Health Benefits of Yoga

health benefits of yoga trainingBy Faye Martins and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

How are the health benefits of Yoga relevant to people today? Of course, Yoga was not created yesterday, but it’s still effective today. Yoga has its origins in ancient Indian tradition, which focused on improving health and well-being through a holistic system. Therefore, Yoga is practiced to keep the mind and body fit while relieving aches and pains. By working on areas that are generally neglected such as joints, emotions, mind, and spirit, overall health is improved. Asanas or postures aim to build muscle while calming the mind and soothing the nerves.

 

Physical Stamina

The health benefits of Yoga maintain physical stamina. After all, regulating breathing; gives rest to organs like kidneys, glands, and intestines. With this in mind, posturing and breathing assist our vital organs by controlling one’s internal pace. On the physical level postures gently manipulate every joint, muscle, ligament, and tendon within the body.

 

Reducing Stress

The main reason to practice yoga is for the physical and mental health benefits it affords us. To start, yoga helps increase flexibility in our muscles and joints, strengthen our lungs by increasing lung capacity, reducing stress hormones, and improving mood. All three of these things can lead to better sleep quality. Another benefit is that it can help you stop feeling like you are more of a couch potato than a world-class athlete. Engaging in Yogic physical activity has been shown to have aerobic benefits, from improved circulation to an increase in lung capacity.

 

Heart Health

One of the most important benefits of practicing Yoga is that it provides an easy way to maintain heart health. By learning how to breathe in particular ways, Yoga increases the capacity for breath, oxygen absorption, and lung volume. This increases blood flow and reduces the physical risk for coronary heart disease. It also ensures adequate oxygen delivery to all organs in the body, which can prevent or cure diseases like asthma and emphysema.

Cardiovascular Wellness

Increasing heart health was one of the easier ways that yoga can improve an individual’s wellness. It can significantly reduce unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol, which is often clogged in a person’s arteries and caused by long-term cardiovascular disease. Several people found relief from anxiety, depression, and fear with the help of this exercise. Yoga transfers blood to muscles and releases built-up toxins. Furthermore, yoga has been shown to increase memory function in individuals who practice meditation before or after sessions.

 

Yoga for the Respiratory System

Yoga is primarily a physical exercise with many health benefits. But did you know it can be equally effective for the respiratory system? Yoga has been proven to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls our breath and heart rate. It also helps to improve sleep quality by slowing down one’s heart rate and increasing blood oxygen levels. For these reasons, doctors are now recommending Yoga treatments for cancers of the lungs or throat. Patients who suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have also found relief through breathing exercises.

 

Spinal Health

Muscular stretches can be a great way to improve spinal health. It specifically targets individuals that have back problems and those who have poor hip or shoulder mobility. During posture practice, there is also an emphasis on abdominal core muscle work. This can help individuals with many different types of pain and discomfort in the spine such as herniated discs, compressed discs, joint instability, nerve irritation, and degeneration spondylosis pain.

Parasympathetic Nervous System

Within our mind and body are many systems and complications. When we rest, our parasympathetic nervous system automatically controls the functions of the body. We can establish control over the body’s systems with Yoga techniques. Another benefit of Yoga is that it involves movement which has a calming effect on the nervous system. Positive impact happens during Yoga poses (asanas) which strengthen muscles while relaxing other ones.

About Stress Reduction

Focusing on stress reduction is important, but it’s complicated. Sometimes this leads to improved health conditions like high blood pressure or postpartum depression when done appropriately. Yoga also has great cardiovascular benefits because of increased oxygen supply to all cells in our body thereby increasing stamina, resistance to heart attacks and strokes, fat reduction, better well-being of organs, etc. The parasympathetic nervous system would then be relieved from its overstimulation of trying to manage everything except for vital bodily functions like heart rate or digestion.

