We’re all very familiar with all of the obvious benefits of practicing yoga. You can increase your flexibility, strengthen your body, calm your mind… the list goes on and on. But today, let’s talk about one of the lesser-known benefits of a consistent yoga practice: yoga can help prevent, and even reverse, aging!
Not sure you believe it? Check out the article below. These are the five ways yoga will keep you looking and feeling young.
1. Yoga Increases Anti-Aging Hormones in the Brain
In yoga, we have a wide range of asanas, or postures. to choose from. One of the most important postures, in my opinion, is meditation.
A recent study from the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine revealed that, “Regular deep meditation dramatically affects production of three important hormones related to increased longevity, stress, and enhanced well-being: cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin.”
DHEA is known as the “anti-aging hormone.” As we get older our body produces less of it, but when we practice yoga and meditation, we become our own fountain of youth! We naturally provide our bodies with this hormone as well as buffering our bodies from cortisol, the stress hormone.
Melatonin is the hormone that helps us get quality sleep. Increased melatonin due to meditation leads to increased well-being during the day and tranquil sleep at night!
2. Yoga Helps Us Cultivate a More Flexible, Limber Body
One of the more obvious benefits of yoga is a more flexible and limber body. As we get older, our bodies can stiffen, which begins a negative domino effect where we inevitably suffer the consequences of aches, pains, injury, fatigue, and more.
According to research, “At least half of the age-related changes to muscles, bones and joints are caused by disuse.”
If we begin this negative domino effect caused by disuse, we could worsen our posture and send undesired weight into our joints. But we can avoid all of this with a consistent yoga practice. Our practice allows the body to move, stretch, and lengthen out the spine, which results in a younger, more flexible and limber body.
3. Yoga Encourages Retention of Muscle Mass
Muscle mass is lost naturally during the aging process. But with a consistent yoga practice, we can also achieve anti-aging benefits by encouraging the body to retain this muscle mass.
A well-named study, NAMASTE (Novel Approaches to Maintaining Muscle Mass and Strength), conducted a study using two groups of people.
The first group hadn’t exercised in at least a year, and the other group was comprised of yogis that practiced at least twice a week for over a year. The study revealed that, “The yogis had lower rates of protein synthesis and breakdown, which translates into more efficient muscle mass maintenance.”
4. Light Mind
As yogis, we learn to combine mindfulness and awareness in our everyday lives. As we travel through life, stress naturally pops up and, sometimes, we need a certain amount of stress to propel us forward into action. Other times, stress can become negative and unhealthy, leaving our body on the receiving end of that negativity.
As one WebMD article on Health notes, “Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. Distress can lead to physical problems including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and trouble sleeping.”
All of these distress symptoms could lead to serious health problems that could be potentially fatal if not treated. We use yoga to treat our distress symptoms by learning how to relax amidst challenge. This anti-aging practice allows our minds to return to being light and free, something that can now be achieved at any age.
5. Yoga Heals Your Past
One of my favorite benefits of yoga is how it can heal the past. A lot of times, past problems and what we view as failures can rob us of the present moment as well as future opportunities.
I heard someone recently say that, “Your past lessons are not your life sentences.” When we unify our mind and body through yoga, we know this to be true. Yoga reverses the aging clock by healing the past. We acknowledge it’s over with, and how it has helped us get to the present moment while allowing us to see the truth in the Now.
As Eckhart Tolle quotes, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” Through yoga and meditation, we realize this to be true as we bring youth and vitality to our lives.