While modern media and advertising lead us to think that yoga is all about postures, all yoga encompasses a wide range of contemplative and self-disciplined practices, including meditation, chanting, mantras, prayers, breathing exercises, rituals, and even selfless action.
The word “yoga” comes from the root “yuj” which means “to unite” or “to bind”. The word itself has numerous meanings, from astrological conjunction to marriage, with connection being the underlying theme.
Yoga Asana is the physical practice and postures of yoga. Scientific research into the benefits of yoga is still somewhat preliminary, but much of the evidence to date supports what practitioners seem to have known for millennia: Yoga is incredibly beneficial to our overall well-being. Several interventions using yoga as a modality have shown beneficial effects on body weight, blood glucose and total cholesterol in people with diabetes and coronary artery disease and have also shown improvements in lung function tests.
The usefulness of yoga as an adjunct therapy to conventional health care is not recognized by the health community, and the present study is an attempt to assess the effects of yoga on functional capacity and well-being status in normal healthy volunteers. If positive effects are observed, a similar intervention can be planned in sick people, using the 6-minute walk test as the outcome measure.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga?
Today, yoga classes have become commonplace in gyms and studios around the world. The focus in these scenarios is usually physical practice (the third member) through a series of poses or postures (asanas) that increase strength, flexibility, and physical well-being.
Yoga, however, goes far beyond physical exercise, not only because asana is only one of the eight branches of yoga, but also because physical exercise is not simply “stretching and fitness.” Yoga combines the movement and flow of mind and body with the rhythm and control of breath. This causes us to turn inward and increase our physical and mental awareness.
Pranayama (the fourth limb) is the practice of breath control, which is the source of our prana or life force. Synchronizing breath with asanas is an essential part of any physical yoga practice, but pranayama is also a breathing practice. It has the power to relax and soothe a busy or stressed mind and revitalize and relax a tired or tense body.
Although most yogis or yoginis (both yoga practitioners) today do not fully study the eight limbs in depth, even a cursory appreciation of yoga through a physical education class can yield innumerable benefits. Through the practice of yoga, you are likely to experience not only an increase in your physical strength and flexibility, but also a sense of clarity and calm in your consciousness. Yoga is referred to as a practice rather than a goal or mission due to the growth of our consciousness, rather than the accomplishment or attainment of a goal.
You will be forgiven if you think that talking about “prana” and “asana” is a little inaccessible or even intimidating for the yoga beginner. However, like any other physical exercise or relaxation technique, the proven benefits of yoga are many:
- Increased muscle strength, joint flexibility and spinal movement provides protection against chronic conditions such as joint stiffness, back pain and arthritis while improving posture, coordination, and balance.
- Yoga poses that involve weight bearing or poses, especially those that require the arms to bear the load, strengthen bones, increase bone density, and help protect against osteoporosis.
- Yoga can increase your circulation, especially in your hands and feet, by increasing the oxygen levels in your cells. Inverted poses, such as wall climbing, shoulder stands, handstands, and headstands, encourage blood flow from the lower parts of the body to the heart, which can relieve leg swelling and other circulatory problems.
- Any form of exercise that gets the heart pumping, including yoga, can improve cardiovascular health. More strenuous aerobic exercise, including some more vigorous forms of yoga, is well-documented for its ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, studies have shown that even yoga practices like restorative yoga or meditation that don’t significantly increase your heart rate can lower your resting heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
- Moving the whole body through a series of yoga poses causes muscles to expand and contract, which in turn increases lymphatic drainage and increases the efficiency of your immune system.
- Meditation and relaxation can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has benefits such as relieving stress, anxiety, and depression, improved immune function, nervous system downtime, better sleep, a reduction in blood pressure, and reportedly even the preservation of calcium levels in the bones (reducing the risk of osteoporosis).
- An increase in mental focus can improve cognitive function, concentration levels, reaction speed, and memory.
Strike a Strength Pose
Some yoga styles, such as Ashtanga and Power Yoga, are very physical. Practicing any of these styles will help you improve muscle tone. However, less vigorous yoga styles such as Iyengar or Hatha can also provide benefits for strength and endurance.
Many of the poses, such as Down-Facing Dog, Up-Facing Dog, and Plank, strengthen the upper body. Standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, will strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs. Poses that strengthen your lower back include upward dog and chair poses. When done correctly, almost all poses strengthen the deep abdominal muscles.
Best Yoga Pose
When you are stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. Most standing and seated poses build core strength because you need your core muscles to support and maintain each pose.
With a stronger core, you sit and stand more “upright”. Yoga also helps with body awareness. This way, you’ll notice when you’re bending or slumping faster, so you can adjust your posture.
Yoga generally involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. You may also need special breathing techniques. Yoga isn’t typically aerobic like running or cycling unless it’s an intense type of yoga.
