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12 Surprising Benefits of Yoga Practice!

You've probably heard before that yoga is good for you, but it does so much more than help you gain flexibility, improve your balance and de-stress. Here are some surprising benefits of yoga that you should know about and which may even inspire you to pick up this healthy pastime!

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1. Prevents and Relieves Stress

Yoga helps you mellow down after a rough day, but you may not know that it is more beneficial to practice before to step out into the busy bustling world. Practicing yoga in the morning or before a big meeting will decrease the chances that you will stress out in the first place.

One study examined the effects of yoga on reducing stress by presenting one group of yoga-practicing subjects and a non-practicing group with the same exam. The results revealed that the yoga group did not have a significant increase in stress, based on their heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, while the non-yoga practicing group did.

2. Improves Your Immunity

Practicing yoga on a regular basis can help you build up a stronger immune system. In one study it was found that postoperative breast cancer patients that practiced yoga did not experience significant immune system depression that is common after surgery and had better odds of a successful recovery from their surgeries.

3. Can Improve Your Relationships

Yoga teaches you patience and compassion, which can have very positive effects on your relationships with others. When your mind and spirit are at peace, you response and react more positively and kindly towards those around you. Yoga will also give you more confidence, you will also be more open to expressing your own thoughts, needs and suggestions. This is the result of the meditative and contemplative time that you are provided with during a yoga session.

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4. Ability to Stay in Movement

Although one hour of yoga may seem to involve less physical exertion than an hour running, the truth is that yoga actually improves your endurance more than most cardiovascular exercises. This is because yoga requires you to hold some positions for a very long time, unless you are doing fast-paced Ashtanga yoga, and this kind of exertion makes your muscles work harder. Also, there is usually a lot of sweating in yoga because of the need to hold the postures, which makes yoga a great way to ease your mind and burn calories.

5. Helps You Make Better Food Choices

Yoga helps lower the levels of cortisol and increases the levels of serotonin in your body, which means that you are less likely to binge eat and more likely to feel happy. As you practice yoga, you will notice that you become more in tune with what your body needs and you will be able to easily avoid those dangerous cravings.

6. Increase Your Strength

If you think that yoga is easy you've obviously never tried it. As mentioned above, yoga usually requires you to hold postures for a long periods of time, which ups your endurance and, on the way, your overall strength. Yoga also works on most every aspect of the body, giving you a more complete workout than targeted muscle work-outs at the gym.

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7. Removes Toxins from Your Body

Yoga stimulates the lymphatic system in the body, which helps flush the toxins out of your body. With all the breathing you do in yoga, you may even noticed this happening! Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you practice yoga to ensure that the maximum amount of toxins are pushed out of your body. Yoga will leave your body feeling lean and clean.

8. Manage Pain

For those with lower back pain, yoga is a natural and excellent way to relieve some of your discomfort. This is because yoga not only focuses on increasing strength and flexibility that will prevent the weakness of muscles in the future, but also because yoga helps calm and makes it harder for the pain to envelop your thoughts. Yoga has also been proven to help a number of other problems, like carpel tunnel syndrome, joint pain and more.

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9. Protect Bone Density

Yoga will give you stronger bones. The strength-baring poses in yoga have the same effect as running or lifting weights in premenopausal women, and doing yoga could reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life for all individuals.

10. Improve Your Heart Health

Because yoga decreases levels of stress, anxiety and depression, your blood pressure and BMI are also more likely to be healthy. Yoga is also a great cardiovascular workout that strengthens most of the muscles in your body at the same time.

11. Help Asthma

For those with asthma, yoga is a great exercise option. The deep-breathing exercises that are incorporated into most yoga practice increase the stamina of the lungs and raise awareness of how one should be breathing. Thanks to yoga, those that suffer from asthma can realize when they are about to have an attack and calm their breathing before the attack is able to escalate.

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12. Aids Your Digestion

Anyone who practices yoga on a regular basis will tell you that they have better digestion as a result. The twists involved in many of the yoga postures get your organs in motion and your digestion back on track. Do a few twists when you wake in the morning to get your systems going, and you are set to start the day feeling lighter and less weighed down. Then you're r
eady for your morning yoga practice!

The health benefits of yoga are endless, but most importantly of all, yoga will make you a happier, more patient and compassionate person!

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