The origins of yoga are said to stretch back five thousand years or more. One thing is sure if yoga hadnt yielded many health benefits to the people who practice it, it would have died out long ago.

So what are the health benefits of yoga? Here are five great reasons that you should add yoga to your health regime.

1. Yoga increases your bodys suppleness.
Yoga gently works to stretch ligaments, and moves joints through their complete range of motion. As flexibility improves, tightness in muscles is eased, and aches and pains begin to disappear.

2. Yoga strengthens your muscles
That doesnt just mean that you can improve your strength and your ability to lift and carry, but it benefits the whole body. Your internal organs become better protected, your skeleton is held more upright, and your general body tone improves.

3. Yoga improves your posture
Many people simply stand and move badly. Because the head is so heavy, even a slightly wrong posture can create strains on the body which cause back ache and pains in the neck, shoulders, hips and legs. Yoga works to correct posture so that the head is balanced as it should be, thus relieving stress and strain and easing those mystery aches and ouches.

4. Yoga fights osteoporosis
Once you become even the slightest bit adept at yoga, you will be doing weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercise is excellent for strengthening the bones, without the need for potentially harmful calcium supplements.

5. Yoga is great for reducing stress
We all seem to live stress filled lives, despite our relative prosperity compared with previous generations. Yoga is a wonderful natural way of reducing stress, calming and healing the spirit, and naturally reduces high blood pressure.

Though research on the efficacy of yoga therapy is ongoing, traditional doctors are taking notice and finding it, in some cases, to be a valuable complement to the work theyre already doing. Yoga therapy can be extremely helpful for people who need a way to work through what theyre experiencing, not just in their minds but in their bodies, says psychotherapist Jack Obedzinski, MD, of Corte Madera, California. Often, it allows my patients to experience a feeling of calm in a way they couldnt in talk therapy. And, he says, this calmness can bring more clarity and awareness to their traditional sessions.

Read More: Yoga Therapy: Why Doctors Are Prescribing The Ancient Practice