Yoga is an ancient practice said to bring together the mind and the body through the incorporation of breathing exercises, meditation, and poses which encourage relaxation and reduce stress. While there are many different types of yoga to choose from, no matter which discipline you decide upon, you will be able to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and a quieter spirit. Believed to have numerous benefits for both mental and physical health, here we take a look at the scientifically proven health benefits of yoga.
Well-known for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation, several studies have proven that practicing yoga decreases the secretion of the primary stress hormone, cortisol. Through a study which followed 24 women, after a 3-month yoga programme, they had significantly lower stress levels, depression, and fatigue. If used alongside other stress alleviating practices such as meditation, yoga can be an effective way to keep stress at bay.
Yoga has often been recommended to those as a way of relieving anxiety and studies have proven its effectiveness. One such study followed 64 women suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and after 10 weeks of practicing yoga once a week, more than half of the participants no longer displayed any symptoms of PTSD, while the rest had far fewer symptoms. Yoga encourages practitioners to find a sense of peace which is why it may be so effective at relieving anxiety and it may just help you improve your online blackjack game as well!
Reduction of Inflammation
While inflammation is normal immune response, those suffering from chronic inflammation are at a higher risk of developing pro-inflammatory diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. One study followed 218 participants which were divided into two groups. The first group practised yoga regularly, while the second group didn’t, however both participated in moderate to strenuous exercise. At the end of the study, those who practiced yoga had significantly lower inflammatory markers than the group who did not.
Improved Heart Health
Heart health is an essential part of overall health and wellbeing and yoga has been proven to improve heart health and significantly reduce several risk factors for heart disease. One study conducted over 5 years on people 40 years and older found that those who practiced yoga regularly had lower blood pressure and heart rate than those who did not. Lowering your blood pressure can go a long way in reducing your chances of developing heart disease.
Relieves Symptoms of Depression
Described by many as having an anti-depressant effect, yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce and relieve the symptoms of depression. As yoga is able to decrease the amount of cortisol released into the body, the levels of serotonin are also effected which is the neurotransmitter most frequently associated with depression. One study followed practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya – a type of yoga focused on rhythmic breathing – and after 2 weeks the participants had fewer symptoms of depression and lower cortisol levels.