5 Health Benefits Of Yoga
“Yoga is selfless, cleansing, freeing, balancing, inspiring, and joyfully performed: a vision in which one experiences peaceful interconnectedness with all life around them.” Or at least so says The Bhagavad Gita, written thousands of years ago, long before anyone uttered the words “downward facing dog.”
Yoga has mutated and transformed before our very eyes. Some yoga practitioners barely move, while others sweat from the backs of their knees (by choice). No matter what your practice looks like, yoga is a very healthy thing indeed. Here are five amazing health benefits that should make you feel great about your decision to roll out your mat:
Staves Off Stress And Anxiety
Studies have shown that yoga practitioners are significantly less anxious, depressed, tense, angry and fatigued after class than they are before. This is hardly surprising. However, the health benefits of yoga are not just contained to that hour of class. Practicing yoga can certainly have physical consequences, such as lower blood pressure, but it can also allow you to take a step back from rash reactions. That deep breathing is just as effective after an argument as it is in an incense-scented room.
Yoga May Lower Your Risk Of Cancer
A 2013 study tried to look into how yoga may improve wellness and it found that there was a rapid effect on gene expansion. There was a greater change in circulating cancer-fighting immune cells after a series of gentle postures, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises). Pretty amazing yoga magic, if you ask us.
It Can Help With Low Back Pain
A staggering amount of people (some suggest 80%) will experience some form of low back pain in our lives. This can be debilitating and worsened by the shapes we place our bodies in again and again. Slouching over a computer may become our baseline, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A study placed yoga at the same level of effectiveness as stretching with a physical therapist. One thing is for certain: our bodies crave movement. Yoga’s ability to stretch the spine in all directions can help us to feel healthier and pain-free.
Adding to the list of astounding health benefits, a study showed that yoga had a positive effect in the management of type II diabetes by decreasing blood glucose levels. The postulation is that the mindful movement associated with yoga is excellent for improving digestion, and therefore, improving blood sugar. Helping move things along, as it were, is a good practice for all of us.
It Can Enhance Mental Health
Mental illnesses are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Yoga has been reviewed as helpful for people living with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety or sleep disorders. Studies suggest that yoga influences neurotransmitters, inflammation and oxidative stress in a manner similar to anti-depressants and psychotherapy. This does not mean that it will stand in for medication, but it can work wonderfully as an adjunct to strengthen mental health.
It may feel like a simple thing to do: show up at a studio to stretch and have some time away from your obligations. However, science is proving that this slow hour may be an incredibly beneficial change to the quality of your life. So what are you waiting for? Get on your mat today!
Courtney Sunday went to her first yoga class in the late 1990s. It took some time for her to get hooked but once she did, she went to a teacher training, claiming adamantly that she would never teach. That didn’t work out so well. Courtney now leads 200-hour teacher trainings around the world and works as a freelance writer. You can find out more about her at www.courtneysunday.com and https://somuchyoga.com.