Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuji,” which means yoke or union, yoga is an ancient practice/practice that unites the mind and body with 5,000 years of history in ancient Indian philosophy. There are no written records about the inventor of yoga. Practicing yoga has many benefits for mental and physical health. Here are the facts of the benefits of Yoga for the body:
- Can Reduce Stress & Relieve anxiety
Yoga is known for its ability to relieve stress and increase relaxation. In fact, many studies have shown that yoga can reduce the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
One study showed the powerful effect of yoga on stress by following 24 women who were emotionally depressed. After a three-month yoga program, women have much lower cortisol levels. They also have lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
In addition, many people start practicing yoga as a way to deal with feelings of anxiety. One study followed 64 women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who were characterized by severe anxiety and fear after exposure to a traumatic event. After 10 weeks, women who practice yoga once a week have fewer PTSD symptoms. In fact, 52% of participants no longer meet the criteria for PTSD at all.
- Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A 2015 study divided 218 participants into two groups: those who practice yoga regularly and those who don’t. Both groups then did moderate and strenuous exercises to trigger stress. At the end of the study, people who practiced yoga had lower levels of inflammatory markers than those who did not.
- Can Improve Heart Health
Studies show that yoga can help improve heart health and reduce some risk factors for heart disease. One study found that participants over the age of 40 who practiced yoga for five years had lower blood pressure and pulse than those who did not.
Some research also shows that incorporating yoga into a healthy lifestyle can help slow the progression of heart disease. A study followed 113 patients with heart disease, looking at the effects of lifestyle changes which included one year of yoga training combined with diet modification and stress management. Participants saw a 23% decrease in total cholesterol and a 26% decrease in bad cholesterol. In addition, the development of heart disease stopped in 47% of patients.
- Increase Flexibility and Balance
A recent study looked at the impact of yoga for 10 weeks on 26 male college athletes. Doing yoga significantly increased some measure of flexibility and balance, compared to the control group.
Practicing yoga for only 15-30 minutes every day can make a big difference for those who want to improve performance by increasing flexibility and balance.
- Can Increase Strength
In one study, 79 adults performed 24 cycles of sun greetings – a series of basic poses that are often used as warm-ups – six days a week for 24 weeks. They experienced a significant increase in upper body strength, endurance and weight loss. Women experience a decrease in body fat percentage. Based on these findings, practicing yoga can be an effective way to increase strength and endurance, especially if used in combination with regular exercise routine.
Happy World Yoga Day (June 21)