There are so many health benefits that come with regularly practicing Yoga. It really is hard to beat Yoga’s accessibility and ease as it requires little to no equipment and just enough room to move. You can do your Yoga poses anywhere, anytime, especially with online Yoga classes.
Traditionally, when Yoga was first practised thousands of years ago, it was only taught to and for men.
However, as time has passed, this has changed, with the majority of Yogis (that is, people who practise Yoga) now identifying as female. In fact, Yoga Journal states that 82% of Yogis in the USA are female.
A woman who practices yoga will experience the benefits of Yoga both physically and mentally.
Physically speaking, Yoga improves flexibility, helps with building strength, creates healthy posture, improves joint mobility and bone density.
Regarding mental health, Yoga has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve body image, and improve the quality of life overall.
Benefits of Yoga for Women’s Health
From our experience of creating a consistent Yoga practice, here are some of our favourite benefits of Yoga for women’s health.
Yoga Can Help Regulate The Nervous System
Regularly practicing yoga will help balance the autonomic nervous system that controls the functions of our heart, breath, and all of the other functions that keep us living and healthy. There are two parts of the nervous system: the sympathetic and parasympathetic.
Yoga has been found to be able to guide the practitioner into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest and digest system (opposed to sympathetic which is fight or flight). It has been found that many people live most of their day in fight or flight, causing unnecessary stress to the body and often leading to adrenal fatigue.
Yoga Reduces Stress and Builds Stress Resilience
Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis, and it can make us tense and tired, both physically and mentally. As mentioned above, when in stressful situations, the fight or flight response in the brain activates, making the adrenaline rush and releasing cortisol into the bloodstream, which in turn increases the heart rate.
This is ok when the environment is actually stressful, think, jumping out of the way of a speeding bike or chasing after a runaway puppy. But when it is switched on during the simplest of activities, like checking the daily emails, this is where things go downhill.
Learning how to breathe properly and be present, can bring awareness to when the body may be leading into a stressful situation that is unnecessary. Using the breathing techniques you learn in Yoga can help regulate the breath and therefore the mind.
Think how powerful this tool might be? Situations that used to cause stress and anxiety no longer do because you are able to regulate the body.
Yoga Builds Full-Body Strength
While many women believe that building strength and muscle mass has to be done solely through gym workouts or strength training, but this is not true at all.
In fact, using your own body weight is a form of resistance training that builds strength across your entire body.
Stronger Yoga styles, such as Vinyasa, Hatha, Power Yoga and even our MerryBody Fusion classes will challenge your body and build muscular endurance and strength.
If you are just starting out with your Yoga practice, simply advise your Yoga Teacher (inside MerryBody, that’s Carla!). This way your Yoga teacher can help you work through modifications, regression and progression options. You’ll always find that we show many options within our online Yoga classes.
Yoga Improves Quality of Life
Yoga can be very beneficial for everyone, even for women suffering from illnesses like breast cancer, blood pressure issues, heart disease, dementia, or other serious medical issues.
Several studies have found that, when dealing with such a serious matter and health issue, Yoga can help women feel grounded and more positive.
As already mentioned above, the fact that Yoga can help with reducing stress is even more important when going through life situations and illness.
It is also important to note that the practice of Yoga releases the feel good hormones of serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. These are the hormones that make you feel happy, content, joyful and compassionate.
And yes… Yoga Can Help with Weight Loss
We get this question so often: does Yoga help with weight loss? We always have the same answer for this and the same important note. Read more about it here.
In a nutshell, any kind of movement will help you lose weight. But the most important reason to exercise is not to lose weight.
If you believe this too, then you have probably been diet culture washed, just like us.
That is, you grew up thinking that thinner = better, thinner = more beautiful and that fat = bad.
All of these statements are absolutely not true.
Diet culture is to blame for this. The constant messaging of weight loss celebration that fills the pages of magazines as well as the representation of women in media has forced us all to think that there is only one beauty ideal, and that ideal = skinny.
It takes a while to unpack and realise all of this. So if this is the first time you’re reading about it and we’ve kind of lost you, we simply hope you find your way back to our blog to keep reading.
It took us a long time to realise that we had been brainwashed by diet culture and that we in fact used to be PART of diet culture.
Now we are so glad that we have solid lines we do not cross with our fitness program.
Inside MerryBody, you’ll never see before and after transformation photos… These are designed to make you feel less than, to make you feel like you are the ‘before’ and therefore need to change.
You are so much more than a before photo.
We don’t do weigh-ins. You are so much more than a number on the scales.
We don’t take measurements. Afterall, you are so much more than the size of your waist.
We don’t burn off calories, do double workouts because we ate dessert, or call parts of our body by shaming names like: muffin top, saddle bags or tuck shop lady arms.
We don’t do that.
Why? Because we believe that movement and exercise CAN and should make you feel good. That it can and should be a celebration of what your body is able to do.
We want your exercise practice (whatever it is you choose) to make you feel AMAZING.
To learn more about MerryBody and actually TRY a MerryBody Class, we have a free Yoga Class here, a Free Pilates Class here and a Free Fusion Class here, try them all and feel the difference for yourself.
Emma + Carla