There are many medicinal benefits of different yoga positions. Those who practice yoga combine exercise, breathing, and meditation to help bring the body and mind together to achieve balance. Yoga poses are a series of positions that flow from one into the next, focusing on specific body parts and breathing techniques. These positions are believed to have many health benefits, including:
- relieving muscle pain
- improving heart function
- strengthening internal organs
- reducing stress
- enhancing concentration
Asana Promotes Flexibility
When done in a series of poses, also known as Asanas, yoga can improve your range of motion and decrease muscle pain. Asanas stretch the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints of the body and prompt the release of lactic acid. Lactic acid naturally builds up with muscle use, and its presence can cause muscle pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Asanas stretch all the soft tissues of the body, and are effective in increasing flexibility and fluidity of motion.
Inverted Poses Improve Circulation
Inverted yoga involves poses that place the legs and abdomen higher than the heart. These positions reverse the action of gravity and can improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and slow down the heart rate. Normally, the muscles in the calves of the legs must contract to pump un-oxygenated blood and waste back toward the heart through the veins; however, inverted yoga poses cause the blood to flow back easily, giving these muscles a rest. Inverted poses can be effective in relieving varicose veins and swollen ankles. Downward facing dog, an inversion pose, can also help clear the sinuses and improve lung function.
Twisting Poses Cleanse Internal Organs
Another medicinal benefit of different yoga positions involves the internal organs. Hatha yoga utilizes twisting poses that compress and massage the internal organs of the body, squeezing out the blood and toxins. When the twist is released, fresh blood is allowed to flow back in. As a result, the internal organs are provided with a fresh supply of blood, improving their functions. Twisting poses stimulate circulation and have a cleansing effect. They also strengthen the back and abdominal muscles and help increase the flexibility of the spine. Trikonasana, or triangle pose, is an example of a twisting pose that strengthens the oblique muscles, the muscle group which supports the back, pelvis, and internal organs.
Improved Brain Function
Yoga brings the body and mind together, and many of the poses help to sharpen the mind and improve concentration skills. Shavasana, or corpse pose, may look simple, but it is actually one of the most difficult poses in yoga, because it requires absolute stillness of the body and the mind. Those who successfully practice Shavasana are able to completely detach themselves from their thoughts. This pose is effective in reducing stress, and provides a feeling of mental calmness that leads to a state of complete relaxation. Padmasana, or the lotus pose, is another yoga position that is beneficial to the mind. Padmasana is often practiced by those who meditate, and is helpful in keeping an alert mind.
Medicinal Benefits of Different Yoga Positions for Anyone
Those who practice yoga enjoy its benefits to the body as well as the mind. Yoga is non-competitive and its many poses can be modified to suit the level and needs of anyone, including a beginner, who wishes to practice. While some may think that in order to practice yoga, a person needs to have a great degree of flexibility, the opposite is true. A person is never too old, unfit, or stiff to obtain greater flexibility, strength, and balance through yoga, and reap the medicinal benefits it offers.