The Many Benefits of Yoga

By Jon Stiffler PTA/Sports Center Manager

The Many Benefits of Yoga

The practice of yoga originated in India around 5000 years ago. The word yoga is a Sanskrit term meaning union, specifically union of body, mind, and spirit. The benefits of yoga are numerous. This article will focus on the manifold physical benefits. The central focus of any yoga practice is the breath and allowing optimal flow of prana (Sanskrit word for energy) through proper breathing.


Depending on the type of yoga being practiced, asanas (Sanskrit term for postures) will be of a flowing nature.  It will be held for a few breaths with deepening into the posture with each exhalation. Over time, this will lead to improvements with flexibility. Another focus of any yoga practice is alignment.  This will serve to optimize the flow of prana (energy). With so many of our daily activities (reading, driving, eating, computer work) we regress into a cashew-type posture with our heads peaking out like a turtle. These malalignments can lead to pinching and shortening of structures such as nerves and tendons.

No wonder doctor’s offices have patients complaining of shoulder, neck, and back pain. Through yoga, postural awareness improves.  Flexibility of tightened structures also improves.  Finally, strengthening of weakened postural muscles is done by holding asanas (postures) in proper alignment.


Yoga practices also include balancing the body to maintain asanas (postures). Various degrees of difficulty can be practiced, often influenced by the type of yoga one is doing. For example, with ashtanga yoga great strength and balance is required to get into and to maintain some of the advanced asanas.

Purification of Toxins

Purification of toxins is another physical benefit of any yoga practice.  Through the focus of proper breathing techniques. Further, some types of yoga encourage purifying sweat.  Producing intense internal heat and/or practicing in a warm room. Remember, to always talk to your yoga instructor if you have any physical limitations or injuries.  Yoga adjustments can easily occur if you have injuries.  It is of keen importance not to ignore or push through physical limitations.  This may prolong your recovery or cause further injury.  In conclusion, remember to leave your ego at the door and have fun!

Benefits of Yoga

Picture of a Person Performing Yoga.

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