Today, Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Overview of the Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a science that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years with millions of Americans enjoying its health benefits. The focus in most Westernized yoga classes is on learning physical postures or asanas, and techniques of breathing and meditation. Scientists with increasing precision are now able to evaluate the body and brain, and detect the subtle changes that yoga practitioners undergo.

In the past few years, research has documented the efficacy of yoga for conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer and heart disease, besides many others. Yoga benefits to those incorporating and practicing it include: increased flexibility, strength, and balance, lower cholesterol and sugar levels, enhanced immune function, and improved psychological well being.

Physical Health Benefits
Practicing yoga consistently reduces blood pressure, improves blood circulation, and provides a lower pulse rate, which results in greater cardiovascular endurance. Additionally, yoga practice reduces cholesterol, blood glucose levels, sodium levels, and triglycerides.  It boosts red blood cells, increases levels of vitamin C, and improves both endocrine functions and the lymphatic system. With a combination of controlled breathing exercises, yoga decreases the respiratory rate, indicating that the lungs are working more efficiently.

Yoga increases pain tolerance and massages internal organs. It stretches the muscles and soft tissues like ligaments and tendons, and also improves range of motion and lubrication in the joints. Detoxification is another benefit, and yoga can also improve posture and overall body strength.

Studies indicate that yoga can help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, heart disease and Type II diabetes.  It is known to alleviate the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, migraines, chronic bronchitis, epilepsy, allergies, menopause and even cancer. Yoga provides consistent energy, improves sleep patterns and keeps weight in check.

Mental and Emotional Health Benefits
Practicing yoga elevates your mood and reduces stress, anxiety, depression and hostility, resulting in a balance of the nervous system and hormones, often resulting in a more positive approach to life. It is proven to reduce high levels of cortisol which is also called the stress hormone.

Research has shown that yoga increases concentration, attention span, memory, social skills and brings calmness to the mind and body. Yoga enhances a sense of self awareness and gives one the ability to detect subtle changes in homeostatic balance. Yoga benefits are known to help overcome many traumatic conditions.

Spiritual Benefits
Yoga, more than anything, is a spiritual practice that has many benefits; at the heart of this practice are the elements of wonder and gratitude; grace; and all qualities that contribute to the state of contentment and happiness. Calmness of mind leading to a positive outlook has a great influence on the overall health. Yoga increases inner peace, which leads to greater relaxation.

With yoga becoming more popular in the West, medical researchers have started studying yoga benefits, or the benefits of therapeutic yoga. This is also called integrative yoga therapy or IYT, and is used as a treatment for specific medical conditions, from clinical depression to heart disease.

Resources    - The Health Benefits of Yoga   - Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga

References   - Organic Yoga         - Yoga Journal

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