10 Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Health And Wellbeing
Yoga is a healing system of theory and practice. It is a mixture of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation. Humans have been practising yoga for over 5,000 years.
Every summer in Ottawa yogis emerge from their respective studios and converge in front of the Parliament building for Yoga on the Hill. The classes are run every Wednesday between 12 and 1 pm.
I am a huge advocate for yoga and attend classes three times a week at the PureYoga centretown studio. I began practising yoga about a year ago and during this period I have noticed significant improvements in my general health and well-being.
With these benefits in mind, I wanted to find out what scientific researchers had observed regarding the positive health benefits of yoga. Read on to see what I uncovered.
1. Yoga can help your heart
Yoga improves the quality of life in people with atrial fibrillation, according to research. Heart rate and blood pressure also decreased in subjects who did yoga.
Following a systematic review of 37 randomised controlled trials, researchers from the Europe and USA have discovered that yoga may reduce the risk factors for heart disease.
2. Yoga can have a positive effect on your mood.
According to a recently published study, People who suffer from depression should participate in yoga, and deep breathing classes at least twice weekly plus practice at home to receive a significant reduction in their symptoms.
In 2010 study, researchers observed that yoga might be better than other kinds of exercise in its positive impact on mood and anxiety. The findings are the first to show an association between yoga, increased GABA levels and reduced anxiety.
3. Yoga can benefit your lungs.
A 2016 review paper suggests that yoga may have a positive effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma.
Patients with COPD who practice yoga can promote their lung function, according to a study. Researchers observed that lung capacity, shortness of breath, and inflammation all exhibited notable improvement after patients finished 12 weeks of training.
4. Yoga can ease physical pain.
According to a 2017 systemic review paper, yoga may lead to a reduction in pain in people with chronic lower back pain.
According to a 2015 study yoga can be safe and efficient for people with arthritis. After eight weeks of yoga classes improved the physical and mental well-being of individuals with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Yoga can help you lose weight
Regular yoga practice is linked with mindful eating, and people who eat mindfully are less inclined to be obese, according to a study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
A study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center observed that daily yoga practice might help check middle-age spread in normal-weight people and may encourage weight loss in those who are overweight.
6. Yoga can complement medication
Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine observed that men with prostate cancer who are undergoing radiation therapy could benefit from yoga.
7. Yoga can boost your energy
Practising yoga for as little as three months can diminish fatigue and reduce inflammation in breast cancer survivors, according to a research study. The more the women in the study practised yoga, the better their results.
8. Yoga counters stress
Twenty minutes of meditation and yoga combined can reduce feelings of stress by more than 10 percent and improve sleep quality in office employees, a study suggests.
For women with breast cancer doing radiation therapy, yoga extends unique advantages exceeding fighting fatigue, according to research. Researchers observed that while simple stretching exercises prevented fatigue, patients who engaged in yoga that combined controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan felt improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health and better regulation of cortisol (the stress hormone). Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience, which diminished over time for the women in the other two groups.
9. Yoga can help reduce inflammation
Frequently practising yoga may decrease the number of inflammatory compounds in the blood and diminish the level of inflammation that usually rises because of both normal ageing and stress, a new study has shown. The study showed that women who routinely practised yoga had lower amounts of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in their blood.
10. Yoga Takes A Bite Out Of Eating Disorders
A study published in the latest issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly reports that mind-body exercise, such as yoga, is associated with greater body satisfaction and fewer symptoms of eating disorders than traditional aerobic exercise like jogging or using cardio machines.
Is Yoga Right For Everybody?
So scientists are observing that yoga may have far-reaching benefits for your general health and wellbeing but is it right for everybody.
The answer: it depends.
Yoga is an all body exercise, which means it can work every muscle in the body. This fact means that if your body is not functioning optimally then practising yoga will ultimately expose any underlying issues. These problems can be physical, physiological or emotional.
In this regard, a recent study found that yoga-related injury rates are rising, especially in older participants.
Does this mean that you should avoid yoga if you are old or have a chronic health problem?
The answer again is: it depends.
If you are considering yoga but are unsure whether it is right for your body at this time, I suggest considering the following:
- Find a yoga class that is specifically aimed at people with chronic physical health problems.
- If you can afford it, start off with one on one instruction.
- If you want to start a class, then find one with smaller numbers so that instructor has more time to help you.
- Finally, yoga is not about being as good as the person next to you. Stay within your limits. Stop if you need to.
This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you practice yoga? In which ways has it helped your health? Let us know in the comments below.