Yoga is a collection of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that originated in ancient India. The word yoga came from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to yoke, join, or unite. Various forms of yoga combine postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation. Today, yoga has become a popular form of exercise practiced by people all over the world to enhance well-being and promote physical and mental health. Read on to discover the health benefits of yoga on the mind and body.
Effects of Yoga on the Mind
• Relieves stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can take their toll on the body. In fact, they can increase the risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The calmness, fluidity, and relaxation offered by yoga has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety in a number of studies. Yoga helps in regulating an individual’s stress response, according to a Harvard University article.
• Improves mood
Yoga can also stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are one of the “feel good” hormones that are released when a person is happy. Some people experience mood swings at some point in their lives. With the help of yoga, this situation can improve.
• Sharpens memory and concentration
Another benefit of yoga is that it can improve brain function. Certain yoga techniques can stimulate the brain and nervous system, improving focus and mental concentration in the process. In addition, processing of information can become faster and more efficient.
• Helps treat sleep disorders
Chronic sleep disorders can be troublesome and debilitating for people of all ages. Aside from cutting caffeine intake, you can also practice yoga to conquer sleeplessness and insomnia. The relaxation and stress reducing properties of yoga can help you have a good night’s sleep.
• Reduces PTSD symptoms
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a condition that occurs after a shocking or terrifying life experience. It can trigger anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares for months or years after the event. PTSD affects people who witnessed or experienced physical/sexual abuse, accidents, war, or natural disasters. Certain forms of yoga such as Hatha have been shown to be helpful in reducing PTSD symptoms.
Effects of Yoga on the Body
• Increases flexibility
This is one of the standout benefits of yoga. Although you may not achieve this right away, with time and patience, your body can experience incredible changes. As indicated by a recent study by the Colorado State University, Bikram, one form of yoga, allows the body to do 26 types of postures, increasing shoulder, hamstring, and lower back flexibility.
• Helps lower blood pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health problem. If you have mild to moderate hypertension, you might benefit from practicing yoga regularly. Various studies have shown that yoga can lower blood pressure better than just having a nutrition or weight loss program alone.
• Reduces chronic neck pain
Yoga can be useful in treating chronic neck pain. A German study indicated that one month of practicing Iyengar yoga can help lessen pain in adults suffering from neck spasms and other neck-related issues.
• Lowers the risk of heart disease
A European Journal of Cardiology study in 2014 stated that yoga can help lower the risk of heart disease by reducing the risk factors associated with it. Stress, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and uncontrolled diabetes can increase the chance of having heart disease. When a person practices yoga, these risk factors are reduced, thereby having a positive effect on the heart.
• Strengthens bones
Through the use of various weight bearing postures, yoga can help strengthen bones and reduce the likelihood of having osteoporosis. There are poses, such as downward dog and upward dog, that strengthen the bones in the arms and knees.
To fully enjoy its many health benefits, you’ll need to do yoga on a regular basis. As much as possible, try practicing yoga at least 3 times a week. Just a few minutes each day is enough to boost your physical and mental health. In order to do yoga properly, you need to have a yoga mat. To buy a yoga mat, click here.