When people want to enhance their moods, they might order a pizza, go shopping, or binge-watch a new series. But when it comes to waking up early for a yoga class, enthusiasm suddenly drops.
And honestly, I don’t blame them! Getting up early is a struggle by itself. Exercise definitely makes it a lot harder. However, if you managed to get through this initial pain, the payoffs would be huge.
In this article, we’ll explore the 7 benefits of doing yoga in the morning. Prepare your yoga mat and let’s get going!
- 1. It Reduces Stress
- 2. It Obviates the Need for Caffeine
- 3. It Can Rev Up Your Metabolism
- 4. It Can Relieve Chronic Morning Pain
- 5. It Optimizes Sleep Quality
- 6. It Improves Breathing
- 7. It Might Relieve Migraines
- Bonus: Tips for Getting Into a Morning Yoga Routine
- To Wrap Up
1. It Reduces Stress
I used to have some mornings when I couldn’t get out of bed. Not because I was lazy or sleepy. But this usually happened when I had something important on that day. A presentation, interview, and even meeting someone new.
Those stressful situations cemented me in bed. My mind was always trying to anticipate what might go wrong to try and protect me. But it ended up ruining things more. If this is how your mornings start, yoga can help, just like it did with me.
After yoga improved my stressful mornings, I was quite curious. How did it manage to do it? How exactly did my body react? Was it only a placebo, psychological effect?
Luckily, I found many studies documenting the same benefits I reaped. In one study, a group of 24 emotionally distressed women was subjected to a 3-month intensive yoga program. After it was finished, they showed lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
Yoga Regulates Cortisol
Alright, now we’re sure it works for other people. But the question remains, how?
In another study, researchers compared blood samples between people who practiced yoga and others who didn’t. They found significantly lower levels of cortisol in people who practiced yoga on a regular basis.
In case you aren’t familiar, cortisol is the main stress hormone secreted by our bodies. It’s actually beneficial since it can brace your body to face hard times. But when it lurks around more than it should, it rears its ugly head.
How Can Cortisol Hurt You
Under high levels and prolonged exposure, cortisol hinders your immunity, promotes tiredness, and enhances weight gain.
Furthermore, it increases the risk of developing chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
So, it’s not only a matter of feeling awful in the morning. Stress can mess up your body big time in the long run. That’s when yoga becomes a necessity rather than just leisure.
2. It Obviates the Need for Caffeine
In shocking statistics, America is known as the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Estimates say that we drink around 400 million cups per day!
To be fair, caffeine isn’t all bad. It actually boosts your mood, metabolism, and physical performance. But when you start drinking too much, it does more harm than good. You may experience anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, and hypertension.
If you started developing some of these symptoms, cutting down on coffee will do the trick. To make sure you don’t relapse, provide a similar source of energy to give you that morning push.
Yoga, just like any exercise, is a natural stimulant. By enhancing circulation and breathing, it promotes your energy and reduces laziness. Unlike caffeine, yoga permanently improves alertness. With time, you’ll be naturally active every single morning.
3. It Can Rev Up Your Metabolism
Media often depicts yoga as a lazy sport that improves nothing but flexibility. If this is how you think of yoga, you’ve missed out a lot.
Yoga can exactly match your needs. For instance, power Vinyasa yoga is one of the most energetic forms. It promotes your muscular activity by a series of continuous bodyweight movements lasting for 1-hour sessions.
In the long run, these types of yoga rev up your metabolism. This way, your body would be less likely to put on weight. In turn, you’ll have a stronger and bigger muscle mass.
4. It Can Relieve Chronic Morning Pain
There’s nothing worse than having long-lasting painful conditions. Back and neck problems, for example, ruin the mornings of many people. Instead of feeling fresh and energetic, you wake up with a lingering pain that might be especially-harder in early hours.
Unlike other benefits, we can’t actually take this for granted. Whether yoga would help depends on your unique anatomy and underlying cause of pain. But after all, it won’t hurt to give it a try. Who knows, maybe it’d actually work for you!
Documented Cases with Pain Relief
On the bright side, researchers were able to document the positive effect of yoga in relieving some conditions.
