Clear mental function, fluidity of motion or a more healthy weight and physical capacity, whatever you want from your exercise program is available from yoga. The only problem is that yoga is largely misunderstood. As it is seemingly built of various asanas, or yoga poses, many assume it is a form of exercise and has benefits that are solely physical.
This causes the majority of people to overlook the benefits of this discipline that unites mind, body and breath. When these elements of life are in perfect unison, the plethora of benefits can be better appreciated. Many of these benefits are subtle and personal, but the following list will introduce you to the most essential physical benefits of this time honored tradition of physical and mental discipline.
Here are some of the most common health conditions that are addressed and can be overcome with regular yoga practice.
A study completed by the American College of Sports Medicine proved that patients suffering from asthma could attain a 43% improvement in their conditions after ten weeks of dedicated yoga practice. This is because of the deep breathing and postures of yoga that improve lung capacity, operating efficiency and oxygen delivery throughout the body. This serves to both reduce the frequency of asthma attacks and alleviate the severity of those that do occur.
Chronic joint pain and swelling are also greatly reduced by Yoga. The John Hopkins Arthritis Center claims it is the smooth slow movement of yoga positions and transitions that have such beneficial attributes for those suffering from arthritis.
3. Back Pain
In a study performed at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, a group of individuals suffering from chronic back pain were put through a three month program of yoga practice with positive results. The test subjects reported a 70% decrease in lower back pains and over 80% of the participants were able to discontinue taking pain medication.
Proper attention to alignment and body awareness is credited with alleviating the harshness of herniated discs, sciatica, scoliosis and chronic back pains.
4. Blood Pressure
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure both affect the body in different ways. The Yale School of Medicine found that yoga was instrumental in reducing both of these pressure levels. Hypertension patients who regularly practiced yoga and meditation therapies obtained results very similar to those undergoing medication for the same symptoms. Routine yoga practice had been found to increase oxygen levels of the blood and the circulatory system as a whole.
5. Depression, Stress and Anxiety
According to medical tests performed at the Boston University of Medicine, a simple 60-minute workout routine can increase the presence of a neural-transmitter called GABA inside the brain. Symptoms of stress,m depression and anxiety have been commonly associated with low levels of GABA throughout the brain. By slowing the breath and the body’ stress responses, yoga is able to reduce the severity of bouts with depression and allow for a natural recovery.
According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, there is a very unique correlation between yoga and healthier eating. This probably comes from the physiological awareness that comes from regular practice. This mindfulness of the body and it’s functions can lead to mindfulness when eating. This means knowing when you are actually hungry, as opposed to suffering cravings, and when to stop without overeating. Interestingly enough, this benefit is not found in any other physical activity.
In Conclusion — All these benefits are simply the beginning. No matter your state of physical and mental health, there are many health benefits that you can obtain from a committed routine of yoga, when accompanied by meditation exercises these benefits are compounded