Physical limitations, whether they be due to age, injury, or simply a lack of flexibility, can make traditional forms of yoga inaccessible for some people. But that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for them when it comes to finding an exercise routine that works for their body and their needs. Sofa yoga is a great option for those who want to experience the benefits of yoga without straining their bodies. Sofa yoga, also known as restorative yoga, is a gentle form of yoga that is perfect for beginners or those with physical limitations. The poses are designed to be comfortable and relaxing, and can be done either sitting or lying down. props such as blankets, bolsters, and pillows are often used to support the body and help the practitioner stay in the pose for an extended period of time. When discussing the benefits of sofa yoga, you’ll realize that there’s more to this practice than the asanas (the physical poses). In fact, the true benefits of sofa yoga go much deeper, touching on both the physical and mental aspects of health.
Here are 13 reasons why you should give sofa yoga a try:
Ideally, everyone would have the opportunity to experience the physical and mental benefits of yoga. However, not everyone can access traditional yoga studios or classes. Sofa yoga provides a great solution for those who want to experience yoga but may not be able to make it to a class or studio.
Below are some people who would benefit the most from this type of yoga:
- People with physical limitations or injuries that prevent them from doing traditional yog
- People who are pregnant and looking for a gentle form of exercise
- People who are new to yoga and want to ease their way into the practice
- People who don’t have the time or money to go to a studio or class
2. Better Quality Of Life
According to the World Health Organization. quality of life (QOL) is “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns (7).”
QOL is a predictor of mortality, and can be impacted by factors such as physical health, mental health, level of independence, social relationships, and environmental factors.
Sofa yoga can help improve QOL by providing a sense of physical and mental well-being. The gentle, restorative nature of the practice can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation (2).
In turn, this can lead to improved sleep quality, increased energy levels, and a general sense of calm and contentment.
3. Reduces Stress
Stress is the body’s response to any demand. When we experience stress, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, releasing hormones that prepare us to deal with the perceived threat.
While some amount of stress is normal and can even be beneficial, chronic stress can have a negative impact on our health. It has been linked to a variety of health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Meditation, breath work, and relaxation are all integral parts of yoga, and can help counter the effects of stress (6). Sofa yoga is a great way to incorporate these stress-busting elements into your life without having to do a strenuous practice.
4. Improves Sleep Quality
A good night’s sleep is crucial for our physical and mental health (6), but unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough shut-eye. There are a number of factors that can contribute to poor sleep quality, such as stress, anxiety, pain, and medications.
Sofa yoga is a great way to wind down before bed and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. The gentle poses and relaxing nature of the practice can help ease stress and anxiety, while deep breathing can help encourage a state of relaxation (1).
5. Boosts Energy Levels
While it may seem counterintuitive to do yoga when you’re feeling tired, the truth is that this practice can actually help to boost energy levels. One of the main reasons for this is that yoga helps improve circulation.
When our bodies are working well and blood is flowing properly, we tend to feel more energetic. In addition, deep breathing oxygenates the blood, which can also help increase energy levels (4).
6. Improves Flexibility
In a worldwide survey seeking to quantify the reasons people practice yoga, improved flexibility was cited as one of the top reasons for taking up the practice.
While all types of yoga will help improve flexibility to some degree, sofa yoga is a great choice if you’re looking to specifically focus on this aspect of your practice. The slow and gentle nature of the poses allows you to really focus on your breath and move deeper into the stretch (1).
Older adults benefit most when they focus on improving flexibility through range-of-motion exercises like those found in sofa yoga. That’s because age-related changes in the body, such as stiffening of joints and loss of muscle tissue, can lead to decreased flexibility.
Improving flexibility can help offset some of these age-related changes and make everyday activities easier.
7. Builds Strength
While yoga is often thought of as a practice that is all about flexibility, it can actually be quite helpful in building strength, too (1). This is because many of the poses require you to use your own body weight to resist gravity. Over time, this can lead to increased muscle strength.
Sofa yoga is a great way to build strength in a low-impact way. The gentle nature of the practice means that you can focus on proper form and alignment without having to worry about getting injured.
8. Boost Immunity
When we experience stress, our immune system can take a hit. This is because the hormones released in response to stress can suppress the immune system.
Yoga has been shown to help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation (4). In turn, this can lead to improved immunity. Sofa yoga is a great way to incorporate these stress-busting elements into your life without having to do a strenuous practice.
Yoga’s anti-inflammatory effects may also help boost immunity. Inflammation has been linked to a number of health problems, such as heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. By reducing inflammation, yoga may help reduce the risk of developing these conditions (8).
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9. Improves Balance
Good balance is important for maintaining physical independence as we age. Unfortunately, balance can start to decline with age, which can lead to an increased risk of falls.
Sofa yoga can help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. The slow and controlled nature of the practice helps develop proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position of our body in space. This can help improve balance and coordination (1).
10. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Sofa yoga can help improve cardiovascular health in a few different ways. First, the deep breathing that is used in yoga helps increase lung capacity. This, in turn, leads to improved blood flow and oxygenation of the blood.
In addition, sofa yoga can help lower heart rate and blood pressure. The slow and controlled nature of the practice helps to promote relaxation, which can lead to these changes.Improved cardiovascular health can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions (1).
11. Improves Brain Function
Yoga activates the neuroprotective mechanisms in the brain, which can help improve brain function (9).
One of the ways yoga does this is by reducing inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to a number of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. By reducing inflammation, yoga may help reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
Additionally, the practice directly impacts areas of the brain associated with memory, learning, and executive function.
12. Reduces Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a common problem that can be difficult to treat. In some cases, a direct cause of the pain cannot be identified.
Yoga has been shown to help reduce chronic pain (3). The practice can help increase pain tolerance and improve function. In addition, yoga can help reduce stress and improve sleep, both of which can contribute to reduced pain levels.
13. Improves Digestion
Read More: The Ultimate Chair Yoga Guide For Beginners
How To Get Started With Sofa Yoga
The most notable benefit of sofa yoga is how easy it is to get started. You don’t need any special equipment or clothing. All you need is a comfortable spot on your sofa and some willingness to try something new.
If you’re not sure where to start, the BetterMe app can be helpful. It contains sofa yoga workouts for different levels and needs. The newbie, intermediate, and advanced levels make it easy to find a routine that works for you.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, there are also options that focus on specific areas, such as improving flexibility or reducing stress. The core o’clock and seated abs will tone your core, while the bye-bye back pain and full-body de-stressor will help to reduce pain and tension.
The Bottom Line
Yoga is a great way to improve your health and wellbeing. Sofa yoga is a gentle and accessible form of yoga that has many benefits. If you’re looking for a way to reduce stress, improve flexibility, or just generally feel better, give sofa yoga a try.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 9 Benefits of Yoga (n.d., hopkinsmedicine.org)
- Are yoga and physical activity determinants of quality of life in Polish adults? a cross-sectional study (2022, nih.gov)
- Effects of Yoga on Quality of Life and Pain in Women With Chronic Pelvic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2019, journals.lww.com)
- Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life (2011, nih,gov)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy (2015, nih.gov)
- The Extraordinary Importance of Sleep (2018, nih.gov)
- WHOQOL: Measuring Quality of Life (2012, who.int)
- Yoga benefits beyond the mat (2021, harvard.edu)
- Yoga Effects on Brain Health: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature (2019, nih.gov)