From green smoothies to facial serums to cryotherapy, there are tons of different products, activities, and therapies on the market today that promise to help you to feel and look younger. Our society is obsessed with finding ways to keep that youthful glow and have more energy and vibrancy on the inside and outside. But what about yoga? Can yoga affect our longevity?
Can a regular yoga practice promote longevity? Yoga can absolutely promote longevity. There are many benefits of a regular yoga practice including stress relief, stronger muscles, a calm mind, and overall wellbeing and happiness—all of which promote longevity.
A regular yoga and meditation practice affects the entire body including your breathing, physical muscles, immune function and nervous system. Ever notice how after a nice, long savasana, you feel more relaxed, happy, and peaceful?
This is because when you practice yoga, the stress hormone cortisol decreases, allowing you to feel that ‘yoga high’ and feeling of relaxation. And when we are generally less stressed out and more relaxed, this increases our overall health and wellbeing, which in turn possibly adds years to our lifespan.
Can Yoga Extend Your Life?
When our mental health is in good shape, we are better able to deal with stress and anxiety—two factors which impact aging and longevity. When you are stressed, tired, and anxious, this can affect your physical health. Because yoga and meditation help us to deal with stress and anxiety, we are better able to manage situations that come our way and live happier and healthier lives.
In addition, yoga strengthens the body and keeps you strong and active. You can practice yoga at any age, and there are numerous yogis who practice well into there 80’s and even their 90’s. Yoga promotes strength in your body and flexibility in your joints, and it keeps you moving and active.
There are numerous well-known yogis who have lived to ripe, old ages. Yoga teachers like Sri Pattabhi Jois lived until 93 and Krishnamacharya, one of the most influential yogis in the world, lived to be 100 years old! Clearly, these yogis must have done something right to live such long and fruitful lives. And you are never too old to start! Yoga is accessible to every type of body and fitness level, so there is no reason to not get on your mat.
Top 10 Ways Yoga Promotes Longevity
If you’re not already convinced and ready to roll out your yoga mat, here are 10 ways yoga can help promote and long, healthy and happy life.
Yoga relieves stress
There is nothing better than relaxing in savasana after a long, stressful day at work. The physical postures, the breathing, and the mindfulness aspect of yoga all contribute to that amazing feeling after your practice. And this feeling can last even after you step off of your mat. A regular yoga practice can relieve physical and mental stress, allowing you to have a stronger immune system and stronger mental health.
Yoga keeps you strong and flexible
A strong and flexible physical body ensures that you are less susceptible to accidents and injuries. The physical postures of yoga build up your muscular strength and keep your joints lubricated. A healthy physical body means that you may live a longer and healthier life.
Yoga helps with your digestion
There are certain poses that stimulate your digestive organs. With a healthier diet and healthy digestive system, you are at less risk for digestive diseases and issues.
Yoga brings balance into the body
From physical balance to mental balance, yoga can promote a more balanced sense of well being in the body. Yoga improves your posture and works on getting rid of any muscular imbalance in the body. In addition, it provides mental clarity and balance in your nervous system.
Yoga helps you eat a healthier diet
Do you tend to crave a healthy fruit smoothie or salad after your vinyasa practice? Usually, after a yoga practice, we tend to be more aware of our bodies and what we put into it. It is more likely that you will be craving a green juice than a burger with fries after practice. A healthier diet is beneficial in so many ways and will help to promote longevity.
Yoga helps you to sleep better
Sleep very much affects the body and its aging process. Poor sleep can lead to sickness and disease, however, with a regular yoga practice, it is very likely that notice that you have a healthier sleep regimen. Healthier sleep allows you to feel more energized and ready for what life may throw at you.
Yoga strengthens your immune system
Do you notice that you don’t get sick as much as other people around you? Your yoga practice may have something to do with that! A regular practice helps your body to fight off infections and boosts your immune system.
Yoga promotes self-care
With the pace of life growing faster and faster, it is more important for you to take time out for yourself. Whether it’s a restorative bath at the end of the day or a sweaty yoga session, self-care is so important in order to live a healthy and long life. When you practice yoga, you become more aware and in touch with your body and what you need to be your best self.
Yoga increase blood flow
The physical practice of yoga is full of movement, which brings circulation to your body and more oxygen to your body’s cells. This oxygenated blood moves to your organs and promotes healthy body functions, helping to ward off heart issues and blood clots. In addition, yoga can also raise your heart rate, lowering your risk of heart attacks.
Yoga improves your balance
If you find yourself loosing your balance and falling easily, it may be time to start a yoga practice. There are many yoga poses that work to improve your balance and concentration, and this means less falls and more mobility in your body—all of which affect your longevity.
Can Meditation Help You Live Longer?
Similar to yoga, meditation is a practice in which you learn mindfulness, go inward, and find peace in the present moment. Although there is minimal movement and muscular effort involved, meditation holds similar benefits to yoga. It reduces stress, improves your memory, and also leaves you feeling relaxed, calm, and at peace.
Seeing that it leaves you with the same benefits as yoga, it is likely that meditation can also promote longevity. A regular meditation practice helps to decrease anxiety and lower your cortisol levels, all of which affect your longevity. When you are more stressed with higher cortisol levels, you may be more susceptible to sicknesses such as heart disease.
All that being said, if you do have any mental health or physical health issues, it is important to visit your doctor instead of self-diagnosing with yoga and meditation. While yoga and meditation are beneficial for your health and can help with physical and mental ailments, it is important to seek the medical advice of your doctor, in addition to practicing these modalities.
How Do I Meditate?
There are many different types of meditation that people practice today. Some meditators practice a specific type of meditation like Transcendental Meditation or Shamatha Meditation, but meditation can be as simple as starting your day with 5 minutes of silence and mindfulness.
If you are new to meditation, start with a few minutes (or even just 1 minute!)each day.
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit and give yourself 3-5 minutes to start with.
- You can sit on a meditation cushion, lay down in savasana, or sit down in a chair.
- Begin by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath.
- Allow your body to relax and feel your mind soften as you settle into the present moment.
There are also different apps that you can download, such as Headspace that can guide you as you begin your meditation journey.
Meditation is a practice, and slowly you can start to sit for longer periods of time. You will start to notice similar benefits to your meditation practice that you may experience with your yoga practice. Like yoga, stress relief, mindfulness, and self-care can promote longevity.
What is the best type of meditation? While there are many different types of meditation, is no ‘best’ type of meditation. Just like the different styles of yoga, it is a good idea to try different styles of meditation and see which style resonates the most with you.
Do all types of yoga promote longevity? If your specific yoga practice leaves you feeling relaxed, mindful, and at peace, it is likely that is promoting longevity. When we are calmer and less reactive, it affects our mental, physical, and energetic body, keeping us happy and healthy.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the act being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment or without creating a story around what comes up. It is to practice consciousness and awareness with what is going on in and around us.