What are the potential health benefits to Hatha yoga?
There are many potential health benefits to hatha yoga. These include:
Yoga is about finding balance…and not just on the mat. Our asana practice helps us find balance between our inhale and exhale, effort and rest, right and left. In times of anxiety and stress, a more restorative practice can help to relax us and in times of lethargy or sluggishness a more active practice can help lift the spirit. Our yoga practice, when done with awareness, can bring not only the body but also the mind and spirit into balance.
While practicing hatha yoga, you consciously focus the mind on the quiet precise movement of your practice. This draws the focus away from daily stresses and calms the mind as you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration. I find balancing poses such as Vrkshasana (Tree Pose) to be very calming as it requires concentration on a single point of focus. This helps deal with stress and improve concentration, anxiety and can also help with insomnia.
Practising Hatha yoga can help heal a specific injury or condition. For example if you have chronic neck pain, practicing poses that gently stretch and elongate your spine can help. There are also poses that help reduce sciatica, back pain, anxiety, asthma and insomnia and many other conditions. There are poses that can help balance the endocrine system such as Rabbit Pose or Sasangasana a pose that stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Janursirasana and Paschimottanasana help to balance blood sugar and stimulate the thymus, thyroid, kidneys and pancreas.
Increased physical fitness
After practicing hatha yoga for some time the yogi may notice an improvement in strength, balance, flexibility and range of motion. This leads to a healthier and more energetic you! Yoga has also been proven to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.