How does practicing yoga benefit you? The first two benefits that come to your mind would be increase in flexibility and reduce stress levels. But that’s not all! Yoga has many many hidden benefits that you may not be aware of. I’m going to take this up as a challenge and share one benefit a day for the next two weeks to start with. I’ll top it up with a posture for every benefit!
Let me start with saying a few minutes of yoga everyday can do wonders to your body and mind. So if you haven’t already started then you must now! Spend at least 10 minutes every day to do a few sun salutations (surya namaskars) and Pranayama. Once you notice the positive change in yourself you’ll crave for more! Trust me on that one, that’s how I started my practice.
Here’s benefit number one:
YOGA HELPS YOU SLEEP BETTER.
If you are experiencing a lot of sleepless nights, you may be suffering from insomnia or other sleeping disorders like the restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. The effects of these disorders may include; drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, not refreshed after sleep and fatigue. Restful sleep is extremely necessary and an average adult requires around 8 hours of sleep a day.
Insomnia maybe caused by numerous reasons but the most common include; stress, depression, snoring partner and certain medications. According to University of Maryland Medical Centre, about 50% of insomnia cases have no identifiable cause.
Yogis use ‘Yoga Nidra’ or ‘Yogi Sleep’ to help relax the whole body and in order sleep better. To perform Yoga Nidra you need to first lay down in Shavasana (Corpse pose) with your feet slightly apart and palms facing up. Now concentrate and slow down your breath. Focus on every inhalation and exhalation and how your chest expands and falls in rhythm with the breath. Remember to breathe effortlessly during the process. To start with count your breath backwards from 10-0 and internally chanting ‘So’ when you inhale and ‘hum’ while you exhale.
Alternatively you could use an audio recording for practicing Yoga Nidhra, close your eyes in shavasana and follow the instructions. It’s just that easy and takes only ten minutes! Here’s a link for you to get started, http://total-yoga.org/guided-meditations/
Do write back if you have more to add to this blog or if you have a benefit of your own that you would like to share! Feedback always welcome:)
Shwetha Seshadri: Yogi, Kindergarten Teacher and graphic designer
Total Yoga is a balanced style of Yoga that focuses on Fitness training and Mindfulness practice equally.