1. Yoga Clears Out Mind Clutter
In today's always-on-the-run world, your mind may be constantly spinning -- thinking about what happened previously, what's currently going on and what's next on your to-do list. Yoga can help you stay in the present moment and clear your head. "Things can cause us stress because we hold on to them and let them create stories in our mind, which takes up our precious time," says Jessica Ray, yoga teacher at Back Bay Yoga Studio in Boston. She feels the practice "helps clear it all out."
2. Yoga Improves Your Mood
If you're feeling blue, yoga can provide a natural pick-me-up. A 2011 study from Boston University School of Medicine found that yoga improved the moods and decreased the anxiety of 19 yogis over a 12-week period. This is attributed to the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which increase when you practice yoga. Other studies have found links between low GABA levels and depression. So pull out that yoga mat and improve your health and happiness.
3. Yoga Is Effective Cross-Training
Yoga complements many sports and fitness activities that don't incorporate stretching or don't emphasize balance training, such as golf or baseball. "Many professional sports teams now include yoga as part of their practice," says Laura Burkhart, yoga teacher and founder of Yoga Reach International in San Francisco. "It helps them with the sporting activity in areas like balance, focus and endurance." If you're already a fitness buff -- be it a runner, cyclist, tennis player or weightlifter -- try taking a page from the pros and add some yoga to the mix.
4. Yoga Helps You Sleep
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, yoga may help you sleep more soundly. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback found that yoga reduced awakenings that contributes to insomnia. Participants reported better sleep efficiency, sleeping longer and waking less frequently during the night, among other improvements. Add some oms to your routine and you may find it easier to catch some Zs. Read more on livestrong.