 

Stress Levels

The health benefits of yoga have been studied for many years and are reaching a scientific level. One study has shown that the moment you start practicing Yoga there will be changes in your heart rate and breathing patterns. These emphasize a decrease in the sympathetic nervous system activity and an increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity. In other words, it has indicated that with these practices, the fight-or-flight response is reduced, resulting in lowering stress levels.

Lymphatic System

Yoga increases the capacity of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is called the “biological washing machine” because it pulls fluid and toxins from tissues and carries them back to the circulatory system. The ability to remove these fluids depends on many things, such as obesity, smoking, eating habits, and exercise. Yoga helps increase the function of this essential body part. Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose) has been proven to lead to better digestion and an overall feeling of health improvement.

 

Yogic Transformation

A lot of people believe that a healthy diet, followed by exercise every day is what leads to their transformation. On the surface, there is some truth to this. However, Yoga is a lifestyle with deep roots and it gradually grows on you. Regular practitioners tend to wake up with positive thoughts. This flies in the face of the negative impact of living with constant economic fear. While we anticipate the next war, pandemic, or economic collapse, Yoga gives us hope and positive thoughts.

Inside Your Body

During an age when we don’t move as we did years ago. It doesn’t help that our bodies aren’t properly releasing toxins that cause weight gain. Yoga flips this on its head because you are moving your body which stimulates the lymphatic system. You may not realize it, but your body is moving waste away from your vital organs. Movement in posture practice also frees us from waste build-up.

 

How Does it Work?

As the natural process of digestion and elimination occurs, the abdominal muscles contract to push waste materials from the body. Stagnation can put a strain on these organs, leading to problems such as constipation, indigestion, obesity, and gallstones. Yoga provides an excellent means for strengthening the abdominal muscles in a very natural way. In fact, Yoga is beneficial when it comes to burning calories, which can lead to weight loss. It also reduces instances of heart disease by improving blood circulation throughout the body.

 

Kidney Health

Yoga has many health benefits, and one of the most important is the positive effects on your kidneys and liver. When people over-indulge in various foods such as alcohol, caffeine, or salt (among others), their kidneys gradually stop functioning properly. This can cause a number of problems including fatigue, poor quality sleep, high blood pressure, and poor liver function. Yoga reduces excess stress while giving us a direct path toward better health.

Mental Health

Yoga is more than structured breathing and holding a posture. A mental healing process takes place with every practice. Yoga can provide mental as well as physical benefits. As a result, Yoga can be a powerful tool to cope with chronic mental issues like anxiety. The practice of Yoga poses focuses on aligning the body through coordinated postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. In addition to relaxation of body and mind through optimum self-care,  practicing Yoga brings about states of clarity. At the same time, Yoga builds self-esteem, strengthens relationships, and raises awareness of our connection with nature.

 

Yoga for Skeletal Health

Yoga is a practice with many health benefits. One of its most valuable benefits is preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. In particular, Yoga can help the muscles and joints but also the bones. Practicing yoga creates more dense and stronger bones, which can be helpful to those with osteoporosis or previous bone breaks. Additionally, Yoga is a good way to reduce pain, stiffness, and fatigue in people with arthritis. With this in mind, Yoga should be gentle and keep joints stabilized. We can also decrease the number of pain relievers consumed if postures reduce pain. Indeed, posturing may even help heal current damage to muscles and tissues.

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Related Research

Bonura, K. B. (2011). The psychological benefits of yoga practice for older adults: Evidence and guidelines. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 21, 129–142.

Jadhav, S. G., & Havalappanavar, N. B. (2009). Effect of yoga intervention on anxiety and subjective well-being. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 35(1), 27–31.

Kauts, A., & Sharma, N. (2009). Effect of yoga on academic performance in relation to stress. International Journal of Yoga, 2(1), 39.

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3 thoughts on “Health Benefits of Yoga”

  1. Yoga is great for the body and mind, gives deep calm and peace of mind. Helps me to get rid of stress and stay relaxed Thank you for sharing your blog. I love it!

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