Yoga, an ancient practice and meditation, has become increasingly popular in today's busy society. For many people, yoga provides a retreat from their chaotic and busy lives.
Yoga is a great way to work on your flexibility and strength. Just about everyone can do it, too -- it's not just for people who can touch their toes or want to meditate and regardless of your level of yoga expertise, if you’re practicing regularly, you can feel better from head to toe.
Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. And, if you’re going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing.
1. CAN DECREASE STRESS
Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation. In fact, multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
A study of 131 people showed that 10 weeks of yoga helped reduce stress and anxiety. It also helped improve quality of life and mental health.
When used alone or along with other methods of alleviating stress, such as meditation, yoga can be a powerful way to keep stress in check.
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2. RELIEVES ANXIETY
Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety. Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research showing that yoga can help reduce anxiety.
It’s not entirely clear exactly how yoga is able to reduce symptoms of anxiety. However, it emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and finding a sense of peace, which could help treat anxiety.
3. MAY REDUCE INFLAMMATION
In addition to improving your mental health, some studies suggest that practicing yoga may reduce inflammation as well.
Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Although more research is needed to confirm the beneficial effects of yoga on inflammation, these findings indicate that it may help protect against certain diseases caused by chronic inflammation.
4. COULD IMPROVE HEART HEALTH
From pumping blood throughout the body to supplying tissues with important nutrients, the health of your heart is an essential component of overall health.
Studies show that yoga may help improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease.
One study found that participants over 40 years of age who practiced yoga for five years had a lower blood pressure and pulse rate than those who didn’t.
High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart problems, such as heart attacks and stroke. Lowering your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of these problems.
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5. COULD PROMOTE SLEEP QUALITY
Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders.
Studies show that incorporating yoga into your routine could help promote better sleep.
Though the way it works is not clear, yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
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6. DRAINS YOUR LYMPHS AND BOOSTS IMMUNITY
When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
Incorporating yoga into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.
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