If I asked you to name just one major health benefit of yoga, you’d most likely say something like it “improves flexibility,” or that yoga “reduces stress.” And then of course, you’d receive an enthusiastic fist bump from yours truly, because you’d certainly be right on both accounts!
But here’s an extra bit of knowledge for all of you looking to increase your level of fit savviness: While most have come to regard the practice of yoga as something to make our bodies more limber, while also bringing about inner peace and balance, fact is the benefits of yoga don’t stop there. Indeed, there are additional benefits of yoga that may even come as a surprise. So without further ado, let’s jump right in with number one, which will definitely make many of you perk up!
1. Boosts Sexual Performance
Can I get a “Health yeah!”
Surely I don’t have to tell you that the practice of yoga — from a strictly visual standpoint — can be quite sensual. It’s most certainly eye candy to those who enjoy others bend themselves into “interesting” positions. But what about the people actually doing all the work. What are they getting out of it? Well studies have found that practicing yoga on a regular basis can indeed spice up your sex life. So much so that when male and female yogis practice certain poses and breathing techniques, they can ultimately experience an increase in sexual desire, arousal, performance, and orgasm. The reasoning behind this is threefold:
1) Yoga increases blood flow to the pelvic region, thus heightening genital sensitivity, arousal and erection.
2) Yoga helps improve balance, body control and muscle strength (specifically in the pelvic floor) which promotes better orgasm.
3) Yoga teaches mindfulness and mental tranquility which boosts confidence and are key to experiencing sexual pleasure.
2. Fights Food Cravings
For those of you who struggle with emotional eating, this is a time to sit up and take notes (and maybe even put down that candy bar). Researchers from the University of Washington have found that yoga may be a formidable ally in the war on emotional eating. How? Well it seems that the regular practice of yoga is associated with less emotional eating and more mindful eating due to yoga’s ability to strengthen the mind-body connection.
Here’s how it works: When individuals practice yoga they become more in tune with not just their physical bodies, but also with the emotional sensations associated with food cravings and eating. And additionally through regular yoga practice — and more specifically through meditative and breathing techniques — people can better learn to control their emotions and make better choices when hunger and food cravings strike.
3. Boosts Brain Power
Truth be told this health benefit isn’t exclusive to yoga but it’s still exceptional and worth mentioning. Studies have shown that the more a person exercises, the more the brain is protected, and most notably it was also found that inactive individuals are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who exercised at least three times a week with light or moderate exercise. Even more interesting, this “brain benefit” to exercise is especially observed in women. Now in regards to yoga itself, it has been known to enhance concentration, focus, and research has even shown that yoga may help in the treatment of migraines.
4. Boosts Immunity
A key component of yoga is breathing, and as you learn to breathe deeper though the practice of yoga, more oxygen-rich blood courses through your circulatory system, which helps condition and strengthen the lungs, respiratory tract, and other organs. Moreover, the practice of deeper breathing also helps to lower stress and hormones that can compromise the immune system. So ultimately, as you breathe better and decompress, all your organs will begin to function better− as was demonstrated in a Norwegian study which found that the practice of yoga actually has the ability to change gene expression and boost immunity at a cellular level.
So now I’m curious− How did all of the above health benefits of yoga sound to you? Reason enough to throw in a bit of yoga into your fitness repertoire?And for my practicing yogis, do drop in the Comments section to let me know if you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing any of the above health benefits of yoga. Look forward to reading your comments! Later! − Doc
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is Sports Medicine Physician, Certified Trainer, creator of BeautyElite & BodyElite advanced supplements, and #1 Bestselling Author of And That’s Why You’re Fat and If You Love It, It Will Grow. Dr. Phoenyx’s passion is fitness and her goal is to help others achieve their best bodies. Connect with the Doc on Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest and Instagram.