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Yoga Practice and Its Health Benefits

The practicing yogi says - "Yoga is one practice for the mind and the body, and regards them as one system." It builds strength, flexibility, awareness and of course harmony. The aim of this ancient body of knowledge is to synchronize the whole world in co-existence. It teaches us ways to become strong but use that strength for the goodness via calming the mind that can think in the right manner. Yoga Teacher Training Curriculum of Hatha Yoga as well as the teachings of the sage Patanjali in the form of eight limbs encompasses the wonderful health benefits of long time, uninterrupted dedicated yoga practice. Hectic research on the subject has shown scientific results in multi dimensional approach such as biochemical, psychological and physiological health aspects. In this article we focus on the health benefits of the system build over thousands of years by practitioners, and which is still being improved by many.
It Improves flexibility of the body and the mind
Yoga is all about alignment and the "right" one. Many of the students in the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course enjoy the good flexibility through their consistent practice. Continuous practice loosens the body and the aches and pains which are caused by stiffness will gradually go. As you will go on, the difficult poses will become easy and this is because of the increased flexibility of the body. The mind also calms down and becomes more flexible with forming opinions as you meditate. The person will become wiser and will be able to make better decisions which encompass the good of all things in the universe and much more.
Balances the Body
The heaviest part of our body is the head, and it is what makes us humans with the capability of thinking. But if the posture is not balanced the head becomes a burden for the body. Forward leaning posture causes pain in the neck muscles and the spine, while slumping backwards causes lower back problems. Yogic postures are designed to balance out the posture. Hence a person who is a practitioner can work for more hours without getting tired, as the posture he/she is holding is the right balance.
Helps to Strengthen the Bones
The asanas like downward facing dog, bhujanga asana helps to strengthen not only the muscles but also the bones. The meditation helps to decrease the hormone cortisol which is released while in stress. Cortisol eats away at the calcium in bones making them weaker. Thus a practicing yogi will have more calcium in bones and hence bones will be stronger. With regular practice the chances of developing osteoporosis becomes very less.
Improves Blood Circulation
Relaxation poses in Yoga helps to improve the circulation of blood in the body. Better circulation of the blood means more oxygen to the cells, which helps in keeping you younger and with more energy. Better blood flow also causes the liver, kidneys and other internal organs to be healthy. The haemoglobin in the Red Blood Corpuscles also increases with the practice, and so does it decrease the clot promoting proteins. Thus the most important organ heart remains healthier.
Improves Immunity by flow of lymph fluid
The asanas involve flex of muscles, and moving the organs which increases the flow of lymph fluid in the body. The lymph system with its fluid works for removing deformity and increase immune system. This improved immune helps in fighting diseases and remove the toxins from the body. Thus there are less chances of poison in the body accumulating which is the main cause of most of ailments of the body and the mind.
Lowers blood pressure and blood sugar
Lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are the biggest killers, even more than deadly diseases like cancer. The yogic poses help to reduce cortisol which is the hormone which increases anxiety and depression which are the causes of high blood pressure. Regular practice of Yoga also helps in keeping the blood sugar level in check via controlling the weight.
Helps in Prevention of Digestive Disorders
Ulcers, constipation and irritable bowels are all due to malfunctioning of the digestive system. The digestive system properly working is essential for life as it is the system that converts food into the energy the body requires. Practicing yogic lifestyle with all the asanas helps the digestive system to become strong and function properly. It surely prevents the disorders of the digestion.
Better functioning Respiratory System
Pranayama helps in using breathing exercise which can help improve the efficiency of the respiratory system. When the respiratory system becomes better, it means more energy for the body and less oxygenation which helps in keeping the body younger for a longer time.
Helps in cleansing the System - The Body and mind
Taking help of "kriyas" is mentioned in yoga curriculum. Kriyas are ways to cleanse the body of toxins, done periodically. The cleansing helps the body to remain pure and reduces building of "mala" which are toxins which can harm the body in long term.
Makes You Aware of Yourself
Meditation which is a major part of the practice helps in making you aware of your body and mind which constitutes the "Yourself". It helps in increasing the "EQ" (emotional quotient) by calming the mind. Thus you are better equipped to handle unsettling news or dramatic events in your life. You learn to be steady and act proactively.
Makes you learn to Relax
The practice of yoga starts with warming up and ends with cooling down. It teaches relaxation techniques like shavasana and meditation to relax. Practitioners thus learn to relax their mind and body. This helps the body and mind to recover and be more efficient over a longer duration.

It is always important to remember to practice the teachings of Yoga under the guidance of competent and experienced yoga teachers in order to enjoy the safe and supporting learning environment. Healthy lifestyle and food habits are of great help in the successful practice. Also, practical training should have different modules of Yoga such as Asana, pranayama and meditation techniques
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