Yoga has been practiced for more then 5,000 years. It is not a trend. Most classes focus on the physical aspect of yoga, which is to learn physical poses, asanas. They also contain breathing exercises and some meditation techniques as well.
The first benefit is greater flexibility. The asanas are designed to stretch the body muscles in a safe way. One is never too old, too unfit, and too stiff to do yoga. By stretching the body, lactic acid gets released and the stiffness, which is caused by lactic acid, gets released. Stretching widens the movability and lubrication of the joints in the body. Yoga does not just stretch the muscles. It also stretches the soft tissues of the body. Those are ligaments, tendons, and fascia that surround the muscles.
Yoga increases strength. Some types, like ashtanga yoga, are very vigorous and you can build up your muscle tone very fast. Other, gentler types, increase the strength also, by focusing on the precise alignment of the poses and with longer time in the actual pose of yoga, a person gains the strength and endurance.
Many poses build up the power of the upper part of your body, such as Downward dog pose. The standing poses build strength in the hamstrings and quadriceps. Actually, every pose if one does it correctly increases body strength. With practice, a person gains greater flexibility and strength. From there, they gain better posture.
During a yoga class one\'s breath will lengthen and become deeper. This will improve one\'s lung capacity and endurance. By deepening one\'s breath, they are triggering a relaxation response. Deep breathing while doing the asana focuses a person\'s mind bringing mental clarity and a peacefullness. Among anti stress effect, yoga influences on hormone production in the adrenal glands reducing the level of the stress hormone in the body.
The most studied benefit of yoga is its effect on the heart disease. Yoga is long known to lower the blood pressure and to slow down the heart rate. Dean Ornish, MD, designed the program of yoga and diet changes for his heart disease program. This was the first program which tried and partly reverted heart disease through change of lifestyle and diet rather the surgery.
There are many other benefits of yoga. Many practitioners of yoga tell that by practicing yoga help them in their marriages or in work situations. Every practitioner of yoga found for himself the benefits of yoga. The only way to find out what yoga can do for somebody is to go and practice it.