Less Stress, More Peace
You may feel less stressed and more relaxed after doing some yoga. Some yoga styles use meditative techniques that help calm the mind. Concentrating on the breath during yoga can also do this.
Good for Your Heart
Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow heart rate. A slower heart rate may benefit those with high blood pressure or heart disease, as well as those who have suffered a stroke. Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and better immune system function.
How Does Yoga Help?
1) Yoga Improves Emotional Health and Reduces Stress
Exercise boosts energy and mood, and yoga is no exception. Many of those who practice it do so for its relaxation and stress management benefits. And studies have shown that yoga interventions are associated with improved objective measures of stress levels in the body, such as reduced nocturnal cortisol levels, reduced waking cortisol levels, and a lower resting heart rate. Yoga can have emotional health benefits as it is an exercise that addresses both the body and the mind. Yoga practice includes not only movement, but also dynamic movements associated with breathing.
Focusing on postures can divert attention from negative thinking. People with and without mental health problems can benefit.
2) Yoga Can Help You Sleep Well at Night
The relaxation associated with yoga can have a beneficial effect on sleep. Full yoga before bed is recommended as a lifestyle change that can help those with insomnia, but it can be a great bedtime routine for anyone.
The practice of relaxing asanas or postures, such as Exercises such as bending forward (uttanasana) or lying on your back with your feet against a wall can help you relax just before bed. They help calm your body and most importantly your mind.
3) Yoga Can Help You with A Hangover
In the morning after a night of drinking, yoga might be the last thing on your mind, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Many scientists and researchers are unaware of the scientific studies on yoga’s ability to relieve hangovers, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it works. It could be that the increased blood flow that occurs with yoga helps eliminate the toxic effects of alcohol.
4) Yoga Can Help with Chronic Back Pain
Back pain is relieved by yoga as the practice helps improve flexibility and muscle strength. Research suggests that yoga is a more effective treatment for chronic back pain than usual care for improving back function. If you have back pain, opt for gentler types of yoga like Hatha or Iyengar instead of more vigorous exercises to avoid injury. Do remember, if you already have a back problem or other medical condition, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning any new type of physical activity.
5) Yoga Helps Fight Heart Disease
There is growing evidence that yoga benefits the heart. Several studies suggest that yoga may help reduce known risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, in people with hypertension. Another study that followed patients with heart failure found that adding eight weeks of yoga to their regimen improved patients’ ability to move, improved their heart health, and improved their overall quality of life compared to patients who didn’t practice yoga routines. Treatment. Yoga increases blood flow and brings oxygen to the periphery of the body and relaxes blood vessels, which is good for heart failure. Relieves the heart.
Physical activity, breathing exercises, and meditation alone are all known to lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease, so it’s not hard to see why studies have found that yoga (combining all three) helps do the same.
6) Gentle Yoga Movements Can Ease Arthritis Pain
Regular exercise can help keep joints flexible, muscles tight, and weight under control, which people with arthritis need to manage pain. Yoga can be a great way for people with arthritis to stay active because the easy pace of movement can be less stressful than other types of exercise.
Studies have shown that practicing yoga is associated with less pain and better joint function in people with various types of arthritis. There is no conclusive evidence that one form of yoga is better for pain than another. As always, if you have a medical condition, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before attempting any new type of physical activity.
7) Yoga Can Help Relieve Asthma Symptoms
Yoga certainly hasn’t been proven to be a cure for asthma, but there is some evidence that it may help with the symptoms. A published study that included 15 randomized controlled trials found that yoga was associated with improvements in quality of life and symptom control for people with moderate asthma.
However, more research is needed to determine the mechanisms by which yoga helps and whether it improves lung function. (Which primarily causes asthma). It makes sense that yoga would help with asthma symptoms because the breathing exercises help relax muscles in different parts of our lungs that contract and tighten during an asthma attack.
8) Yoga Can Help People with Multiple Sclerosis Control Symptoms
The loss of muscle function, coordination, and other problems that accompany multiple sclerosis can be frustrating, but some research suggests yoga may help MS by improving both physical function and mood. The practice of yoga can help with daily work by improving balance and muscle alignment, strengthening muscles, and promoting relaxation, which helps with overall stress levels.
9) Yoga Can Help Reduce PTSD Symptoms
Because yoga promotes well-being and helps with stress, many people turn to it to promote emotional well-being after dealing with trauma or difficult events. More, better-designed clinical trials are needed to better establish yoga as a tool to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the evidence available suggests that yoga may help.
The Bottom Line
Although the research is still young (especially compared to how long people have been practicing yoga), the results are promising and confirm what yoga practitioners have been touting for thousands of years: Yoga is beneficial to our overall health.
Numerous practices fall into the yoga category, and most do not involve physical activity, instead focusing on meditative techniques. Even karmic or philanthropic action can be called yoga!
Because yoga is not limited to physical exercise, it is a practice that you can do every day.