The Benefits of Doing Yoga in the Morning - A Practical Guide for Beginners

Written by: Pard Bharaj

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Time to read 11 min

Introduction:The Benefits of Doing Yoga in the Morning


Far more than just physical exercise, yoga offers a holistic approach to well-being, integrating body, mind, and spirit. Its benefits extend from physical health to mental and emotional wellness, making it a transformative practice for many.


In this article, we'll explore the benefits of doing yoga in the morning, revealing how it can positively impact your life and help start the day in a good frame of mind, as well as go over some of the most common yoga poses. 

History of Yoga


Yoga, an ancient practice with roots in India over 5,000 years ago, has now become a global phenomenon, with over 300 million practitioners worldwide. Yoga's origins trace back over 5,000 years to ancient India, initially focused on spiritual enlightenment and meditation. The term 'yoga', from the Sanskrit 'yuj', signifies the union of body and consciousness. The practice evolved over centuries, incorporating elements from various Eastern philosophies.


The Yoga Sutras, written by the sage Patanjali around the 2nd century, were pivotal in shaping yoga's principles and practices. In the 20th century, yoga gained global popularity, especially in the West, where it became known for its physical postures and health benefits. Today, yoga encompasses a range of styles, each reflecting a unique blend of its ancient roots and modern adaptations.

The Health Benefits of Yoga:

1. Yoga for Flexibility


  • Enhanced Flexibility:¬†Yoga gently stretches your muscles, increasing your range of motion. Regular practice helps in loosening tight muscles, making your body more flexible. ¬†It's best not to push too hard with yoga poses as it can actually make muscles more stiff, especially if you're not used to it.
  • This study found significant improvements in flexibility among the yoga group (YG) of athletes who participated in biweekly yoga sessions over a 10-week period, suggesting that a regular yoga practice can effectively enhance the flexibility of athletes, potentially enhancing athletic performances and highlighting benefits of yoga for athletes and nonathletes. prone to injuries.

2. Yoga for Strength


  • Improved Strength: Contrary to common belief, yoga isn't just about stretching. Many poses require supporting your body weight in different ways, which strengthens a variety of muscles. From building core strength to toning limbs, yoga offers a full-body workout.

  • The study¬†highlights that yoga practices enhance muscular strength, alongside improving body flexibility. It emphasises that yoga, particularly Hatha yoga, involves a series of body postures and movements (asanas) that not only improve flexibility but also help in building muscle mass or maintaining muscle strength. This is crucial for protecting against conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and back pain. The practice of yoga, through its various postures, contributes to the overall strengthening of the body's muscles, enhancing physical stability and resilience.

3. Yoga for Improved Posture


  • Better Posture: Yoga poses focus on alignment and balance, which are key to good posture. Regular practice helps in correcting bad posture habits, alleviating back pain, and improving overall body alignment.
  • ¬†Sadhguru said this about yoga ‚ÄúIt is about manipulating the body to a certain geometric perfection, to be in sync with the larger geometry of creation. The very way one sits can bring a certain balance and enhance one's perception‚ÄĚ.

4. Yoga for Balance


  • Enhanced Balance: Yoga not only works on physical balance through poses but also enhances mental focus and concentration. This dual approach helps in improving overall stability, crucial for daily activities and preventing falls, especially as we age.

  • This review¬†concludes that yoga may have a beneficial effect on balance. However, it notes that the variable study design and poor reporting quality in some studies make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions. ¬†Personally speaking, I have been practising yoga for 2 years and I can say it has definitely helped me with balance as well as strength.

5. Yoga for Stress Relief


  • Combatting Stress: Yoga is renowned for its ability to reduce stress. Practices like deep breathing and meditation in yoga trigger the body's relaxation response, helping to lower stress hormone levels. This calming effect can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and create a sense of tranquility. Readers maybe interested in reviewing our article about natural ways to reduce stress and anxiety.

  • This review¬†found that Yoga effectively reduces stress by influencing neurotransmitter levels, balancing the autonomic nervous system, and lowering physiological stress markers like cortisol, thereby aiding in the management of Major Depressive Disorder.

6. Yoga for Mental Health


  • Mental Health Benefits: Regular yoga practice has been linked to improvements in mental health, particularly in managing depression and anxiety. By fostering a mind-body connection, yoga helps in regulating mood and emotional responses, making it a valuable tool in mental health care.

7. Yoga for Mindfulness


  • Cultivating Mindfulness: At the heart of yoga is the practice of mindfulness ‚Äď being fully present in the moment. This aspect of yoga teaches practitioners to be more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, leading to a deeper understanding of themselves and their surroundings.

8. Yoga for Concentration and Brain Health


  • Enhanced Concentration: Yoga is not just a physical exercise; it's a mental workout. Through focused practices and mindful movements, yoga helps in sharpening concentration and mental clarity. This improved focus can translate into better productivity and efficiency in daily life.

