Benefits of Yoga

Hatha Yoga, the science of yoga postures of asanas, is taught from the standpoint of its benefits to the body in many schools. From this point of view, yoga postures as a system for achieving longevity and radiant health stands supreme.

Northern Baja California

Old age and sickness settle first in the joints and in the spinal discs. Medical studies have revealed that these spinal discs often begin to show signs of degeneration as early as thirty years of age. Yoga postures make the joints flexible, while they stretch and irrigate the spinal vertebrae — keeping them youthful even late into old age.

The postures promote the free flow of energy throughout the nervous system and assist in the elimination of toxins and poisons from the joints and other body parts, where these foreign elements tend otherwise to settle — sometimes permanently. These yoga postures exert a beneficial pressure on various glands and internal organs, flushing and stimulating them. Even a small amount of practice can produce amazing improvements in one’s general health. For these reasons Hatha Yoga is growing in popularity in the West, and growing very rapidly. Asanas are well on their way to becoming a fad.

Charles on Beach

However, more is involved in asanas than just the promotion of physical health. Through yoga postures one can improve his mental outlook, achieve a more harmonious emotional life, and develop more vital awareness.

Certain bodily postures are associated with certain mental attitudes. When one is discouraged, the body tends to stoop forward. When feeling stubborn, a person may jut his chin forward. Suppression of natural feelings can be indicated by holding in the upper part of the chest. Even the pattern of breathing is affected by one’s mental attitudes.

Just as mental attitudes affect the body, so also can bodily postures affect the mind. Tense stomach muscles can induce mental anxiety and a bent spine & slumped shoulders can induce moodiness. Yogis make use of these relationships and by inducing physical relaxation encourage serenity in a worried mind. Working on oneself physically to influence the mind is a simple undertaking, e.g., change the breathing pattern and one’s mental state may be changed as well. Yoga postures not only improve physical health and give stability to the emotional system, but they also create positive mental attitudes.

Yoga postures are very different from ordinary calisthenics. They emphasize relaxation as well as making one aware of tension. Unlike most physical exercise they do not excite; rather, they eliminate excitement from the system. A yoga pose is not “done” because the physical position has been assumed. It is resting in the pose that develops the physical health and calms the system. One acts always from a center of poise and calmness of mental and physical relaxation. One must never strain or force into the prescribed position.

Big Island, Hawaii, lava flow
In summary, the yoga postures are not only a series of physical positions, but exercises in mental awareness. The yogi is deliberate in every movement, feeling into every muscle. Only through conscious awareness of one’s own body can tensions be felt; and once felt, they can be eliminated by a systematic yoga program.

Benefits of Yoga

Charles at Taj Mahal

  • Alleviates stress
  • Increases muscle tone and flexibility
  • Develops strength and concentration
  • Energizes the nervous system
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Normalizes body weight
  • Eliminates toxins
  • Creates a greater sense of well-being
  • Promotes peace of mind
  • Preventative medecine
  • Slows down aging process
  • Meditation is better than medication
  • Rejuvenating to joints and muscles
  • A lot more fun than running around the block
  • Increases rate of healing for injuries
  • Increases circulation
  • Helps prevent many injuries
  • Balances hormones
  • Helps integrate all body systems
  • Improves sleep patterns
  • Promotes insight and intuition
  • Increases brain power
  • Helps create abundance on all levels
  • The benefits of yoga affect the yogi on all levels… physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.