Most people think the only benefits of yoga are stretching and relaxation. Nothing could be less true. Besides flexibility and releasing tension, there are numerous of scientifically proven benefits connected to yoga.
Yoga enhances vitality, strength, posture, confidence, focus, awareness, peace of mind, endurance and mental health, to name a few. The list of benefits continues with a multitude of health issues yoga can heal and prevent.
But honestly, these advantages are still a little bit too obvious to me. I personally experienced even deeper changes on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I will share seven more unexpected benefits that yoga can bring about. Did you know…
1. Yoga Improves Brain Structure and DNA
“ Just as training the muscles, training the mind can help develop and strengthen certain parts of the brain
Practicing yoga can lead to benefits for the body, brain and even our DNA.
Just as training the muscles, training the mind can help develop and strengthen certain parts of the brain. Yoga entails more than just physical exercise. It also embodies meditation through the focused attention in the different postures. Therefore, yoga is considered a contemplative practice that includes physical, mental and spiritual activity.
Research shows that regular yoga practice develops positive change in the areas of the brain associated with awareness, attention and memory.
As we get older, usually the left prefrontal cortex of the brain gets thinner, which leads to memory loss, cognitive decline and changes in behavior. But forementioned study actually found a greater cortical thickness in a group of elderly yoga practitioners, compared to the control group of healthy non-practitioners.
Besides memory, different studies also conclude that mind-body activities like yoga can actually benefit us on a DNA level.
Our genes regulate the production of inflammatory proteins, that can be enhanced as a result of unhealthy habits and chronic stress. Too much inflammation in the body can lead to serious health issues, like depression and cancer. Yoga and mindfulness have proven to have an opposing effect on the production of inflammatory proteins.
The traditional view on genetics is that we are mere products of our genes. But more recent research shows we actually have control over the self-regulation process of our cells. Our cells are responsive to environmental changes and can in fact alter their own DNA through epigenetics.
This discovery could mean that the health benefits of yoga can be long-lasting and even heritable to our next generation!
Read More About Epigenetics and Our Genes:
2. Yoga Benefits Personality
“ The more you practice yoga, the more you get in tune with your soul and its positive qualities
In day to day life, most of us operate from the ego–mind. We are great at planning, analyzing, discussing and solving problems. With the mind being in control most of the time, often comes judgement and attachment. The ego-mind focuses on survival and self-protection. This leaves the majority of people to operate from the negative polarity of the personality.
Being in this kind of survival mode all the time, makes people insecure, judgmental and divided. Even if we do our best to act friendly, unconsciously our thoughts are often competitive, envious and critical. It can be hard to recognize and admit that our mind is constantly estimating its chances of survival through this negative way of thinking.
Like mentioned before yoga is much more than just physical exercise and relaxation. It also entails getting to know oneself on a deeper level and becoming aware of our deepest thoughts and feelings.
Yoga creates space for our awareness to expand, which is necessary for this type of self-examination and transformation. Only through awareness we can change our perspective on life and consciously retrain the mind towards more positive qualities. When we are more at peace with ourselves, this will spontaneously influence our mindset and behavior towards others as well.
Yoga also benefits the connection with our true self, which is not the mind or our personality. Instead of identifying with our ego and thoughts, we can quiet the mind and all its judgement. Through focused attention on the yoga postures and the breath, we can learn to detach from the ego.
Our true self is always loving, compassionate and confident. It is the purest part of our self, that people also often call the higher self or the soul. The more you practice yoga, the more you can get in tune with your soul and its positive qualities.
3. Yoga Betters Sex Life
“ Even from a spiritual perspective yoga is about sex
So an important benefit of yoga is getting in touch with who we truly are. This definitely enables us to connect better with others as well. And connection is of course the most important reason two people have sex with each other, right?
Another effect of yoga is that we create a deeper connection to our own bodies. Every posture in yoga and the focus it requires allows to feel and explore the body on a more subtle level. This body awareness will have you more attuned with what it is you actually feel, need and want.
Loving and appreciating the body will make it easier to express desires more effectively in the bedroom as well.
These physical and emotional effects aside, even from a spiritual perspective yoga is about sex.
No matter gender, we all have masculine and feminine energies inside of us. The traditional and true intention of yoga, is to create balance between these energies in order to awaken Kundalini.
Kundalini is the ultimate life force we carry within ourselves and is awakened when masculine and feminine energies unite. Therefore Kundalini is often experienced as sexual energy.
Learn More About Sacred Sexuality:
But before running straight from the yoga studio to your sexual partner, think about the true purpose of sex itself. When man and woman physically unite, new life can be created. So the aim of yoga is indeed to evoke sexual energy, but merely for the reason to then transmute this into creativity and manifestation. It is even said that the greatest inventions were made by the motivation of sexual desire [Napoleon Hill, 2016].
4. Yoga Beats Unhealthy Habits and Addictions
“ The more you take care of your body, the less the urge for self-sabotaging behavior will become
Both the cure and cause of unhealthy habits lie in the connection between body and mind. They both influence our health and state of well-being. The health of the body is determined by our mental processes and vice versa. So when the body is addicted, the mind is also addicted. This makes it almost impossible to completely get rid of an unhealthy habit by willpower alone.
