The Unexpected Effect Yoga Has On Your Health

You've probably heard of the benefits that come along with practicing yoga. Regular practice can improve your flexibility and balance, and both of these are essential for good physical health, according to Healthline. Becoming more flexible can help your body become better aligned, resulting in improved posture. Yoga also helps build strong bones. In addition, the isometric moves in many poses engage the muscles without lengthening them, which may improve bone health. The method of paying attention to your breathing may also improve your heart health. Some moves could even make your muscles stronger as well (via Live Science). 

Not all benefits are physical. Because you focus on form and breathing while doing yoga, you might see some mental advantages, according to Healthline. This kind of attention to your body could help you cope with burnout. Frequent practice can help eliminate stress and anxiety, and that may actually help you get better sleep in the long run.

Yoga's hidden benefits

If all of that wasn't enough, yoga has another benefit that is just as fabulous as all the rest, and that is an improved immune system. Whether you're worried about the flu, COVID-19, or the common cold, there seems to be growing evidence that yoga can at least help your body prepare to fight against them. Research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that certain markers of inflammation decreased after participants practiced yogic breathing in a 20-minute class. Another study published in the International Journal of Yoga showed that people who participated in a yoga class exhibited fewer signs of psychological and physiological stress. This is significant because stress can interfere with a person's immune system.

If you've never tried yoga before, it is never too late to start. It is considered safe for most people when practiced under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Always speak with your doctor if you have conditions that might increase your risks for injury, per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.