In a study made in 2005, Iyengar yoga was found to reduce pain and disabilities caused by knee osteoarthritis.
To make matters better, positive results were yielded in obese patients older than 50 years. These patients didn’t practice yoga before in their whole life, which eliminates the possibility of cumulative effect.
An older study compared the efficacy of yoga and wrist splints in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Surprisingly, splints didn’t induce any valuable improvement. On the other hand, yoga successfully enhanced grip strength and reduced pain.
5. It Optimizes Sleep Quality
They say early to bed, early to rise, right? Well, it also works the other way. Waking up early with quick asanas can go a long way in improving your sleep quality.
A study made in 2005 was curious about how yoga can affect sleep when compared with herbal treatment. It found that seniors who did morning yoga fell asleep faster, slept longer, and felt more rested in the morning.
Yoga Is Thought to Stimulate Melatonin
As of now, science hasn’t yet discovered how yoga interacts with sleep. However, some researchers believe that its melatonin induction might be the main mechanism.
If you’re unfamiliar, melatonin is the fundamental hormone behind the sleep-wake cycle. During the night, darkness is supposed to induce its secretion, which consequently stimulates sleep.
By morning, melatonin naturally drops in response to the light, which makes you feel alert. Nevertheless, if you encountered multiple stressful conditions throughout the day, melatonin can be suppressed. As a result, falling asleep becomes harder, no matter how tired you are.
Doing yoga in the morning is thought to induce small amounts of melatonin. It’s not large enough to make you feel sleepy. But it acts as a crucial primer to bigger secretions by night.
6. It Improves Breathing
Almost all yoga types focus on regulating your breath. Scientists believe that regular Pranayama, a fancy name for yoga breathing exercises, can increase lung capacity.
A study held on around 280 students was able to prove this concept. After 15 weeks of regular practice, all of them showed a significant increase in lung capacity.
Expectedly, this gets especially useful for people already suffering from problems with breathing. Yoga can alleviate asthma, smoking-related problems, and seasonal allergies.
But there’s something for healthy individuals, too. Building lung capacity is crucial for athletes, especially during competitions. A potent lung is the shortest way for bigger endurance, stronger performance, and delayed fatigue.
7. It Might Relieve Migraines
Migraines are undoubtedly among the worst painful conditions. Something as little as turning your head left and right can be unbearable. According to recent statistics, 1 in every 7 Americans suffers from this condition.
Medications and analgesics can help, but they might damage the kidneys in the long run. Luckily, morning yoga can be a natural, potent alternative.
Some Asanas Are Believed to Stimulate Vagus Nerve
Just like sleeping, we don’t yet know how yoga can relieve migraines. Until now, the most accepted theory links this to the stimulation of the vagus nerve.
Without getting into medical details, the vagus nerve is the longest nerve extending from your brain to your abdomen. Since it’s linked with many of your body’s functions, stimulating this nerve can alleviate pain, decrease depression, and even treat epilepsy.
Bonus: Tips for Getting Into a Morning Yoga Routine
Like I said before, waking up early isn’t that easy. So, to make its benefits feasible, I’ll share with you the top tips to be an early “yoga” bird.
Commit to a Certain Hour
Decide your schedule however you like. However, make sure to practice every day at the same time.
This way, doing yoga would become a habit over time. You won’t have to invest tremendous amounts of willpower each day to get going.
Prepare in the Night Before
Don’t leave any excuses to skip the class in the morning. Before you go to bed, prepare your clothes, mat, bag and any other thing you need.
Start In Home
Beginners are always advised to practice with an instructor. But if going to an early class is too hard, you can phase it out by starting at your home.
Once you become committed enough, you can take it to the next level.
To Wrap Up
Less stress, no caffeine, higher metabolism, better sleep, stronger breathing, and alleviating painful conditions including migraines. These were the 7 benefits of doing yoga in the morning.
As a last note, stay gentle with your body. If this is your first encounter with yoga, your body would probably give you a hard time with flexibility.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Appreciate the progress of your own practice, no matter how subtle it is.
I wish you the best, healthiest lives!
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