Do you know that there are a number of health benefits of yoga?
While modern media and advertising may have us thinking that yoga is all about physical poses.
However, yoga entirely works with a wide range of contemplative and self-disciplinary practices like meditation, chanting, mantra, prayer, breathwork, ritual, and even selfless action.
The word yoga comes from the root word “Yuj”.
It means “to yoke” or “to the bond”. Moreover, the word itself has a number of meanings, framing astrological conjunction to matrimony, with the underlying theme being connection.
Yoga asana is the physical practice and postures of yoga.
Furthermore, the scientific research into the benefits of yoga is somewhat preliminary.
But much of the evidence supports practitioners to be beneficial for overall well-being.
Let’s learn more about the benefits of yoga in detail.
1# Improves Flexibility
In 2016, two of the leading organizations of yoga, Yoga Journal, and Yoga Alliance conducted a worldwide survey.
This survey looks at a variety of statistics about yoga in an attempt to quantify its value amid ever-increasing popularity.
One of the most citations for going yoga is that it helps to “increase flexibility”.
Flexibility is an important component of your physical health.
Moreover, yoga offers a number of styles to choose from.
These may vary in intensity from high to moderate to mild.
Even the lowest intensity styles help to increase flexibility, according to studies.
It is important to note that yoga is especially helpful for improving flexibility in adults ranging from the age of 65 and older.
Reduction in flexibility is a natural part of aging.
According to a study, yoga helps to both slow down loss and improve flexibility in older adults.
2# Yoga helps with Stress relief and Anxiety
According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, 84% of the American adults are feeling the impact of prolong stress.
So, it makes sense the the second most citation for why people select yoga is to relieve stress.
Moreover, science also supports that yoga and especially asana is helpful at reducing stress.
However, remember that the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga.
Meditation, breathwork, and auditory rituals such as chanting and sound baths also show that it helps to reduce tension and even relieve stress, according to studies.
Furthermore, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States.
It is important to note that there are several anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and specific phobias.
Even chronic stress is sometimes categorized as an anxiety disorder.
Different studies suggest that yoga asana might be effective as an alternative treatment for anxiety disorders.
Though several of the researchers require additional studies before conclusively stating as much.
Yoga Nidra, a body san-guided meditation shows that it helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety, according to studies.
3# Improves Mental Health and Quality of Life
Major depressive disorder, MDD is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world.
According to a meta-analysis of 23 interventions that looks at the effects of yoga-based treatments on depressive symptoms states that yoga can be an effective treatment for MDD.
Moreover, both movement-based yoga therapies and breathing-based practices show to significantly improve depressive symptoms, according to studies.
Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization, WHO, quality of life is:
“an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns”.
Some factors that affect your quality of life, QOL is:
- material comforts
For decades, researchers have viewed QOL as an important predictor of the longevity n people and the likelihood of improvement in patients when treated for a chronic illness or injury.
According to a meta-analysis, the benefits of yoga include improving QOL if you have chronic pain.
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4# Increase your Strength
One of the benefits of yoga includes increasing your strength.
While you might associate yoga with stretching and flexibility, you might consider some types of yoga classes as strength-building.
It just depends on the class level, approach, and teacher.
Moreover, this makes yoga asana a multimodal form of exercise, according to studies.
The effectiveness of yoga at building strength has been studied in several specific contexts.
For instance, it pertains to people with breast cancer, other adults, and children, according to studies.
Another study concludes that air force personnel who perform yoga is an effective strength-building practice across many age groups of healthy participants.
5# Boost Immunity and Reduce Inflammation
Chronic stress has negative effects on your immune system.
When your immunity is compromised, you are more susceptible to illness.
However, studies suggest that yoga is an alternative treatment for stress.
The research is still ongoing, but different studies indicate that there is a distinct link between practicing yoga, especially the ones that are consistent over a long term, and better immune system.
This is due in part to the ability of yoga to fight inflammation and in part to the enhancement of cell-mediated immunity, according to studies.
It is important to note that in some cases, the precursor to illness is chronic inflammation.
Conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions are linked to prolonged inflammation, according to studies.
Moreover, according to a review of 15 studies, yoga, of different styles, intensities, and durations helps to reduce the biochemical markers of inflammation across several chronic conditions.
