Everyone’s into yoga these days, and apparently, science approves. Countless research into the effects of the ancient technique have produced unanimous findings, all of which back the benefits of yoga for overall wellbeing. Experts say that yoga holds enormous potential to take your physical, mental, and emotional shape to a whole new level – but just like any other workout out there, there’s a limit to what yoga can do for you. Even with Spartan discipline and maximum yogic efforts, there’s only so much asanas and flows can do for the human body and mind before they go amiss. So, what exactly can yoga help you achieve, and what are the yogic no-gos you need to bear in mind before hitting the mat like a ton of bricks?
What Yoga Can and Will Do for You
When it comes to human wellbeing, yoga is a pal in times of both physical and cognitive need. Here are just a few perks asanas and Ujjayi will drop in your lap within weeks, once you sign up for a class.
“Inhale; exhale” isn’t just a mantra yoga instructors throw around for kicks. A 2012 study has found that yoga practice holds the potential to reduce stress and anxiety levels and thus significantly lower the risk of chronic diseases and improve life quality. The next time stress hits the fan, hit the mat, not the fridge: you’ll be impressed with the results even a brief yoga drill can produce on your mental shape, 100% calorie-free.
On top of its de-stressing effects, yoga can double as a powerful brain function booster. According to a 2013 study, 20 minutes of yoga a day can dial up cognitive functions even more efficiently than walking or jogging. If you think a bit of moderate-intensity PE can’t make you smarter, odds are you haven’t tried yoga yet. If you’re struggling to wrap your mind around a problem, try wrapping your body in a yogic knot, and the solution may pop up seemingly out of nowhere.
I originally took up classes of yoga in Sydney to improve coordination and physical balance, but I soon found that the daily practice is ideal for restoring the mind-body equilibrium and emotional stability, too. Yogic breathing and asanas are specifically designed to shift the focus from the external to the internal plane, thus unleashing inner peace and balance, allowing you to accomplish your goals faster and more efficiently.
Yoga is often recommended to injured athletes as complementary therapy, as it can help restore muscle strength and flexibility and prevent the degradation that can occur during downtime. Still, in case of orthopedic conditions and serious injuries, yoga can’t replace standard therapy: all it can do is speed up recovery slightly and help you get back into shape sooner.
What Yoga Can’t Help You Achieve
Although yoga is the closest it gets to the fountain of youth and wellness, its impact on human health has its limits. While daily yoga can improve your health and take your shape to the next level, it cannot fix just about any physical or mental problem you throw its way. Here are only a few conditions where asanas and flows simply can’t do much.
Doing yoga for weight loss is like drinking water to quench hunger: it simply doesn’t work. To bust stubborn fat stock, you may want to swap yoga for strength training or even cardio, as both workouts are far more efficient for weight loss than asanas, however complex, difficult, or lengthy you make them.
Bulk building is another physical aspect where yoga simply doesn’t cut it. Although those insane yoga poses look as if they could burst your musculoskeletal structure, they still won’t increase your muscle mass or help you build eye-poking biceps and pecs. What yoga can do for your body is tone it, but it can’t turn it into a Goliath-esque figure.
Certain yoga poses can help lower blood pressure and stabilize heart rate, but on their own they won’t come even close to fixing a chronic problem. If you’re considering taking up yoga for hypertension or arrhythmia, you won’t get far unless you make a few other lifestyle and dietary changes. For this reason, individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular conditions are advised to use prescription medications instead of relying on asanas alone.
So, should you or should you not sign up for yoga? You by all means should: the ancient technique is a powerful mood, focus, strength, and flexibility booster that can help you recover from injuries and purge your system of stress. Still, if you’re looking to fix full-blown medical conditions, burn fat by buckets, or build yourself some bulk, you may want to look beyond asanas, flows, Ujjayi, and stretches and resort to other, goal-specific tools of the health and fitness trade. Namaste!