  • This review¬†published in Harvard Health found that Yoga strengthens brain areas linked to memory and attention, with studies showing that practitioners have a thicker cerebral cortex and hippocampus. This suggests improved cognitive functions and potential protection against age-related cognitive decline.

9. Yoga for Immune System and Overall Health


  • Boosting Immune Function: Yoga is known for its ability to enhance the immune system. Practices like asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), and meditation have been shown to improve the body's immune response. This is partly due to stress reduction, as chronic stress can weaken the immune system.

  • Promoting General Health: Regular yoga practice contributes to overall health in multiple ways. It improves respiratory and cardiovascular function, aids in digestion, and promotes better sleep patterns. By integrating physical activity with relaxation and mindfulness, yoga supports a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

10. Yoga for Chronic Conditions


  • Managing Symptoms: Yoga can be an effective tool in managing various chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. It helps in reducing pain, improving physical function, and enhancing quality of life for those with chronic illnesses.

  • This study, a systematic review and meta-analysis, demonstrates that yoga offers significant improvements in exercise capacity and health-related quality of life for individuals with chronic diseases like heart disease and COPD. It highlights yoga's potential as an effective adjunct to conventional rehabilitation, enhancing patient outcomes.¬†

11. Yoga for Sleep


  • Improved Sleep: Research supports the idea that yoga can be an effective tool for combating insomnia and improving overall sleep quality. Studies have shown that individuals who practice yoga regularly report better sleep patterns, including faster time to fall asleep, longer sleep duration, and improved sleep efficiency.

  • This study¬†from the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine indicates that long-term yoga practice among elderly individuals leads to significant improvements in sleep quality. Participants experienced fewer sleep disturbances and a reduction in the use of sleep medication.¬†

12. Yoga for Lowering Inflammation


  • Inflammation: Emerging research suggests that yoga may play a role in reducing inflammation, a key factor in a range of chronic diseases. Inflammatory responses are part of the body's immune system, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.

  • This systematic review¬†analysed 15 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the impact of yoga on immune system functioning. The review suggests that yoga can downregulate pro-inflammatory markers, indicating its potential as a complementary intervention for both clinical populations and healthy individuals.¬†

13. Yoga for Improving Self Awareness


  • Regular yoga practice can significantly impact self-esteem. By promoting a sense of achievement and body positivity, yoga helps individuals appreciate their physical capabilities and embrace their unique qualities. This positive body image and sense of accomplishment contribute to a healthier, more confident self-view.

  • This study¬†revealed that yoga practice among adolescents leads to notable improvements in self-esteem and emotional regulation. These benefits are attributed to yoga's holistic approach, which combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques, fostering a greater sense of emotional balance.

Simple Poll

Simple Poll

Do you practice yoga regularly?

Yes
No
Sometimes

Exploring the Main Types of Yoga:


Yoga comes in various styles, each with its unique focus and benefits. Understanding these can help you choose the style that best aligns with your needs and goals.


1. Hatha Yoga

  • Focus: Hatha is often considered the best starting point for beginners. It involves basic movements and slower-paced stretching with a focus on breathing and meditation.
  • Ideal For: Those new to yoga or looking for a more relaxed practice.

 

2. Vinyasa Yoga

  • Focus: Known for its fluid, movement-intensive practices, Vinyasa yoga is almost like a dance with smooth transitions between poses.
  • Ideal For: Those seeking a more vigorous and fitness-based approach to yoga.

 

3. Ashtanga Yoga

  • Focus: Ashtanga is a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of poses and is similar to Vinyasa yoga in its flow but more demanding.
  • Ideal For: Those looking for a challenging, structured practice.

 

4. Iyengar Yoga

  • Focus: This form emphasises precision and alignment in each pose. Iyengar often uses props like belts, blocks, and wall ropes to help practitioners achieve the correct alignment.
  • Ideal For: Those who want to focus on alignment, recover from injury, or have chronic conditions.

 

5. Kundalini Yoga

  • Focus: Kundalini is more spiritually focused, combining postures, breathing exercises, and the chanting of mantras to awaken your kundalini energy.
  • Ideal For: Those interested in a more spiritual practice.


Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The practice of yoga involves physical activity, and as with any exercise program, there is the risk of injury. It is advised to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns.

The Best Yoga for Beginners - Choosing the Yoga Right Style For You:


  • Assess Your Goals:¬†Consider what you want to achieve with yoga ‚Äď whether it's fitness, stress relief, spiritual growth, or flexibility.
  • Consider Your Fitness Level: Some styles are more physically demanding than others. Choose one that matches your current fitness level.
  • Try Different Styles: Don‚Äôt hesitate to experiment with different types of yoga to find what resonates with you.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body and mind feel during and after practice. The right style should leave you feeling rejuvenated and balanced.

