The Amazing Health Benefits of Yoga

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 04/11/2014 | 01:00 PM EDT

There's a lot more to the practice than twisting your body like a pretzel

When it comes to yoga, we often think about the practice’s most public and vocal supporter Russell Simmons. The media mogul has long championed yoga and meditation as a great way to find peace of mind amid our often chaotic everyday lives.


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But for some reason, yoga isn’t always properly represented, particularly in the Black community. There’s far more to it than doing the downward dog in a packed, hot room with a group of sweaty strangers. In fact, there are surprisingly great health benefits to doing yoga. For instance, did you know that it’s often touted as the path to the fountain of youth?


Here are a few other reasons why yoga is good for you:


Improves Your Sex Life

Yoga is statistically proven to improve your sexual desire and your performance in the bedroom. It can also enhance your confidence, orgasm. Yoga increases blood flow into the genital area, which is important for arousal and erections. Additionally, the breathing and mind control involved with the practice can also improve performance from mental point of view


Curbs Food Cravings

If you’re the type to crave food even when you’re not necessarily hungry, yoga may be just the thing to help you fight the urge. Research finds that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, an awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. 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. And we all know how dangerous comfort food can be…


Reduces Migraines

Migraines are often attributed to mental stressors, and while there’s no true consensus on what causes them, research shows that people who perform yoga have fewer and less painful migraines after three months. According to the Huffington Post, “hunching over a computer or cell phone with your shoulders up and head forward causes over-lifting of your trapezius and tightening of the neck. This pulls the head forward and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines.”


Longer Lifespan

People who practice yoga are believed to live longer than those who don’t. This is largely due to the fact that yoga helps expand your lungs through deep belly-breathing exercises, which benefit your heart. The effect is so strong that a regular yoga practice can lower your resting heart rate, both during and after class. Yoga also helps to boost immunity by simply increasing overall health.


Better Sleep

Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. And another study found that yoga sessions twice a week helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. This is mainly due to the fact that yoga has the ability to help people deal with stress, and the less stress the more relaxed your body becomes.


Fountain of Youth

A consistent yoga practice helps reverse processes that happen as your body ages, such as increased oxidation and acidity, cell damage and inflamed tissues, which can all lead to illness and disease over time. Research has shown that a consistent yoga practice helps decrease all these conditions for better long-term health. If that’s not enough reason, than what is?

(Photo: Leonora Hamill/Getty Images)

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