31 benefits of a daily yoga practice
Starting 2023 on the right foot, on your mat!
A new year means new resolutions for some of us. What about integrating Yoga into an everyday routine? Starting with 20 minutes each day?
If you’re seeking motivation to keep up your daily yoga practice, here are 31 reasons to get you back on your mat every day. 1 reason for every day of this month of January 2023.
31 days, 31 benefits of practicing yoga!
1. Yoga makes you feel good – simple as that!
Yoga can mean more energy and brighter moods. You may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga.
2. Yoga improves your strength
Yoga isn’t just about stretching and bending, it also requires a surprising amount of strength. Physical strength is important in order to prevent injury, boost the immune system and metabolism and help make everyday tasks easier.
3. Yoga improves sleep quality
Psychotherapeutic Yoga, Yin Yoga or Yoga Nidra are powerful ways to calm the nervous system, thus improving sleep quality, helping the digestive system to do its job overnight, therefore giving you the energy you need to get up early the next morning to salute the sun!
4. Yoga helps you to focus
Because your mind will be quieter, it’s easier to direct the energy to where you want it to go. You train the mind to become aware and present. Research has shown that after a yoga class you are generally better able to focus your mental resources and process information more accurately.
5. Yoga increases your flexibility
To gain more flexibility, it is worth practicing yoga regularly and consistently in order to build muscle memory; take your time though, and be patient!
6. Yoga boosts your immune system
Any form of movement is great for keeping the immune system healthy. With yoga’s twisting, inverting, back bending, and calming, the body is able to spend more time within the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and less with the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system), which causes stress and inflammation and dramatically lowers the immune system.
7. Yoga balances your nervous system
Ten rounds of Surya Namaskar or some Kapalabhati pranayama in the morning can impact positively your energy and your nervous system. Conversely, if you need a change later on in the day, just a few minutes of asana practice can re-balance the nervous system, calm the mind and give you a different perspective.
8. Yoga reduces anxiety
If you’ve been in an anxiety cycle for a long period of time, it’s likely that your body has almost learned to protect itself by remaining tense and stuck in sympathetic mode. In this case, you need to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is a down-regulation through a Langhana practice.
9. Yoga helps to detox the body
Yoga provides a wide array of benefits to detox the body on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Many postures increase blood circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system and help the liver work optimally to cleanse the organism.
10. Yoga boosts your metabolism
A morning yoga practice will help to get the blood, breath and muscles moving before breakfast, therefore allowing the nutrients from your food to be better absorbed. A strong practice can help build muscle, dramatically boost metabolism, and breathing fully and deeply increases circulation, also helping the metabolism to stay ticking along nicely.
11. Yoga gives time for yourself
Having a little time “me time” is important, particularly for those who spend their lives caring for others. Giving to others is a vital aspect of life, and helps us feel more connected to the world around us. However, in order to give, we have to be full first. As Gandhi said “If you want to change the world, change yourself first”.
12. Yoga and breathing boost your vital energy
Pranayama is the life force in the body or the vital energy. We can control it by the breath “Prana”. “Ayama” means control. Pranayama means literally the control of breath. The Pranayama helps to achieve a healthy body and mind. It is also beneficial to vitalize your body & Improve breath capacity, brings clarity to the mind and focus and connect to who we are.
13. Yoga helps you to be more mindful
Mindfulness doesn’t have to mean meditating for long periods of time, and it doesn’t have to be something profound that’s difficult to keep up. Being mindful just means paying a little more attention to each action you do, allowing you to be more present, aware and alive in each moment. Better to be mindful than mind-full…
14. No space? No worries!
Unlike many other physical activities, a yoga asana practice only needs space for your body. Small flats, dorm rooms or offices, yoga can be practiced pretty much everywhere.
15. Yoga is a lifelong partner
If you continue to practice yoga for decades, your practice will likely need to change—multiple times. Sometimes it will be more active, sometimes more relaxed. Sometimes a vigorous early-morning daily practice will be just what you need. The task is often in finding the type of practice that suits you and listening to your body. And then it can be a great partner in life for anything beautiful or challenging that may arise!
16. Yoga helps you to reduce depression
If you’ve been in a low energy cycle for a long period of time, it’s likely that your body has almost learned to protect itself by being “shut down” and stuck in a parasympathetic mode. In this case you need to activate the Sympathetic Nervous System, which is an up-regulation through a Brahmana practice.
17. Yoga helps you to breathe better
The emphasis on breathing in yoga is something beginners often struggle with, but over time moving with the breath becomes second nature. Just the ability to breathe more fully and deeply can have a very profound impact on overall health, and is worth practicing every day.
