Physical Benefits of Yoga Postures


 
“I joyfully manifest the power of God!” Virabhadrasana – Warrior Pose

The physical benefits of yoga postures are many. As a system for achieving longevity and radiant health, in fact, the postures stand supreme.

Yoga postures loosen joints, stretch and irrigate the spine, promote the flow of energy and fluids in the body and nervous system, and promote elimination of toxins. Postures also exert a beneficial pressure on various glands and organs, flushing and stimulating them. Many other specific benefits are given below.

Even more encouraging is that it doesn’t take a great deal of practice to realize these benefits. Even a little—say fifteen minutes every other day—can produce astonishing improvements in one’s general heath.

If you find your own practice falling off, try reading through this list again and see if something doesn’t re-inspire your efforts!

Bones

1. Increases circulation to bones, joints, and ligaments, especially in the spine, improving the health and structure of these tissues.

2. Increases bone density and enhances muscular support at joints to promote healthy movement.

3. Softens and stretches ligaments, cartilage, and tendons, making the body less prone to injury.

4. Slows the aging process in connective tissues, which otherwise slowly shrink and stiffen over time.

5. Shapes and strengthens bones and increases efficiency and resilience to wear and tear.

6. Decreases stress hormones (see Nervous System) which generally decrease bone density.

Muscles

1. Stretches and strengthens almost every muscle in the body, reducing the effects of aging.

2. Improves circulation to most muscles, increasing their overall health and function.

3. Facilitates communication between nervous system, improving sensory and motor connections to all parts of the body.

4. Reduces the stress response which leads to chronic tension, pain, dysfunction, and proneness to injury.

5. Improves the ability to contract and relax muscles fully, leading to increased strength and a greater range of motion.

6. Slow movement and deep breathing increase oxygen supply to muscles, preventing chronic pain.

Digestion

1. Massages the internal organs (“squeeze and soak”), improving overall health and function; accelerates removal of wastes and facilitates absorption of nutrients.

2. Improves elimination by mechanically assisting peristaltic and intestinal activity as well as circulation to the intestines.

3. By improving digestive function and efficiency, the body is able to more fully utilize what food is eaten, leading to a greater ability for appetite and weight control.

Ananda yoga is a combination of yoga postures (asanas) with a deep attunement to the underlying energy of the body, mind, and soul.