As you probably know, yoga is a practice that can improve the well-being of every individual – both physical and mental. It features several exercises that focus on your breathing and pose, but most people love it for the fact that it improves their flexibility. You may enjoy regular exercising, but you also know that without yoga, your joints and muscles can still be stiff at the end of the day. That being said, no matter if you are a beginner at yoga or have been practicing for quite some time, you need to know all about its benefits and drawbacks. You need to know why yoga is good when used right, and why yoga is bad when performed incorrectly. Are there any dangers? Before grabbing your yoga mat, you should take this article into account.
It is better to know all the benefits and drawbacks of yoga.
Why Yoga Is Good – The Benefits
Let’s start with the good side of yoga since you’re probably here because you intended to start yoga. That being said, you surely want to know why yoga is a nice option and how it can help you.
Yoga is actually gentle and quite easy to perform as each pose adapts to your level, and not the other way around. Because of that, most people should be able to pick it up and start working towards improving their minds. Here are a few things that will tell you exactly why this practice is good.
It’s a Great Anxiety Reliever
Yoga helps decrease your anxiety.
If you’re one of the people dealing with anxiety, you know how frustrating it can be. It is an obstacle in front of the things you want to do, and it makes your life harder most of the time. With yoga, anxiety may not be as much as a problem anymore. Apparently, yoga can help decrease your anxiety.
Studies have shown that people who took yoga classes had lower anxiety levels than those who didn’t. Whereas it’s hard to tell what it is exactly that makes this practice so helpful for anxiety, there could be a few speculations. Since yoga is helping people find inner peace and shows how important it is to be present in the moment, it could be a reason for relieving anxiety.
It Can Help You Better Your Posture
Having bad posture can be annoying because it leads to back, neck, or shoulder pain, among others. Especially if you tend to be awake and work a lot throughout the day, a bad posture will make you feel exhausted.
Through yoga, you can learn how to fix your posture by keeping your head in the right position. Your head needs to be balanced directly over the spine because this will make sure you feel better most of the time and will prevent fatigue at the end of the day.
Your Muscles Can Become Stronger
Yoga strengthens your muscles.
Going to the gym isn’t the only way to make your muscles stronger. In fact, another reason why yoga is great is because it helps strengthen your muscles. Having strong muscles may prevent you from getting arthritis or experiencing back pain. The cool thing with this ancient practice is that besides building strength, you increase your flexibility as well. This wouldn’t be achievable that easily at the gym.
It Could Help with Sleep Quality
Now and then, people may experience problems with their sleep. In general, bad sleep quality might be influenced by things such as depression, high blood pressure, and multiple other reasons.
By becoming a yogini, you may sleep much better. For instance, there was a study done back in 2005, where some elderly people were told to pick between taking herbal preparation, practicing yoga, and being part of the control group. Those who practiced yoga were able to have a better and longer sleep and woke up feeling more rested compared to the others.
Weight loss can be a very stressful process, especially if you’re not enjoying it and you fear that it won’t give you any results. Not to mention that being overweight could affect your life too, and the stress caused may actually lead to more weight gain.
Luckily, yoga can help you in this regard. Because it works as a stress relief method, it will make sure you feel more peaceful and can thus start losing weight properly. You will have two benefits: losing weight and feeling more relaxed.
It Can Offer You a Confidence Boost
A lack of confidence can affect various aspects of your everyday life. From your relationships to your decisions, having low confidence can be very detrimental. If you make sure to incorporate yoga into your routine, you should notice improvements in your confidence levels.
Yoga improves your confidence level.
Yoga is a way to release the tension accumulated in your body. Even if you don’t feel the best about your physical appearance, practicing regularly will help you have a better opinion about your body.
Since you will not experience that bit of anxiety anymore, you will be able to connect with yourself and thus improve your life in a great way.