Yoga for Beginners - Common Yoga Poses and Practical Tips

Child's Pose (Balasana):


A restful pose that calms the mind and relieves tension. The main benefits include:


  1. Stress and Anxiety Relief: Child's Pose helps calm the mind and alleviate stress and anxiety, providing a sense of safety and comfort.

  2. Gentle Stretch for Back and Hips: It offers a mild stretch to the spine, hips, and thighs, helping to relieve tension in these areas.

  3. Promotes Relaxation and Breathing: The pose encourages deeper, more relaxed breathing, which aids in overall relaxation and stress relief.

  4. Aids in Digestion: The position of the body in this pose can gently massage the internal organs, potentially aiding in digestion and relieving discomfort.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):


A foundational pose that strengthens the arms and legs while stretching the back and calves.

  1. Strengthens Upper Body: This pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back, enhancing upper body strength and stability.

  2. Stretches Hamstrings and Calves: It effectively stretches the hamstrings and calves, which is beneficial for those with tightness in these areas.

  3. Energises the Body: Downward-Facing Dog helps increase blood flow to the brain, providing an energy boost and improving focus.

  4. Improves Posture: Regular practice can improve spinal alignment and overall posture, helping to alleviate back pain.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana):


This pose strengthens the spine, opens the chest and shoulders, and stimulates abdominal organs.  Here is an explanation of the main health benefits:


  1. Strengthens the Spine: Cobra Pose strengthens the muscles of the spine, enhancing flexibility and posture.

  2. Opens the Chest and Shoulders: It expands the chest and shoulders, beneficial for those with tightness in these areas.

  3. Stimulates Abdominal Organs: The pose gently massages the abdominal organs, potentially aiding in digestion and relieving stress.

  4. Reduces Fatigue and Stress: Regular practice of Cobra Pose can help alleviate fatigue and reduce stress levels.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II):


Enhances leg strength, stability, and focus.


Here is a list of the main health benefits of this gentle and effective yoga pose.


  1. Enhances Leg Strength: Warrior II strengthens and tones the leg muscles, improving overall lower body strength.

  2. Increases Stamina: This pose challenges endurance and stamina, building physical and mental resilience.

  3. Improves Balance and Stability: Regular practice enhances balance and stability, both physically and mentally.

  4. Opens Hips and Chest: It stretches the hips, chest, and shoulders, aiding in flexibility and posture improvement.

Tree Pose (Vrikshasana):


 Improves balance and concentration.


The following are 4 of the main health benefits that the Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) can provide.


  1. Improves Balance: Tree Pose enhances physical and mental balance, aiding in focus and concentration.

  2. Strengthens Legs: It strengthens the thighs, calves, ankles, and spine, promoting overall leg stability.

  3. Opens Hips: This pose gently opens the hips, helping to release tightness and improve flexibility.

  4. Encourages Mind-Body Connection: Practicing Tree Pose fosters a deeper mind-body connection, enhancing mindfulness and presence.

Sequence Suggestions:


  1. Start with Child's Pose (Balasana) for relaxation.
  2. Transition into Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to stretch and strengthen.
  3. Move into Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) to open the chest and strengthen the spine.
  4. Stand up for Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) to build leg strength and stability.
  5. Finish with Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) to improve balance and focus.

Common Mistakes and Tips

 

  • Alignment: In poses like Downward-Facing Dog, ensure your fingers are spread wide, and weight is evenly distributed through your palms.
  • Breathing: Always breathe deeply and steadily; Inhale to prepare for a pose, exhale to deepen into it.
  • Mindfulness: Stay present. Focus on how your body feels in each pose rather than striving for perfection.

Conclusion: Embracing Yoga in Everyday Life


Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can be a transformative experience, offering benefits that extend far beyond the physical. Whether it's attending classes at a local studio, following online tutorials, or simply dedicating a few minutes each morning or evening to practice, every bit contributes to your overall well-being.


Even if time is scarce, remember that consistency is key. Just five minutes of yoga daily can make a significant difference. It's the cumulative effect of regular practice that fosters physical strength, mental clarity, and emotional balance. Yoga is not just about the duration of your practice but the commitment to integrate its principles into your daily life.


Set a personal goal to practice regularly for a month. After this period, take a moment to reflect on any changes you've noticed. Many find that yoga brings a newfound sense of energy, tranquility, and awareness into their lives.


FAQ's (Coming Soon)

Photo of the author - Pard Bharaj

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. My journey in the health and wellness field has been driven by a passion for understanding and sharing the most effective ways to maintain and improve health. Over the years, I have delved into a wide range of topics, constantly seeking out the latest research and insights. My commitment is to provide well-researched, accurate, and trustworthy information to help readers make informed decisions about their health.

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