Benefits Of Yoga For Women
Every year we discover new chronic diseases and more causes of stress leading people to place more value on health and wellness. And this new definition of health and wellness pertains to a more holistic state of well-being. It’s not just having a healthy body and emotional state but also a sound mind. As nutritionists and health experts come up with different workout trends and diet plans time and again, the popularity of yoga continues to rise. And even so are the number of women getting into it.
In the 2016 study released by the Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, there are 36.7 million yoga practitioners in the US and 72% percent are women. That’s 26.4 million female yogis in the US alone.
“More people than ever across all age groups are realizing the benefits of yoga”, says Carin Gorell, editor in chief of Yoga Journal.
The benefits of yoga are of course different from person to person. These depend on a lot of factors like age, the type of yoga you practice, the reason or intention for getting into it in the first place, where you start or where you focus on – may it be the study of the yoga sutras or philosophies, the asana or the physical practice or maybe meditation and breathing exercises.
But what is it about yoga that captures a huge and still growing number of practitioners – especially women?
Aside from the most immediate benefit of it being a physical exercise that keeps the body healthy, you learn a lot about yourself as you bring attention to each and every part of your anatomy during a class. And as you go along, you gain acceptance of the physical body without judgment whatever shape or size – especially now that women feel so much pressure to look some kind of way from what they see on their feeds as they scroll along. And you’ll learn how to better take care of yourself like choosing a healthier lifestyle or starting a new hobby.
Youthful Glowing Skin
Some yoga poses, especially those which promote blood circulation in the upper part of the body – the head and face area – can be beneficial for your skin aside from that immediate after-yoga glow. Consistent regular yoga practice helps you get better sleep at night, relaxes your mind and body, improves skin elasticity, and sweating from your yoga session removes the toxins from your body, opens up pores to de-clog the skin of oil or dirt that may cause pimples and blemishes.
Reduced Risk Of Osteoporosis
In an article released by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, it was mentioned that being female puts you at risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones – of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis about 8 million (80%) are women. Practicing yoga not only improves posture, it also strengthens all of your muscles even the deep tissue ones to hold and support your bones and joints as you age. Strengthening your core protects your spine especially the lower back when you bend over or do some heavy lifting.
Reduced Bloating During Periods
A regular yoga practice may help relieve some common menstrual complaints like bloating, cramping, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), according to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Although some yoga teachers might advise you to just rest during your period, it is also important that you listen to your body – especially during your menstrual cycle. Or maybe consider a lighter and gentler kind of yoga like a restorative or Yin class during red days.
There’s a lot of changes happening in a woman’s body during pregnancy and enrolling in a prenatal class can be very beneficial. Even some medical centers offer prenatal therapy based on some yoga postures and breathing techniques. In an article by doctor Robyn Horsager-Boehrer of UT Southwestern Medical Center, she wrote “In December 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cited multiple benefits to having an exercise regimen while pregnant including help with weight management, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women and enhancing your psychological well-being. Exercising during pregnancy can help you bounce back quicker after birth, both with recovery and getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight.” If and when you decide to enroll in a prenatal yoga class, always remember to ask your physician for clearance to do any physical activities or exercise beforehand.
According to a research study done by the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience in 2015 the prevalence of major depression is higher in women than in men.
In an article by the Harvard Health Publishing, it said: “yoga practices suggest they can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression.” The practice of yoga relieves you from living inside your head and/or worrying about the past or the future. It helps you to be calmer through your breath, observing your body and your thoughts without judgment. It detaches you from worldly desires by focusing on what is happening in the now and what is in front of you – living in the present moment and making you realize the things that truly matter in life. Of course, if you have been clinically diagnosed, it is still best to consult a healthcare professional for support. But yoga is another tool that you can access for your recovery and healing.
Attentiveness & Focus
Women are good at multi-tasking, which also means, the focus on one thing lessens. Although multi-tasking itself is not entirely bad, this creates a habit of not being able to focus on one task at a time. A yoga practice, on the other hand, does just the opposite. Yes, you are given quite a number of poses to do in one class but what really happens behind that? You are asked to get into a pose by bringing your attention one by one to a single part of your body that you need to work on which then unifies the movement of your body, your breath, and your mind. Instead of your mind wandering or thinking about where to eat after your class or what the other girl in front of you is doing, you are trained to be centered, aware and focused.
As we learn that health doesn’t just concern our physical body but also our mind, our choices, and spirit, we understand why more women regardless of age practice yoga. You get far more than your typical workout routine. And the benefits will amaze you. Try out different kinds to know which one suits you.
Whether you start a home practice watching videos online, hire a private yoga teacher or enroll in a yoga studio near you, you’ll thank yourself for it. And even if you do just 5 minutes of meditation every day or join a 60-minute vinyasa class, yoga is a practice that is accessible to you anytime you need to tap into your inner peace.