Abuse of drugs, alcohol, food or overindulgence in other unhealthy behavior, creates toxic energies. To protect its health, the body is able to break down toxins and eliminate them through urine, feces and sweat. But some residual toxicity can remain trapped in the body’s fat tissue and even be reactivated after years. This is why in periods of stress and mental instability, an addiction often reemerges.
The bright side of the body-mind connection is that we can actually clear our bodies completely from toxins through movement of the body. Purification and control of both body and mind are an important focus of the movements and breathing techniques of yoga. Studies show that besides reducing stress and anxiety – the main causes of addiction – yoga also purifies the body. The different postures of yoga are designed to help the body eliminate impurities and allow oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to flow better towards our organs.
Addictive behaviors often start as dissociation from the body and intense emotions. They serve as a distraction from the discomforts in life. But any type of addiction causes an even greater disconnection between mind and body. This leaves a person not having to feel the detrimental consequences of the addiction itself.
Like mentioned before, yoga actually restores the connection to the body and who we truly are. This enables someone to take back the control over body and mind and to actually feel what the body needs. Through an enhanced love for the body and oneself, the will to take better care of the body also grows. The more you take care of your body, the less the urge for self-sabotaging behavior will become.
5. Yoga Creates Perfect Health
“ Ever since I started to practice yoga, I haven’t had a single cold
If you watched the documentary Heal on Netflix, you know that every organ in the body can heal itself. The human body is naturally in a constant state of regeneration. This means that every seven years we are made up off completely new cells. The only reason we keep creating the same body and certain ailments, is because we operate from the same old mindset [Deepak Chopra, 1994].
The main cause of most diseases is stress, that causes chronic inflammation when build up in the body. Inflammation is a natural part of the immune system and can help to heal wounds and infections. But chronic inflammation does more harm than good. Like mentioned before, yoga reduces stress, relieves anxiety and reduces inflammation on a cellular level. Various studies show that yoga generally benefits the immune system in such a way that it will prevent illness overall.
On a personal note I have experienced this healing power of yoga in regards to heavy back pain. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t work anymore. With the practice of yoga, not only my back pain disappeared. I also haven’t had a single cold ever since!
The experts in Heal describe this as the beauty of healing. Once you begin to stimulate the immune system, healing goes way faster than the disease process itself.
Watch Heal Online Now:
6. Yoga Boosts Confidence
” True confidence does not mean a display of our egocentric life
The practice of yoga creates a deeper connection to our inner strength and guidance. Aligning daily life with soul purpose helps true confidence to grow and show us the way ahead.
True confidence does not mean a display of our egocentric life [Sri Chinmoy, 1976]. As long as you rely on the external world for validation and acceptance, confidence will not last. True confidence comes from within, and is a display of our inner light. It comes when we are free of fear and self-doubt and dare to show the world who we truly are.
Yoga brings focus, clarity of mind, stress-relief and awareness of body and mind. These benefits all boost self-confidence and diminish self-doubt. Knowing you can be in control of personal growth, automatically increases self-confidence as well.
Another key aspect of yoga is the need to focus on balance, postures and breathing. This minimizes external distractions and the need to compare to others. Inner confidence will grow, since there is simply no time to worry about how we look or what others might think. The clarity of mind that yoga brings, helps to detach from any doubts, discomforts and negative self-talk.
7. Yoga Awakens Spiritual Powers
“ Although people are often born with certain gifts, I believe that anyone can develop a sixth sense
Last but not least, yoga is very close related to the development of actual spiritual powers. Think of visions, astral projection, telepathy and receiving messages from Spirit.
With the development of yoga in the West and the focus on the physical benefits, it is often forgotten that yoga is a spiritual practice. Its aim is to bring about enlightenment and awaken the third eye, which provides perception beyond the ordinary senses.
People often think that these gifts are reserved for psychics and mediums alone. But in the Yoga Sutras it is stated that all spiritual powers come by themselves through a life of purity. This is another of yoga’s benefits that I have experienced in person.
I began to receive visions, messages and prophetic dreams through yoga and the purification of my body. Although people are often born with certain gifts, I believe that anyone can develop a sixth sense. This is because the sixth sense is closely related to intuition, which we all have.
In The Art of Dreaming the development of lucid dreaming – another spiritual power – is defined as perfecting the energy body. This describes perfectly what it entails to connect to our intuition. The energy body is the body of our soul, and intuition the way it communicates.
All You Need To Know About Lucid Dreaming:
It is scientifically proven that we have more than just our mind and body that determine how we function. We actually have a second brain in the region of our abdomen, that operates independently from the central nervous system. It does not produce any conscious thoughts, but enables us to feel and perceive the more subtle inner world. Hence the expression of the gut feeling.
One of the physical benefits of yoga is purification of the mind and body, including the gut. This creates space to connect to the more subtle energies within and to our intuitive abilities.
Another key role is played by the third eye, which is not just a spiritual concept. The pineal gland – located deep in the center of the brain – is responsible for the production of melatonin, serotonin and DMT. Under its influence we are able to have psychic visions, higher consciousness and experiences of bliss and oneness.
Excessive calcification, due to exposure to radiation, chemicals and fluoride, can prevent the pineal gland from functioning properly. This is when we experience insomnia and depression, because we are literally cut off from Source.
So again purification, through yoga, meditation and living a more healthy lifestyle in general, can lead to unimaginable benefits.
About the Author:
Naomi is a certified yoga teacher, healer, writer and founder of The Healing Yoga Course, powered by SoulSouplesse.com.
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