Body Strength and Stamina
Increased body strength and physical stamina are the most obvious benefits of practicing yoga. Muscles and joints grow stronger. The increased muscle tone and improved posture makes you more attractive.
Yoga also concentrates on flexibility. This is one of the major differences between yoga and other forms of exercise. A flexible body is a more comfortable place in which to live. The muscles and joints are more resilient to the jolts and shocks of everyday life. This can help you prevent accidents and injuries.
Reducing Everyday Aches and Pain
Repetitive movements and postures from your daily life cause many of your aches and pains. Your habits of sitting, standing, driving, working, typing, or housework create the body in which you live. By treating your body to new and ergonomically-correct activities, you can correct and compensate for other less-healthy physical habits.
Rehabilitating and Healing Injuries
Yoga used therapeutically can rehabilitate and heal problem areas. Select exercises that do not re-injure already weakened areas and then use appropriate exercises to strengthen the injured area. Yoga also includes opening up to "healing energy." Be patient. Problems usually do not arise instantly. Instant solutions are rare.
Stress Reduction and Relaxation
One of the most common complaints of modern life is stress. An estimated 60% to 70% of all illnesses are stress-related. Stress contributes to the widespread diseases of our century -- heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Reducing stress reduces the incidence of these killers. Plentiful rest, a healthy diet, and proper exercise are three ways to minimize the ill effects of stress. Yoga is a fabulous stress-reducing exercise system. Not only does it temporarily reduce stress, but as the nervous system gains strength, your long-term stress level declines.
Mental and Emotional Benefits
Yoga makes you feel good. It is an opportunity for introspection and inner awareness. A good yoga session gives you a more positive outlook on life, a sense of balance, and a feeling of internal harmony. Greater mental performance and clarity gives you a clearer sense of priorities. Most importantly, your yoga practice is something that you do just for yourself. It is a personal affirmation that you are a worthwhile human being, worth spending time with, and worthy of being cared for.
Better General Health
This age-old science benefits you in ways that are not be obvious to the naked eye. Breathing exercises better oxygenate the blood, cleanse you of toxins, and give you healthier skin. The physical exercises increase circulation and improve the function of your organs and glands. The nervous system gains strength and resiliency. Digestion and elimination function more efficiently. In addition, the immune system is pumped up to increase your over-all level of health and well-being.
Last, but certainly not least, yoga is practice of uniting with the Divine. All of us have different ideas of the Divine. Whatever your version -- a gray-haired old man with a special interest in you, an exotic Hindu goddess with coins dripping from her hands, a vague notion of the "universal spirit," the Great White Spirit In The Sky, YAHWEH, or whatever -- yoga is a tool with which you can build a closer relationship to It, Him or Her. Yoga is a meditative practice that can help you experience God in your own way.