By Faye Martins and Shahid Mishra
Where is the medical proof of yoga benefits? It has long been understood that yogic methodologies have strong medical benefits. Nevertheless, this connection is widely understood by those who practice yogic arts. Furthermore, there has traditionally been little interest in finding why yoga works. For example, an analogy would be like finding a fountain that satifies the thirst of everyone who drinks from it. Additionally, every additional drink from this fountain produces still more benefits. Faced with such a proposition, it can be understood why people choose to drink rather than to investigate.
Yoga Ailments Today
Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been around for millennia. Different schools of Yoga teach different techniques and approaches, but they all have their roots in studying the self, human nature, and the nature of reality. There are many benefits from poses, breathing, and meditation practices. They can be as simple as comfortable poses for beginners. Many modern day ailments may even find themselves alleviated or eliminated through one or many of the techniques practiced in Yoga classes.
Benefts for Mind and Body
Studies have found that yoga has beneficial mental and physical effects. It reduces anxiety and depression, can combat stress, weight problems and sleep disorders. Additionally, Yoga helps with addiction issues, improves energy levels, and enhances performance in sports. These are just a few of the benefits that research has been able to establish with scientific evidence. Yoga boosts your body’s natural healing capabilities which may help to lower the chance of getting sick. All these benefits should make yoga a no-brainer for anyone who wants to start practicing it.
Value of Studies
Recently, the widespread adoption of yogic practices outside of India has spurred an increased interest in why yoga science works. Through rigorous controlled studies, doctors have been able to make some dramatic conclusions about yoga and good health. One point often overlooked is that physicians are recommending yoga more frequently. On the positive side of scientific curiousity, it’s important to remember that yoga is an affordable option for good health. To explain further, the cost of medicine has forced science and society to look at the most compelling evidence.
Studies of yogic medicine have been conducted for many different conditions. These conditions include cancer, anxiety, stress, fatigue and a number of similar conditions. At the same time, yoga has been proven to provide lasting benefits, which are comparable to those of standard medicine. Significantly, people must remember that yoga and ayurveda are traditional forms of medicine and prevention. Even so, during this time, everyone is careful about making claims without documented proof.
Boston University School of Medicine Study in 2010
One such study examined the effectiveness of yoga on stress related medical conditions. At the same time, this study examined a group of yoga practitioners as well as a group that only used walking as exercise. The study followed each group over a twelve-week span, carefully detailing the results of each. Furthermore, after the conclusion of the study, the walking group was found to have some improvement in their conditions. Of course, this improvement matched the expected result of any mild regular exercise routine in patients of this age and medical condition. Equally important, the group that practiced yogic methodologies had an entirely unexpected result.
Unexpected – GABA
While this group was identical in every respect to the walking group, except for their practice of yoga. Subsequently, the yogic group displayed remarkable decreases in their overall levels of anxiety. When further examined, it was noted that the levels of GABA rose. In fact, GABA is a key neurotransmitter that plays a role in reducing stress and regulating pain. As a result, GABA levels were much higher in this group. GABA has long been known to be an important factor for overall health in patients of all conditions. While the link between GABA and exercise is well known, these results were not expected. Therefore, no other form of exercise or cognitive therapy has been shown to be more effective than yogic therapy has been.
Getting back to medical proof of yoga benefits. Firstly, a number of independent studies have confirmed these initial results. Secondly, each study targets a specific condition or personality type. Thirdly, the results invariably show that yoga is practical method for dealing with a number of medical conditions. Finally, as the link between yogic science and health is examined further, experts expect to uncover still more dramatic results. Most significantly, the world’s universities and medical research centers are looking to clarify why yoga works.
Living the Yoga Lifestyle
Yoga can be practiced in many ways. It is important for the individual to establish a routine that fits his or her needs and life style. Without a routine, it can be difficult to develop meaningful habits that stick over time. When establishing routines, it is important to find inner peace in the process of practice over time. Particularly, Yoga helps people connect with themselves while connecting with their environment. Generally, students don’t worry about medical proof of yoga benefits because they feel the difference it makes in daily life.
Yoga for Healthy Sleep
As has been noted, Yoga is renowned for its numerous physical benefits, but it is also great for mental health. One of the sleep benefits that might not be as well-known is utilizing Yoga before bed. In the long run, Yoga helps to regulate both physical and mental functions, making it a perfect form of relaxation before bedtime. All things considered, certain poses can lead to deep states of meditation or relaxation. In brief, these poses definitely relax the mind, reducing stress levels and cutting down on overall anxiety. When gentle yoga poses are practiced at bedtime, the boost in melatonin can aid the natural process of sleep onset.
How Should Beginners Start?
One of the most important considerations before starting a yoga practice are the types of yoga to try. It is almost always best to start with gentle, beginner, Restorative or Yin syles. Some types of yoga are more challenging and are better left for those who have practiced for years. Anyone can practice at home, especially, students with an understanding of the basics. A student without experience would be best to practice with a class or observe a video before practicing. Another key point for those who can’t visit a class is patience with one’s self. With this in mind: Never push or force anything.
An Open Invitation
The first thing to remember is that anyone with a smart phone can study and practice yoga. Making time for the health benefits of a life lived in yoga doesn’t require a lot of time or money. Yoga is the best choice available to feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually. What’s more, students don’t need any special equipment or clothing while practicing. Yoga has been found to provide many health benefits including greater agility and strength, better balance and flexibility, improved heart health, as well as relief from pain. Studies about medical proof of yoga benefits have found compelling evidence to practice yoga routinely.
Positive Life Changes
Many people consider negative thoughts an unintended consequence of stress and that those thoughts are often debilitating. Given these points, positive thinkers feel the opposite – they believe their positive thinking always improves their quality of life in some way. Ultimately, daily yoga practice yeilds improved mental, emotional, and physical benefits.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Research and Studies
Shapiro D, Cook IA, Davydov DM, et al. Yoga as a complementary treatment of depression: Effects of traits and moods on treatment outcomes. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2007;4:493–502.
Shannahoff-Khalsa DS, Ray LE, Levine S, et al. Randomized controlled trial of yogic meditation techniques for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. CNS Spectrums 1999;4:34–47.
Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study – Chris C. Streeter, Theodore H. Whitfield, Liz Owen, Tasha Rein, Surya K. Karri, Aleksandra Yakhkind, Ruth Perlmutter, Andrew Prescot, Perry F. Renshaw, Domenic A. Ciraulo, and J. Eric Jensen. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. November 2010, 16(11): 1145-1152. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0007. Published in Volume: 16 Issue 11: November 8, 2010
Michalsen A, Grossman P, Acil A, et al. Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three month intensive yoga program. Med Sci Monit 2005;11:555–561.
Cusumano JA, Robinson SE. The short-term psychophysiological effects of Hatha yoga and progressive relaxation on female Japanese students. Appl Psychol 1993;42:77–89.
Oken BS, Kishiyama S, Zajdel D, et al. Randomized controlled trial of yoga and exercise in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 2004;62:2058–2064.
Hagins M, Moore W, Rundle A. Does practicing hatha yoga satisfy recommendations for intensity of physical activity which improves and maintains health and cardiovascular fitness? BMC Complement Altern Med 2007;7:1–9.
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