Having a daily yoga or pilates practice can provide numerous health and wellness benefits for your mind and body. Whether it’s reducing stress, helping with insomnia, or slowing down the aging process, mindful movement can help with it all.
Feeling run down? Stressed out? Not sleeping? Or maybe you’re feeling depressed and want to crawl into bed for the next few days. Instead try adding in some mindful movement everyday. Try a gentle yoga or pilates class or get outdoors adn go for a walk while you focus on slow deep breaths. Movement is not only physically beneficial, it’s also beneficial for the mind. Daily exercise can create an outlet for stress while also becoming a bridge between your mind and body.
Yoga and pilates have been proven to be extremely beneficial to overall wellness and health. A consistent practice can offer all kinds of mental and physical health benefits. We have listed some of the main ones down below. Once you start to feel all these benefits, we guarantee that you’ll be addicted!
1. Improve flexibility and mobility
It’s often a misconception that you must be super flexible and bendy in order to do yoga or pilates. The truth is, that yoga and pilates can be practiced at all levels of ability. Yoga will actually help you improve your flexibility and mobility, whatever your level. Poses such as the warrior poses or the downward facing dog are great for flexibility.
2. Reduce stress
Feeling stressed out? Taking a break and doing a short yoga session will bring those stress levels down almost immediately. Yoga is such an incredible stress buster, many workplaces even offer lunch-time yoga sessions to their employees. Studies have proven that yoga releases the primary stress regulating hormone: ‘serum cortisol’, which allows the body to manage stress-related anxiety and bring the heart rate down.
3. Be happier
As well as releasing stress-busting hormones, yoga also releases more serotonin - the happiness hormone. Studies have found higher levels of serotonin in people who practice yoga on a regular basis, resulting in them feeling happier and content. Simply practicing for as little as 15 minutes in the morning can benefit your mood and lower your stress levels throughout the day.
4. More clarity and focus
By reducing mental stress and lifting your mood through yoga, you will be able to recall things easier, manage your emotions, and organize your thoughts better. This improved cognitive function happens when we are able to clear our minds and feel more at peace and calm, resulting in us being able to use our mental facilities more efficiently.
5. Increase your energy
Put down that third cup of coffee and get on your mat! Another beautiful benefit yoga provides is a much-needed energy boost that keeps us refreshed and revitalized for longer. With the perfect balance of body movements and breathwork, yoga can wake our body naturally through the main energy centers (called chakras) in your body. Poses that extend the spine and open the chest such as the tree pose and cobra pose helps extra energy to circulate throughout the whole body and allows us to intake more oxygen into our lungs.
6. Sleep better
Yoga can provide energy, and it can also help with sleeping difficulties and insomnia. If you’re tossing and turning, try some bedtime yoga poses and relaxing asanas such as child pose or lying on your back with your feet up the wall to encourage relaxation and a lower heart rate.
7. Support your immune system
Yoga isn’t just beneficial for your mental health, it also benefits your health physically too. Studies have revealed that practicing yoga regularly can decrease chronic inflammation in the body by lowering the level of pro-inflammatory markers such as cytokines.
8. Slow down aging and live longer
Overall the benefits of practicing yoga every day include reducing stress levels, regulating heart rates, and increasing your happiness and clarity. All of these elements all add valuable years to your life. It's also known that yoga decreases the risk of heart disease. It is also said that the meditation element of yoga can help delay the process of aging by protecting the telomeres (caps) at the end of our chromosomes, too.