If you're still convinced that yoga is nothing but stretching, it's time to get the facts. There is so much this ancient practice can do for your body, mind, and spirit beyond sheer relaxation — hey, there's got to be a reason it's been around and revered by so many for so long!
Headache relief: The tension in your neck, tight shoulders, or back pain can cause major headaches, but instead of popping a pill for relief, these yoga poses can gently stretch and open those areas, helping to circulate blood to your head.
Alleviated anxiety: You know that yoga can help you unwind, but it can have big benefits for people with more serious anxiety issues. One study has shown that yoga increases GABA, a chemical in the brain that people with mood and anxiety disorders lack, more than other forms of exercise.
No more insomnia: Yoga before bed can be some of your best defence against insomnia. By calming down your body and your mind, you're putting yourself in a better position for restful slumber. This before-bed yoga sequence has rescued me from many a sleepless night.
Improved fertility: While there's really no hard scientific evidence that yoga is effective when it comes to fertility, many women have found success from this ancient practice. Some experts believe that by increasing blood flow to your pelvis, stimulating hormone-producing glands, and releasing muscle tension, you're putting your body in a better position for healthy, natural conception.
Boosted immunity: Think that loading up on vitamin C is the only way to boost your immunity? Guess again. All exercise can help you stay healthy, but one Norwegian study suggests that yoga may be better than traditional exercise when it comes to strengthening the immune system.
Lightened-up cramps: If you tend to pop meds every time your time of the month rolls around, consider this: getting your body moving with yoga can alleviate those uncomfortable cramps. These poses stretch out your hips, belly, and back — all the places where cramps can hit you hard.
Natural detox: An active, heat-building practice (one where you sweat a lot) full of twists detoxifies and purifies your digestive system and internal organs. Try this strong yoga sequence that is designed with natural detox in mind — plan to twist and sweat with this one!
Want more yoga resources? Check out:
How I Learned to Stop Hating Yoga
10 Things to Know Before Your First Time — Yoga Edition
The Short and Sweet Yoga Sequence You Can Do Every Morning