18. Yoga improves your balance (in body and mind)
Balancing yoga postures help the brain to fire neurons that help with muscle memory and spatial awareness, and using the feet regularly in a daily yoga practice can strengthen the muscles of the foot, of which there are over 100!
19. Hydrate your spine
Moving the spine in a safe, healthy way encourages synovial fluid to be released into the column of the spine. In the morning, the spine contains a little more of this fluid, but in the evening the spine is more compressed and ‘dehydrated’ (hence why we’re somewhat ‘shorter’ in the evenings!). Practicing spine-lengthening postures like Downward Facing Dog, as well as inversions, can help to bring some moisture and life back to our all-important spine.
20. Yoga has anti-inflammatory ‘properties’
Decreased stress levels, better blood, and oxygen circulation, as well as an increase in ‘happy hormone’ neurotransmitters. These help to decrease inflammation. Calming Pranayama practices, in which the length of the out-breath is increased, can also be a way to powerfully reduce inflammation.
21. Yoga helps you beat the blues
Movement is one of the best ways to bring about a good mood, and yoga is an especially effective medicine when it comes to battling the blues. Yoga taps into the nervous system, helping to release hormones that improve the mood. Focusing on something positive each time we practice yoga is also an effective way to imprint that positivity into the mind, so the more you practice, the more you’re likely to notice yourself smiling…
22. Yoga helps you to express gratitude
Traditionally, yogis would rise with the sun and perform Surya Namaskar, (Sun Salutations) as a way to greet the new day and pay homage to the sun, the giver of warmth, light and life.
23. Increase compassion
The Metta Bhavana (Loving Kindness) meditation is intended to increase compassion and kindness towards others and ourselves. Humans are born to be compassionate and to feel emotions, yet the modern world often leaves us feeling more disconnected than ever. All our actions and even thoughts have impact on the world around us, and if the saying Love Makes The World Go Round is true, then practicing feeling love and kindness for others will make more difference than you might expect.
24. Yoga helps you to become more body aware
“Listen to your body” is something you’re likely to have heard most yoga teachers say, but what does it mean? Any ‘good’ yoga practice encourages feeling instead of forcing, gradual progress instead of instant gain, and a way of moving that is helpful instead of harmful. A study from the department of Psychology at Berkley, California, showed that yoga practitioners have more body awareness, responsiveness to bodily sensations, and even body satisfaction than those who do not practice yoga.
25. Yoga teaches you to know yourself
Unlike group sports activities, yoga is a very internal and personal practice. Even though you might have practiced in a class with lots of other people, the focus is still on what is happening inside you. ‘Pratyahara’ is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, and it refers to turning one’s senses and awareness inward in order to discover more about the person’s own body and mind. We have to live with this body and this mind for a whole lifetime, so it’s worth taking time to get to know it, and even make friends with it.
26. Yoga helps to clear the toxins
While it’s controversial as to whether twisting yoga asanas actually ‘detox’ the body, it’s fair to say that a yoga practice definitely helps to clear toxins from the body. Getting things moving inside and outside helps shift any lurking toxins and rids the body of them quicker. Being aware and mindful of your thoughts too, can help to ‘detox’ the mind of any ‘toxic’ thoughts….
27. Yoga is the sister science of Ayurveda
As Ayurveda and Yoga are interrelated, they together encompass healing disciplines in the body. On the one hand, Ayurveda rejuvenates the body; on the other, Yoga deals with the purification of mind and consciousness. Thus, together they both complement and embrace each other.
28. Yoga helps you to accept whatever life brings to your table
Yoga teaches us that everything changes. Both the positive but also the painful things in life come and go. Knowing this and understanding this on a deeper level makes it easier to accept and stay present and positive, also through the hard times.
29. Yoga helps give meaning to your day
We’ve all heard the song It Ain’t What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It, and while the song might be catchy, the deeper meaning is very profound. Spending a little time in the morning setting an intention, focus or Sankalpa for the day, helps us come back to that intention each time we need to make a decision. Setting an intention can also help us to be more aware of our actions, and can give the day much more meaning.
30. Yoga helps you to meditate
Meditation is considered as a part of yoga, which is performed only after yoga sessions. The mental health benefits of meditation include better focus and concentration, improved self-awareness and self-esteem, lower levels of stress and anxiety, and fostering kindness.
31. Yoga create meaningful friendships
If we learn to truly embrace the mindfulness and presence of a Yoga practice, we can truly connect to our heart spaces and at the same time also meet others that share our intentions. This way we can create amazing friendships along this journey called life.
To learn more about the topic, you have different possibilities:
- Download now our FREE e-booklet on how to balance your emotions through pranayamas/breathwork!
- Join our community and practice with us with our 5-hour Foundations in Psychotherapeutic Yoga Online Course