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How Yoga Can Help Your Mental Health, Sleep, & More (Backed by Research)

On the 21st of June, yogis and yoginis around the world celebrate International Yoga Day. This annual event started in 2015, but did you know that yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago in Northern India?

According to some, the history of yoga can even be traced as far back as 10,000 years.

Considering how long yoga has been around, it’s a no-brainer that its benefits have been researched thoroughly over the years.


Here are 5 of the top benefits of yoga backed by research. 

For Athletic Recovery

Yoga has a wide range of benefits for athletes and should really be included in any athlete’s workout. 

Besides gaining strength, yoga can help with coordination, improve range of motion, flexibility, and mobility. It's a great lower-intensity activity that increases blood flow to your muscles, which can relieve soreness and stiffness in areas like the back, hips, thighs, and calves. In turn, your overall performance gets better (or even gets enhanced like this study shows). As an extra plus, you’re less likely to injure your muscles, too!

Recommended Pose: Half Monkey Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

Here is how to perfect your post-run stretch


For Better Sleep

Many people struggle to sleep at some point in their life. Yoga has been repeatedly shown to help insomniacs, women experiencing menopause, people with arthritis, cancer patients, and more, improve their sleep.

The elderly have also shown significant improvements in the quality of their sleep and overall quality of life after practicing yoga. Any age group can find a yoga class suited to their needs. Maybe that's what you should suggest as the next family activity? 

Recommended Pose: Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

More techniques for deeper sleep and Yogic Sleep


For Healthier Knees

Our body consists of many joints and while each is important, your knees certainly require extra attention. Why? Well, your knees support the entire weight of your body. In order to maintain an active lifestyle as you get older, healthy knees are key.

The health of your knees can impact how easy or difficult it will be for you to walk, climb stairs, get out of a chair, etc. To strengthen the knees, you’ll have to work all the muscles around them, which many yoga postures do.

Recommended Pose: Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Click here for more simple yet effective yoga poses


For Pre and/ or Post-natal Purposes

If you're pregnant, staying balanced throughout the process is essential - for you and your baby! Attending pre and/ or post-natal yoga is a great way to connect with other women in the same situation that can relate to you and visit you for baby play-dates.

Social benefits aside, the physical benefits include reduced disturbances during sleep, in addition to lower prenatal anxiety and depression. Many women opt for prenatal yoga because it helps reduce pain during labour, since the pelvic floor becoming stronger. 

Recommended Pose: Yoga Squat (Malasana)

Practice prenatal yoga in Kuala Lumpur here


For Your Mental Health

Although some assume yoga to be purely physical, it is about much more than just recognising where tension is stored in the body.

Yoga can help you overcome stress, anxiety, and more. In 2020, 12 studies under NCCIH concluded that yoga helps manage stress. When comparing 14 other studies, NCCIH found that yoga improved mental resilience and general (mental) well-being. If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or other mental health problems, try a variety of styles to find which type of yoga is best for your mental health.

Recommended Pose: Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Click here for more yoga postures that can help you calm down

Looking for more yoga inspiration? Then you might also like 6 Post-Pregnancy Yoga Poses For The Busy Mama and Breathwork For The Release Of Trauma