Any yoga enthusiast will tell you that the activity is not simply a form of exercise. Granted, yoga does offer many physical benefits. Harvard Health Blog details quite a few. For example, they state that yoga provides a reduced risk of heart disease because of deep breathing exercises that help lower blood pressure; also, it has been shown that the meditation calms the nervous system and improves immune function. Furthermore, regular yoga sessions are known to ease chronic back pain since it helps corrects posture. In a similar vein, yoga is proven to reduce pain and stiffness in patients with arthritis. But yoga’s benefits actually transcend beyond physicality.
Since meditation is a large part of the practice, a yogi’s mental health also has a lot to gain. In her column on The Washington Times, Dr. Nina Radcliff enumerated what meditation does to the mind. Firstly, it eases stress. This is because the nature of meditation allows one to calm the mind and refocus attention in order to achieve inner peace. It may also reduce feelings of depression and anxiety to the same extent as antidepressant medications. Lastly, research proved that meditation can help people sleep better. The practice itself comes in different types. To understand more about them in detail, you can visit Guided Meditation Treks' previous blog post about unique meditation practices.
Interestingly enough, yoga also helps to develop intuition – the unconscious reasoning which propels a person to do something without explanation. People encounter this instinctive feeling in their everyday lives. Sometimes, it encourages you to make a positive decision. In other instances, it arrives in the form of a warning. In some instances, it may have even save lives. While almost everyone experiences this, very few individuals feel they are gifted with high intuition.
So how does yoga improve this “special ability”? When you look at the ways for strengthening intuition, they are quite similar to yoga and meditation. In an interview with Vogue India, Dr. Sayantani Mukerjee explains, “To follow your instincts, you have to free your mind of bias, logic and opinions of your mother and the media.” The gist of it is the same: to refocus one’s attention away from external noise and into the center of one’s being. In essence, yoga disciplines the mind, thereby unlocking its hidden potential.
Even if there are no existing studies yet that prove yoga can indeed heighten intuition, it is still good to get into the practice. Its potential to lessen health risks is more than enough reason. It is also a recommended choice for people who are not fond of vigorous exercises. In reality, the more people that are knowledgeable about the benefits, the more control they have on their lives. Health IQ stated that those who are health conscious have a 41% lower mortality. Even if a person is not particularly interested in yoga, he or she should make an effort to look for other practices that can improve physiological aspects. And who knows, it might even add years on your life as well as helping you become more intuitive.
Watch the Breath
Articles on mindfulness meditation.