Yoga isn't about executing the poses perfectly, or having the best balance. Yoga is connecting with yourself. Yoga is like learning to breathe again. Yoga is taking a moment from your stressful, up-beat life and remembering you have a soul that needs tending to.

Yoga isn't about touching your toes. It's about what you learn on the way down. Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents us from living an abundant life. Yoga is about Self Improvement and Self Acceptance. Yoga is about compassion and generosity towards others. it means being mindful of the world around us.

Yoga is all about breathing. This came as a bit of an eye opener and for years I really never understood why. Gradually as I did more yoga I collected some tips and facts about breathing which are useful even if you don't practice yoga.

Ancient Yogis believed we only have so many breaths for our life. If this is so why not stretch our life out a bit longer by taking slow and deep breaths?

Breathing more slowly and taking longer breaths can reduce your appetite. People who breathe quickly or rapidly often overeat.

Breathing is the only autonomous system of the body that we can also control. This means that the body governs it but we can change how we breathe through conscious breathing practices such as pranayama.

Our breathe is an indicator of our mood and our mood is an indicator of our breath. This means that if we change how we breathe we can change our mood. It also means that when our mood changes so does our breath.

We breathe in and out of our nose during a yoga practice for a few reasons but the main one is that when we breathe like this we can't take in so much air or expel so much air. So if we have to resort to opening our mouth to get more air it is an indicator that we have stepped into stressing or pushing our bodies. When we practice yoga, we don't want to stress our bodies by doing open mouth breathing. Our practice should be a balance of effort with ease.

"The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating." Proverb

When we breathe we are either right nostril dominated or left nostril. You can find out which is more active by wetting your thumb and holding it to the right then the left nostril. The yogis believe that when the right is more open or breathing more smoothly we are more driven by the sympathetic nervous system which means we are more fired up, more active and aroused. Dominance in the left nostril tends to happen when we are relaxed and at ease. The dominance changes around every 20 minutes during the day. Single nostril breathing can help regulate left and right sides thereby creating balance in our nervous system

It is normal to take around 12 cycles of breath per minute. Asthmatics and people who hyperventilate can take in double this amount of breaths. This leads to taking in more oxygen but expelling too much CO2. When your CO2 is decreased you can't get as much oxygen setting up a cycle whereby you breath even faster.

Health benefits of yoga

Yoga increases flexibility and reduces stress, but the practice can do more than help you twist your body into pretzel shapes and find inner peace. These hidden benefits will help you in the kitchen, office and bedroom and will give you five new reasons to show off your yoga skills (plus recommended poses for each one!).

Boost Immunity

Boost Immunity

A recent Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boost immunity at a cellular level. And it doesn't take long: The researchers believe the changes occurred while participants were still on the mat, and they were significantly greater than a control group who went on a nature hike while listening to soothing music. Yoga also helps to boost immunity by simply increasing overall health.

Strike a Pose: Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) This sequence of eight poses performed in a row can be found in almost any yoga class. It creates great circulation and tone, plus sweat, says Bleier. This video breaks down each posture one by one.

Ease Migraines

Boost Immunity

Research shows that migraine sufferers have fewer and less painful migraines after three months of yoga practice. The cause of migraines isn't fully understood, but Bleier says it could be a combination of mental stressors and physical misalignment that create migraines and other issues. Hunching over a computer or cell phone with your shoulders up and head forward causes overlifting of your trapezius and tightening of the neck. This pulls the head forward and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines.

Strike a Pose: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor. With your hands resting on the floor, begin to press down into your legs and draw your hips toward the sky. The key, Bleier says, is to keep your shoulders in line with the base of your neck, moving the back of the shoulders together so the shoulder blades are close. Lift your chest towards your chin and your chin away from your chest, so the upper trapezius muscles flow away from the head.

Tone your body

Boost Immunity

Yoga exercises usually involve a lot of stretching. Regular yoga practice will help you not only tone your muscles and get beautiful figure, but also, yoga will train the organs of your body.

Sleep Better

Boost Immunity

Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. And another study found that twice-weekly yoga sessions helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. This can be attributed to yoga's ability to help people deal with stress, Sleep issues and anxiety. Your head can't stop spinning, you don't know how to relax, breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down, so you're going to start to see yourself sleep better.

Strike a Pose: Corpse Pose (Savasana) with Diaphragmatic Breathing Savasana is the final pose in a yoga class and is meant to restore the body. Lay on your back with your legs slightly apart and your arms extended at your side and your hands on your belly. Inhale and exhale through your nose, follow the breath and feel the belly rise and fall under your hands. The breath, muscles, and mind should be completely relaxed.

