How does yoga benefit your mental and physical well-being?

The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” meaning “to unite,” mostly referring to the connection between the mind and body. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that is intended to produce self-discovery and foster a deeper relationship with nature. A singular practice typically involves a series of poses and breathing exercises. While some people like to practice on their own, it’s most commonly recognized in a group setting with an instructor guiding your movements. At first thought, you may be picturing yoga as someone holding themselves up by their head or balancing in complex positions, but anyone can do yoga. There are a variety of difficulty levels that make it accommodating for all, and before you know it, you might be able to do a headstand yourself! Yoga is more than a test of balance, it can also offer many physical and mental benefits to the individual.

History of Yoga

The origins of yoga can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago. The first mention of yoga in ancient texts was found in Rig Veda. Vedas are a set of four ancient texts written in Sanskrit. Yoga is a major part of Buddhism as it is a part of its meditation practices, while it’s also important in Hinduism. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class or plan to in the future (which you should consider), you may have heard certain terminology that you didn’t recognize. The language used in yoga practices is Sanskrit which is one of the oldest languages in the world and is the root of many Indian languages.

This old tradition was made for a purpose. The original intention was to be able to sit in meditation for hours, but with an achy body that was impossible to do, and yoga was to help with that. Each pose and the postures of yoga were all created with a specific health purpose in mind.

Yoga for Physical Health

Yoga is a fantastic option, when it comes to keeping up with your physical well-being. Yoga is a great way to stretch out your muscles, but it has so many more benefits than that. Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that provides an improved range of motion while strengthening the muscles around your joints.

Yoga is also a great option for those who struggle with problems such as back pain or even arthritis. Back pain is an extremely common health problem, and studies have shown that those who do yoga have a dramatic reduction in back pain. Not only is yoga good for preexisting conditions, but also an amazing way to prevent injuries in the future.

The following are just some of the physical benefits of yoga:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved energy and respiration
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Reduce insomnia
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Protection from injury
psychological benefits of yoga

Yoga for Physical Health

Yoga is not only great for your body, it’s also beneficial for your brain. Any physical exercise you engage in will boost your mood. There are chemicals that make you feel good called endorphins that flood your system when you move your body. So while you’re practicing and even after, you may feel happier and less anxious. The meditation part of yoga can do something similar. It can help you decrease stress in your life. Breathing deeply and releasing emotional tension has a big impact on the current stress you are experiencing, and stress that you will inevitably encounter in the future.

Studies with a more scientific approach to yoga have also found that doing yoga can result in improved brain function. Specifically, the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory. Meaning over time, you essentially have a “younger” mind compared to those of the same age who don’t engage in yoga or other forms of exercise. Yoga strengthens your brain just as much as it strengthens your muscles.

Yoga is a great practice for those facing anxiety or depression. While many people look toward medication to combat these mental challenges, this can be another great way to help reduce the strain on your mind and body.

Getting Started: Where to Find Yoga Studios in Florence, Italy

Taking on a new challenge can be intimidating, but yoga is a practice for everyone who wants to participate. Patience is important when first beginning because it may take some time before fully grasping the concept and to feel confident in your movements. If you are interested in practicing yoga, you may want to start with an instructor who can guide you along the way. Here are some studios in Florence that have classes throughout the week that can help you get started:

  1. Maya Yoga Studio (Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 25)
  2. Yoga Garage (Via dei Conti, 22/R)
  3. Italia Power Yoga (Via della Chiesa, 36/R)
  4. YogaInCentro Firenze (Via dé Marsili, 1)

If you can’t find the time to make it to a class, but are still interested in trying it out, here are some great channels on YouTube that allow you to practice in your own home:

  1. Yoga with Adriene
  2. Breathe and Flow
  3. Yoga by Biola

Where to Find Yoga Studios in Rome

In Rome, the Italian capital, you can also find excellent yoga centers. If you’re looking for the best yoga studios in Rome, below is a list:

  1. Centro Samila (Via Costantino Beltrami 25 )
  2. RYoga (Via Servio Tullio, 20-22; Via dei Fienaroli, 27-28; Via Durazzo, 24)
  3. ZEM (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 18)
  4. Yoga Suite (Via Flaminia, 203 )

If you can’t find the time to make it to a class, but are still interested in trying it out, here are some great channels on YouTube that allow you to practice in your own home:

  1. Yoga with Adriene
  2. Breathe and Flow
  3. Yoga by Biola

About the Author: Catherine Carr

I am a student at the University of South Carolina, studying biological sciences and psychology. I am planning to go into healthcare in order to help others and make a positive impact on the world.