During this busy time of year, we certainly need to de-stress. For 5,000 years, people who practice yoga have praised its mental and physical benefits. Yet it can do so much more than just help us unwind.

Yoga can help us gain flexibility, control or weight and even boosting our immunity.  All my life I have worked out with weights and done cardio, but as I am getting a little older, I am realizing how important it is to include yoga, and stretching to balance out my fitness program. Here are 10 the  surprising benefits of yoga.

  • 1

    Improves Heart Health

    Yoga is a great way to keep active and improve your health. Studies show that yoga can slow down heart rate. This is a great benefit for those with blood pressure issues, as well as heart disease.

  • 2

    Reduces Stress

    In our everyday lives, it’s tough to find a moment to relax. We’re so exposed to so much stress that it’s important to set aside time to relax. Luckily, yoga is a great way to do that. Yoga reduces stress by using meditation techniques and deep breathing.

  • 3

    Strengthens Breathing

    Speaking of deep breathing, yoga is a wonderful way to regulate your breathing. Yoga requires deep, mindful breathing that strengthens your lung capacity and your endurance.

  • 4

    Supports Posture

    Yogis are well-known for their exquisite posture. Taking up yoga can help to improve your posture. Yoga requires using the abdominal muscles to maintain a pose, so it significantly strengthens your core. This makes it easier to keep your back straight and maintain good posture.

  • 5

    Increases Flexibility

    As we grow older, our flexibility is one of the first things that goes. Performing yoga regularly increases that flexibility that we may have lost with our growing age. Yoga stretches the muscles and increases the range of motion in the joints.

  • 6

    Boosts Immunity

    Practicing yoga on a regular basis can help you build up a stronger immune system. In one study it was found that postoperative breast cancer patients that practiced yoga did not experience significant immune system depression that is common after surgery and had better odds of a successful recovery from their surgeries.

  • 7

    Improves Relationships

    Yoga teaches you patience and compassion, which can have very positive effects on your relationships with others. When your mind and spirit are at peace, you response and react more positively and kindly towards those around you.

  • 8

  • 9

    Promotes Sleep

    According to a review article that looked at several complementary and alternative medicine strategies for treating insomnia, yoga was one of the most effective approaches for getting a good night's sleep.

  • 10

    Helps Memory

    The benefits of yoga may even extend to your brain. It helps us reduce mental stress and physical tension, which helps us have improved cognition. It is easier to think more clearly when our mind is clear and refreshed.