You were probably aware of most of yoga’s benefits already--it’s great for flexibility, balance, and relaxation, to name a few. But did you know that it’s also super effective for increasing energy?
Here at SUTRA, we like to make sure our claims can be backed up, and in this case it wasn’t hard to find some scientific articles to prove our point!
One scientific study published
in 2017 by the University of London’s psych department found that performing yoga poses (particularly back bends) increases energy and sense of competence in working towards goals! It also improves self-image. Another study found
that practicing yoga was effective for reducing persistent fatigue.
The question is, how does yoga increase energy?
The Cortisol Balance
We’ve talked about cortisol before, usually in the context of trying to reduce it. It is the stress hormone, after all!
Obviously we don’t want too much of it in our system, but as it turns out, too-low cortisol levels can be pretty destructive, too. When we don’t have enough it can lead to lots of unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, gastrointestinal effects, low blood pressure, and even reproductive issues.
Luckily, a consistent yoga practice will help balance out this hormone once and for all--if it’s too low it will help to raise it, and if it’s too high it will help to lower it.
Side note, though, we recommend a visit to your doc if you think your hormone balance might be off!
Stress and Anxiety
Yoga is great for keeping stress and anxiety at bay. It helps to alleviate tension in areas where we tend to hold our stress, such as our necks and lower backs.
It also makes us more aware of our breath and encourages deep breathing, which are great for mindfulness and relaxation. When we slow and deepen our breathing, it is soothing to the immune system.
Deep breathing is helpful
on and off the mat--it’s something we can practice anywhere, in any situation, and yoga will help us naturally build this habit.
Yoga--Good for your Blood?
That same deep breathing means our blood is constantly receiving fresh oxygen. It stimulates blood flow and circulation, which increases energy and has benefits in store for the whole body. Some of the harmful effects of sitting too long can be counteracted by a consistent yoga practice.
Back bends that stretch the spine are particularly beneficial in this area. That’s why most of the poses listed below are back bends!
Get More Z’s
Are you sleeping a lot but still feeling tired the next day? The number of hours you’re getting might not be the issue--the problem might be the quality of sleep you’re getting. Enter yoga! It has been shown to improve sleep quality, which will leave you feeling less fatigued right off the bat when you wake up. There are certain yoga poses that are known to be particularly effective for deeper, higher-quality sleep. Try the ones in this Huff Post article
tonight before you hit the hay.