Promotes Healthier Eating
Are you worried that you are not eating healthy enough? Well, if you start practicing yoga, you should see an improvement in your eating habits. Have you ever heard of mindful eating? It’s a practice that helps you be present in the moment while you eat. This way, you pay more attention to the taste, as well as the texture and smell of the food. As a result, you may start treating eating disorders much easily, or just start living a healthier life by eating healthier.
Yogis and yoginis learn to be present in every moment. So, you will naturally apply that concept to eating.
If you don’t do low-impact exercises and just perform intense workouts, then you put yourself at a greater risk of injury. When running, for instance, you do a lot of forceful and fast movements. Therefore, you are at a higher risk of injuring yourself or experiencing tensions in your muscles.
Yoga reduces the risk of injury from forceful and fast movements like running.
By practicing yoga, this risk decreases. It helps you create a balance between multiple muscle groups, and this balance will make sure you can engage in intense exercises safely. Not only your mind but also your body will benefit from this aspect.
You probably never thought why yoga is bad, or whether it can be bad in the first place, considering how positively people speak about it. However, depending on certain circumstances, it can be bad as well. You need to be aware of this before you start practicing.
As such, here are a few reasons why yoga could be bad.
Some yoga exercises will have you using your core muscles, and for the pose to end up properly and help you, you need strong muscles. If you have weak muscles, it will not be beneficial for you and may even be detrimental.
One of the most common poses you might have to perform during classes is the urdhva danurasana, or the wheel pose. It needs enough core muscle tone to perform, or else you may risk getting an injury. This is just an example. But you should develop a better core tone before performing certain poses.
Don’t let a weak core stop you from doing yoga. You may simply avoid the most challenging poses at the beginning, or just be mindful of your body and its limits by adapting the poses to your level and not trying to go too deep.
Exhaustion is normal after making an effort during various exercises. However, you shouldn’t feel completely drained after your yoga session (unless for some kinds of yoga). In fact, if you feel like sleeping or drinking coffee in excess afterward, it probably means that you overworked yourself. This isn’t too beneficial, because it takes away from the sodium and electrolytes in your body.
Just like that, weakness, fatigue, or dizziness could mean you are experiencing heat exhaustion as well.
Ease down a bit on your next practice, and let your instructor know about it.
Feeling completely drained after a yoga session means you overworked yourself.
It Might Make Existing Injuries Worse
Another thing that you should know when wondering if yoga could be bad for you is the fact that having existing injuries might prevent you from going to yoga classes. Actually, this may make your injuries much worse, which is why you should consider talking to a physician before you attend any sort of yoga class. The physician will be able to tell you if you can engage in yoga exercises or not.
Before strictly adhering to what your physician recommends, make sure he/she really knows and understands what a yoga practice is about, and even better, the kind of yoga you intend to do.
If you choose Bikram yoga, then you put your muscles at a bigger risk. Bikram yoga involves working out in a hot room, of about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature will make your muscles hot as well, which will cause a deeper stretch. Since ligaments and tendons will not stretch, you may stretch further than it’s safe to do. As a result, you may end up tearing a muscle or straining it.
Make sure you understand the kind of yoga you wish to try before actually trying it. And as always, if in doubt speak to your instructor and physician first.
Bikram is done in a hot room which will make your muscles able to do a deeper stretch.
Yoga has a lot of benefits, but that doesn’t mean everything related to it is good. In fact, it has certain aspects you should be aware of before doing it, as you were able to find out. You need to be careful and talk to a physician if you have certain conditions and worry whether yoga is beneficial for you or not. Also, you should make sure that your core muscles are strong enough before you perform each and every pose. Be mindful of your own body and don’t try to reach your limits until you are properly ready for it.
Now that you made it to the end of this article, you should be able to properly answer “is yoga good for me?”, “is yoga bad for me?” And decide if you want to try it or not. If you think you’re ready for yoga, search for a good instructor right now and start working towards a better mind and body!
Co-founder of MB Zen, digital nomad and yogini. Trying to beat down stress and achieve peace of mind through the daily practice of Yoga. After a while in yoga, I embraced it wholy, and it changed my lifestyle upside down. Now I want to give back , helping others on their journey.