates a lot of postures that work your core, yoga builds a strong core and relieves pain in your lower back due to conditions like sciatica.
2. Builds Strength
Yoga requires you to hold your entire body weight in positions that you might not be very used to doing, like Downward Dog. Constantly moving and lifting your body requires the use of every muscle group in your body at once. When your entire body is flexed and under pressure for a few breaths the heat will begin to build and there is no doubt you will get stronger.
3. Tones and Increases Definition in Muscles
As you are building strength in your muscles you are also burning tons of calories if your practice includes a high-intensity yoga workout like DDP Yoga. Since you are burning fat while building lean muscle your body will start to tone out and your muscle definition will increase drastically.
4. Supports Healthy Joints
I never realized I needed a low-impact workout until I started practicing yoga. Exercises like running, jump training, and sometimes weight training can be really hard on your joints if you are getting older, recovering from an injury, or just have accumulated pain from years of neglect like me. Yoga focuses on slow, intentional movements that have almost no impact on your joints but build the muscles and heal the cartilage in and around the joints.
5. Improves Flexibility
Most people probably know that yoga increases flexibility but might have the wrong reason as to why. Yoga is much more than being able to bend down and touch your toes; it is a practice that loosens and builds heat in all your muscles from your head to your toes. With a regular yoga practice you can expect greater flexibility in your neck, back, hips, shoulders and legs that have gotten tight from years of inactivity.
6. Improves Balance
In the first few times that you go through an entire yoga routine you might find that you are falling over and having to come out of some of the postures because you are losing your balance. This is normal. Because the muscles that your body uses to help you stay balanced are weak and untrained before you start practicing yoga, unfortunately you are going to have to fall down a few times until your muscles are stronger. Your core muscles have a lot to do with your balance in standing and inverted postures so as you progress through your yoga practice your core will get stronger and your balance will improve.
7. Calms the Mind
As you move through your yoga routine your breath and your movements sync up and it becomes a moving meditation that allows you to rid yourself of things like stress and anxiety. Also, including days in your practice for restorative and meditative yoga is a great way to help you find relief from stress and tension in your body by completely relaxing the body and mind.
8. Teaches Steady Breath
No matter what type of yoga practice you begin with you are going to do a lot more breathing than you are probably used to. When you take time to focus on your breath during your practice it allows you to take deeper and slower breaths. Yoga combines high-intensity movements with slow, focused breaths which helps you learn to breathe through stressful situations that might arise in your daily lives.
Practicing Yoga For Back Pain Relief
So what is it about yoga that has those that practice it on a consistent basis raving about how good it is for your health?
My experience with yoga has been a very westernized version where it more resembles a high-intensity workout that you see in most vinyasa yoga classes. Because a moving yoga practice has the potential to increase your heart-rate to levels that are equal doing high-intensity cardio, a regular yoga practice is going to get you in shape. The amount and types of food you eat are going to determine how lean you get but consistently coming back to your mat will make you stronger no matter what.
Finding and sticking with a yoga routine that incorporates all aspects of the health benefits listed above is going to be the best thing that you have ever done for yourself. The more you continue coming back to your mat the stronger you are going to become and the healthier you are going to feel. Not only will yoga help heal your back pain but it also improves all other areas of your life.
What is your favorite health benefit that you get from practicing yoga?
Stick With It!