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6# Improve Balance
Balance is not just important when you are trying to stand on one leg in Tree Pose in yoga class.
It is also crucial for simple everyday movements like picking up something off the floor, reaching up to a shelf, and descending stairs.
Moreover, yoga has shown to help improve balance and overall performance in athletes, according to studies.
In the same way, a review of research suggests that balance may improve after consistently practicing yoga.
Still falling can have serious effects on a certain populations.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, falls are common among older adults in nursing facilities.
Even the simplest ones can lead to an increase in the risk of death.
Newer research also suggests that yoga can help to improve balance in older populations.
However, more studies with the larger samples can help in order to make a general conclusion.
Yoga Asana can also help to improve balance in case you have a brain injury.
Adaptive yoga or chair yoga can be particularly helpful for older adults with injuries who are less mobile or for whom balance is a concern.
7# Yoga can help Improve Cardiovascular Functioning
Pranayama, also termed “yogic breathing” is an important and beneficial aspect of yoga.
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative medicine, yogic breathing can help to improve the functioning of several systems in your body.
Moreover, the research summarizes that the cardiovascular systems can benefit from controlling the pace of breathing.
This evidence shows favorable changes in heart rate, stroke capacity, arterial pressure, and contractility of the heart.
Moreover, this research also indicates that yogic breathing can actually influence the cardiorespiratory center of the brain to improve functioning.
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8# Helps to Improve Sleep, Better Posture, and Body Awareness
One of the benefits of yoga is that it helps to improve your sleep and posture.
When measuring sleep, researchers look at your ability to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
Insomnia can affect either one or both of these aspects.
Yoga helps to improve both how quickly you fall asleep and how deeply you stay asleep.
Moreover, this is partly due to the aftereffects of exercise and mental calming and stress relief that yoga provides, according to studies.
Additionally, to improve anxiety, a number of studies show that yoga Nidra can be particularly helpful in improving sleep.
With modern society relying more on technology, a lot of you spend time sitting or hunched over devices.
However, according to a recent review of 34 studies, yoga helps to improve brain functioning in the centers responsible for interception or recognizing the sensations within your body and posture.
Moreover, yoga focuses on mobility and flexibility that contribute to better alignment by releasing muscles.
These muscles are often tight and often are your hamstrings, thus improving the mobility of the spine.
Doing yoga poses during breaks in your workout can also promote a better posture.
Moreover, the benefits of yoga include improvement in brain functioning.
One review states that practicing yoga activities are of your brain that is responsible for:
- executive functioning
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9# Yoga can help to Improve Bone Health
Another one of the benefits of yoga is that it helps to improve bone health.
Many postures in yoga are isometric, which means that the length of the muscles holding a phone does not change, when when you fully engage them.
For instance, in plank pose, which is an upper pushup position, engages the arms, trunk, and legs.
It does this without shortening or lengthening as it would if you were moving through a pushup.
In Warrior II, you hold a position with a lead beg bent at both the help and knee.
Isometric exercises, especially the ones you perform with the joints in flexion helps to increase bone density, according to studies.
Moreover, yoga asana may help to reverse the bone loss that is associated with osteopenia and osteoporosis.
One study indicates that just 12 minutes of yoga per day can significantly improve bone health.
With that said, it is important to note that the finding related to the impact of yoga on bone density have been mixed, and inconclusive so far, according to studies.
10# Benefits of Yoga: Helps with Burnout
Another benefit of yoga is that it helps with burnout.
It seems like burnout, or excessive exhaustion affects your health.
A recent study that focuses on burnout among hospice workers during the COVID-19 pandemic concludes that yoga-based meditation interventions help to significantly reduce the effects of burnout by improving interoceptive awareness.
Moreover, this is the ability to notice internal signals and respond appropriately.
This means that yoga can help you to become more in tune with, and even more likely to listen to, the signals of your body.
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While research on the benefits of yoga is still going on, especially in comparison with how long you practice yoga, the results are promising and confirm what yoga practitioners have touted for thousands of years. Yoga is beneficial for your overall health.
A number of practices fall into the category of yoga and most do not involve physical activity, instead meditation techniques. Even karmic or philanthropic action quality as yoga.
As yoga is not limited to movement, it is a practice you can do every day. Find the modality that works best for you and remember: Investing in a yoga practice is investing in You!