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5 Awesome Side Effects of Adopting a Regular Yoga Practice

Remember, each person has a slightly different relationship to their practice. Yoga is not simply a physical practice, it's a mental one. Over time, it may even become a spiritual one. Overall though, here's what yoga does to your body:

1. Yoga Helps Increase Flexibility

As we begin to move and stretch our muscles mindfully and consistently, the physical result is an increase in flexibility and mobility. You'll begin to notice an ease to your movements and maybe walk a bit taller!

2. It Increases Blood Flow

I'm a firm believer in movement as medicine, and with yoga, this is exactly what we get. Studies have shown that a consistent yoga practice can lead to a lower resting heart rate, an increase in endurance, and an overall increase in oxygen uptake when exercising. This can be credited to the focus on breathing techniques throughout the practice.

3. Yoga Helps Reduce Adrenal Fatigue

Phew! Here's one that's on the rise lately. In a nutshell, cortisol is what our body produces when we're faced with a crisis - it temporarily boosts our immune system so that we can respond to the issue. The problem is when we are in a constant state of crisis, our body continues to produce cortisol, and the overload over an extended period of time had been linked to osteoporosis and major depression. Yoga reduces cortisol levels! Another reason to practice. :)

4. Yoga Helps with Pain Management

Studies have found that individuals with arthritis, carpal tunnel, back pain, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions have experienced significant reductions in the amount of pain through a consistent practice. Generally, when we're more active, our mood improves, and often times, medication decreases.

5. Yoga Helps Improve Focus and Balance

Whether our practice is comprised of asanas (poses), or meditation, or both, there's no denying that yoga helps improve focus and balance. In a time where "Shiny Object Syndrome" is prevalent, our ability to focus has diminished. When we focus, we're able slow things down; we can slow our breath, our thoughts, our responses. We can also find a bit more balance both physically and mentally. As we age, the number one fear becomes the fear of falling. A consistent practice may help to build stronger bones and quicker reflexes!

The benefits of yoga are endless. These are just some of the ones that came to mind after a few conversations with fellow yogis. What has your experience been? What are some benefits you've noticed? I look forward to learning more in the comments!

Jas Bhandal is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) with over 18 years’ experience. She takes on a holistic and responsive approach to teaching, and has developed a lifestyle and practice centred around mindfulness. She feels that life should be lived with joy, gratitude, and a dedication to being present, and uses these elements to help her students connect to themselves and their communities.

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