There are the obvious benefits of Yoga such as stress relief, relaxation, and weight loss. But did you know Yoga can strengthen your bones, and improve cardiovascular conditioning? Check out our list below of some of the lesser-known benefits of yoga.

1.) Immunity Booster: A Norwegian study recently found that frequent yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boost immunity at a cellular level.

2.) Eases Joints: While practicing yoga, our joints move through a full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis by utilizing areas of cartilage that aren’t normally used. These areas of cartilage only receive fresh nutrients when fluid is squeezed out, and a new supply can be soaked up.

3.) Ward off Osteoporosis: A large amount of the postures held in yoga require you to lift your own weight, which leads to strengthening of the bones. Yoga also helps lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which may help keep calcium in the bones.

4.) Better Sleep: Research conducted at Harvard found that subjects having issues with insomnia who practiced yoga daily for eight weeks; significantly improved sleep quality.

5.) Mindful Eating: Yoga breathing exercises help slow down breath, and strengthen the mind-body connection. This awareness can help tune out certain emotions that spike certain cravings.

6.) Reduces Depression: With frequent yoga practice, cortisol levels drop. Increased cortisol has been linked to depression.

7.) Improves Circulation: Yoga increases circulation, by getting more oxygen to cells. Inversions in yoga allow blood flow to move in the opposite direction allowing blood from lower body to flow to heart and other essential organs. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells which carry oxygen to tissues.

This list provides even more reason to bring you to your mat! To read about more benefits of yoga visit: yogajournal.com