Yoga has been popular in the United States for over 3 decades, but since 2001 its popularity has soared. The number of people who regularly practice yoga went from 4 million in 2001 to 20 million in 2011. The American College of Sports Medicine supports the integration of Yoga into regular exercise, citing its benefits as a form of stretching, its enhancement of breath control, and its “profound mental, physical, and spiritual awareness.” But let’s talk tangible – The Huffington Post compiled data from numerous studies to explain the benefits of yoga, starting right after your very first class.

After Class

Right after you first practice, you’ll start to feel changes. Practitioners see improved brain function, lower stress levels, and increased flexibility.

After A Few Months

The benefits continue to add up: lower blood pressure, improved lung capacity, and improved sexual function, to name a few. You also begin to see an improved sense of balance, which is great news for those of us that trip over seemingly nothing.

After A Few Years

Regular practitioners see increased bone density – there’s a reason doctors encourage older women to practice yoga, as it can help fight the effects of osteoporosis.             Yoga also helps to maintain weight in healthy adults, and decrease it in overweight adults. Finally, the regular practice of yoga can also lower your risk of heart disease.

Not convinced yet? Take a look at the infographic below, and read the full Huffington Post article here.

Featured Image Credit: Joel Nilsson