Benefits of Hatha Yoga

Benefits of Hatha Yoga

The most commonly practiced form of yoga, hatha yoga, benefits mental and physical health through a series of asanas, or postures that flow from one to the next, and pranayama, or breathing. Postures range from relaxed lying positions to more challenging twists and bends that increase strength and flexibility while controlled breathing reduces stress and encourages relaxation. With easier movements performed at a slower pace than more advanced forms of yoga, hatha yoga is perfect for beginners seeking the benefits of yoga.

Stress Relief and Relaxation
Hatha yoga helps you to relax and reduces stress through deep, controlled breathing and the mental focus, concentration and balance required of yoga postures. While simply focusing on your breathing increases relaxation by calming your mind, the anti-stress benefits of deep breathing also result from biochemical responses. Deep breathing stimulates the relaxation response and creates a feeling of calm by decreasing catecholamine hormones that your body produces in response to stress and increasing levels of oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel relaxed and connected to others.

Physical Fitness
Performing a flow of postures, each held for several long breaths, increases balance; upper-body, lower-body and abdominal strength; endurance; and range of motion in the joints. Yoga postures are designed to stretch your muscles, ligaments and tendons, which releases built-up lactic acid that causes muscle stiffness, tension, pain and fatigue and increases flexibility. Yoga poses also improve posture and proper body alignment by strengthening your core muscles, which you rely on to maintain proper posture. Deep breathing in hatha yoga improves lung capacity, which helps you breathe properly and improves performance and endurance when playing sports, running or performing other forms of aerobic fitness.

Heart Health
Performing hatha yoga regularly may prevent and help with heart disease by lowering blood pressure, decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels and boosting the immune system. Performing hatha yoga also reduces your heart rate, which is particularly beneficial for people who are already suffering from heart disease, hypertension or stroke.

Chronic Health Conditions
Performing hatha yoga regularly, as a supplemental treatment, may prevent or help you manage chronic health conditions, such as clinical depression, anxiety, asthma, back pain and arthritis. Yoga can also help with insomnia, fatigue and other sleep problems or disorders.