Fight Food Cravings

Boost Immunity

Researchers from the University of Washington found that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, an awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. By causing breath awareness, regular yoga practice strengthens the mind-body connection, Bleier says. The awareness can help you tune in to emotions involved with certain cravings, and yoga breathing exercises can help you slow down and make better choices when cravings strike.

The benefits of yoga are truly countless: not only it can help you keep extra pounds at bay, but also, yoga practice can help you relieve stress, sleep better, improve posture, tone your muscles and much, much more. Today let's look at 20 benefits of yoga you should know about:

  1. Better stress management
  2. How to deal with stress? Taking yoga classes can tremendously help you in relieving stress. Breathing, mediation and relaxation involved in yoga practice will make you more peaceful and stress-resistant.
  3. Improved posture
  4. No only good posture is very attractive, but it's also very beneficial for your overall wellbeing. Yoga can help you improve posture in a matter of weeks, so that you'll be able to keep your head high and walk with confidence.
  5. Better sleep
  6. A good, sound portion of sleep every night is essential for the wellbeing and good functioning of your body. Yoga can help you fight insomnia and finally be able to sleep like a baby.
  7. Tone your body
  8. Yoga exercises usually involve a lot of stretching. Regular yoga practice will help you not only tone your muscles and get beautiful figure, but also, yoga will train the organs of your body.
  9. You can practice yoga anywhere
  10. It absolutely doesn't matter where you practice yoga, once you know your exercising routine, you can do yoga at home, in a park, on the beach or, practically, anywhere you feel comfortable to.
  11. Weight loss help
  12. Yoga can help you gain control over your weight. Not only you will lose weight practicing yoga, but also you'll be able to keep your new great shape.
  13. Better circulation
  14. Yoga can tremendously help improve the blood circulation in your body, supplying your organs with oxygen and nutrients, thus, improving the overall condition of your skin, hair and nails.
  15. Metabolism booster
  16. Regular yoga practice can not only boost your metabolism, thus, helping you better control your weight, but also, it can help you find true balance, so that you won't need to torment yourself with exhausting dieting.
  17. Anti ageing
  18. Certain yoga exercises are known to delay ageing. Not only yoga practice can help relieve stress (which is one of the main causes of aging), but also, it can help detoxify your body, making you look and feel younger.
  19. Improved concentration
  20. Regular yoga practice has been proven to improve concentration and focus, due to the strong mind-body connection during exercising.
  21. Better memory
  22. Researches show that through yoga practising you can not only get improved mental sharpness, but also, regular yoga exercising can improve your memory.
  23. Back pain relief
  24. Yoga practice can, actually, be very effective in relieving back pain and stiffness. (Ask you doctor which exercises are best for you).
  25. Low risk of injury
  26. Comparing to other exercising practices, yoga involves less risks of injury, due to more controlled aspect of motions involved.
  27. You can do yoga while pregnant
  28. Did you know that you can practice yoga even when you are pregnant? Well, of course, the exercising routine should be adapted to your current condition. Practice yoga safely following the advice of your doctor and personal trainer.
  29. Energy booster
  30. Yoga practice involves a lot of breathing, providing your body with big portions of oxygen, thus, supplying you with energy and canceling fatigue.
  31. Improved endurance
  32. Regular yoga practice can improve the endurance and flexibility of your body. After doing yoga for a while you'll be able to run faster, walk longer distances and feel less tired in your day to day life.
  33. Better abs and great bootie
  34. Yoga exercising can make your abs tighter and your bootie stronger. Isn't it amazing?!
  35. No more arm flap
  36. Here is another benefit of yoga: it can help you tone your arms in no time, so that you'll be able to say ÃÆ'Æ'Æ'ÃÆ'‚¢ÃÆ'Æ'¢ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å¡ÃÆ'‚¬ÃÆ'Æ'…ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å“bye-byeÃÆ'Æ'Æ'ÃÆ'‚¢ÃÆ'Æ'¢ÃÆ'¢â‚¬Å¡ÃÆ'‚¬ÃÆ'Æ'‚ÃÆ'‚ to arm flap forever.
  37. Immunity boost
  38. Researches show that yoga can tremendously improve your overall wellbeing and boost your immunity. Isn't it a good reason to start exercising?
  39. Better mood
  40. And, finally, regular yoga practice can improve your mood, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Now you know plenty of yoga benefits and can start looking for your local yoga classes. What other health benefits of yoga do you know? Please, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
    Stay happy!