Ah, yoga, we love you so.
There's a reason the ancient practice has stood the test of time. Yoga is a total mind-body experience, with both physical and mental benefits. Not to mention the fact that there are endless options, making it one of the most versatile ways to work out.
But don't just listen to us wax poetic about the practice -- allow the science to speak for itself. In honor of the International Day of Yoga, below are 10 research-backed reasons to incorporate more yoga in your life:
1. Yoga is the ultimate stress reliever.
Feeling a little high-strung? Head to a yoga studio. Research shows the practice can reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure. Yoga may even reduce symptoms of more serious mental health issues like anxiety.
2. It's a good workout.
Yoga may not scream "heart pumping cardio," but trust us, it's one of the best ways to get some exercise. Research shows yoga is a healthy way to lose weight, particularly for middle-age individuals. Take that, elliptical.
3. It's an excellent way to strength train.
Yoga engages so many muscle groups, from your core to your arms. It's a great way to swap your weights every once and a while for something different. Don't believe us? Try these moves and feel the burn.
4. It can make your mind sharper.
Boost that noggin with a few Sun Salutations or Downward Dog poses. Exercise is a natural way to sharpen your memory. Yoga, in particular, may also help boost brain function and improve reaction time post-workout, Runner's World reported.
5. Yoga can ease pain.
Neck pain, knee pain, back pain... you get the idea. Yoga is the antidote to these types of ailments. The practice can help relieve chronic pain, according to Harvard Medical School. Here are a few yoga moves you can try the next time your body is begging for a little relief.
6. It can help you sleep.
Forget the sleep aids, allow yoga to lull you into a soft slumber. Research shows the practice can help with insomnia. And with it's calming benefits, there's no doubt your mind will be relaxed and prepped for rest. Try one of these nighttime yoga moves for better sleep.
7. The practice could be good for migraines.
Head pain, begone. A 2007 study found that yoga helped reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in sufferers. Talk about therapeutic.
8. It can put you in the mood.
If you want to turn up the heat in the bedroom, you might want to head to the yoga studio first. Research suggests the activity can increase sexual satisfaction. And here's proof it's not just a female activity: Studies show that sexual performance is enhanced for both women and men when they practice yoga.
9. It makes you more flexible and balanced.
Say goodbye to klutziness. A regular yoga practice can help improve your balance and muscle flexibility. And don't stress if you're a beginner: There are ways to modify yoga poses to fit your not-so-limber limbs until you're a more seasoned pro. Check out these moves to help you get started.
10. It may lead to a happier state of mind.
Who wouldn't have a joyful disposition after they've just had a calming, yet challenging workout? Studies suggest that practicing yoga can boost your mood. Namaste to that.
Ready to hit the mat?