Benefits of Yoga
Why practice Yoga regularly?
Multiple studies have shown that a regular Yoga practice reduces overall blood levels of cortisol – a stress hormone.
A recent study found that 86% of Yoga practitioners say they feel less stressed after Yoga. This is achieved through the correct use of adequate breathing exercises (Pránáyáma) and relaxation techniques (Yoganidrá).
Understanding how chronic stress plays a key role in the development of physical and psychological illness, allows us to understand how Yoga can be a major promoter of health and wellbeing.
There are so many benefits to the practice of Yoga that the only question remaining is 'why aren't you practicing already?'
As science starts to study the mysteries behind traditional Yoga, and begins to understands its deep effects on the human body, emotions and the brain, more and more studies emerge that confirm what the Indian sages knew all along - Yoga is the way to a happier, healthier life.
Here go a few very good reasons to start your regular Yoga practice:
Prevents and Helps Relieve Signs of Anxiety
There is extensive research showing how a regular Yoga practice can help relieving symptoms of anxiety, and more importantly, prevent them.
The fast pace of modern society and day-to-day living is often associated with the development of emotional disorders like anxiety.
A regular traditional Yoga practice will help slow down your mind and gain control over your thoughts and emotions, promoting a healthier lifestyle
Yoga Sámkhya teaches powerful techniques to enhance attention and seriously improve concentration.
The use of Pratyahára – abstraction of senses, Dháraná – continuous concentration, and Dhyána/Samádhi – true Meditation allows the yoga practitioner to make quick and inspired decisions, greatly improving overall performance levels. This is particularly relevant in today’s fast-paced and distraction-filled way of living.
A recent literature review on the benefits of Yoga on cognition can be found here.
Improves Quality of Life
Practising Yoga will not only make you fitter and healthier but also significantly change your perceptions on life. Through an adequate emotional, hormonal and neurovegetative work (by means of Ásana, Pránáyáma and Yoganidrá), Yoga improves lucidity and self-confidence.
A 2012 research showed that practicing Yoga significantly improved quality of life, as well as mood and fatigue in a senior population.
Improves Sleep Quality
A correct Yoga practice can have huge impacts on the practitioner’s sleep quality.
Yoganidrá promotes complete physical restorations during a Yoga class, in just a few minutes (equivalent to a few hours of deep sleep) – greatly improving sleep quality at night.
The correct use of sound (Mantra), breathing techniques (Pránáyáma) and body poses (Ásana) induce relaxation and inner control, contributing to an appropriate overnight rest.
Several studies (1, 2, 3) have looked at this phenomenon and found a significant link between a traditional Yoga practice and an improved sleep quality.
Builds Body Strength
Through the correct use of Ásana and Pránáyáma, a Yoga practitioner learns how to maximise their aerobic ability, potentiate muscular strength and achieve optimum body control.
There has been extensive research on the subject, with a 2016 study demonstrating the effects of a systematised Yoga practice on muscular endurance.
Helps Lose Weight
Regular Yoga practice can be an excellent way to regain body control and help lose weight.
A 2015 study reports that overweight individuals who had engaged in a Yoga intervention only needed 10 days to reduced weight, BMI, waist/hip ratio, blood glucose and pro-inflammatory markers. By day 30, their systolic blood pressure was also reduced.
Improves Balance & Flexibility
Another well known benefit of a correct application of several Yoga concepts and technical disciplines (Ásana, Pránáyáma, Tapah, Mánasika) is the work on one’s balance and flexibility.
Recent years have seen an increasing ammount of evidence on Yoga’s effect on flexibility and balance both in younger and elderly generations.
Tackles Chronic Pain & Arthritis
Chronic pain alone affects over 6 million people in the UK; arthritis affects over 10 million. Yoga has been extensively proven to be a very effective means of managing and preventing such debilitating conditions.
A 2014 study showed how Yoga can cause twice the reduction of pain levels in chronic patients compared to physical exercise alone. A published review of recent studies shows how Yoga can bring several positive changes in both psychological and physiological measures in arthritis patients.