Modern media and advertising think that yoga is all about physical poses, but in actuality it includes a wide range of contemplative and self-disciplinary practices, such as meditation, chanting, prayer, breath work, ritual, and even selfish action.
The root word for yoga is “yuj,” which means “to yoke” or “to bind” in Sanskrit.
The physical practice and postures of yoga are called yoga asana.
The scientific research into yoga’s benefits is still preliminary, but much of the evidence so far supports what practitioners have known for thousands of years: yoga is beneficial to our overall well-being.
The benefits of yoga can be seen in greater depth.
- Flexibility is improved by yoga.
In 2016 two of yoga’s leading organizations, Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, conducted a worldwide survey looking at a variety of statistics about yoga in an attempt to quantify its value.
People were selected for yoga because they wanted to increase flexibility.
Flexibility is important for physical health. There are many styles to choose from, ranging in intensity from high to moderate to mild. Flexibility has been found to be increased by even the lowest intensity styles.
It seems that yoga can help improve flexibility in older adults. A study found that yoga slowed down loss and improved flexibility in older people.
- Stress relief can be helped by yoga.
According to the American Psychological Association, 84% of American adults are experiencing stress.
It makes sense that the second most cited reason people choose to do yoga is to relieve stress. Science supports that yoga is an excellent way to reduce stress.
Physical practice is just one part of yoga. It has been shown that meditation, breath work, and sound baths can reduce tension and relieve stress.
- Mental health can be improved by yoga.
One of the most common mental health disorders in the world is major depression.
According to a meta-analysis of 23 interventions looking at the effects of yoga-based treatments on depression, yoga can now be considered an effective alternative treatment.
Both movement-based yoga therapies and breathing-based practices have been shown to improve the symptoms of depression.
- Inflammation may be reduced by yoga.
Chronic inflammation is often the cause of illness. Heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and many other conditions are related to inflammation.
One review looked at 15 research studies and found that yoga reduced inflammation in several chronic conditions.
- Your strength will likely increase because of yoga.
While most people associate yoga with stretching and flexibility, there are other types of yoga classes that can be considered strength-building. It is dependent on the class level, approach, and teacher. This makes yoga asana a multiple form of exercise.
The effectiveness of yoga in building strength has been studied in a number of contexts, for instance, as it pertains to people with breast cancer, older adults, and children.
Yoga is an effective strength-building practice for many age groups of healthy participants, according to a study conducted on air force personnel.
- It is possible that yoga may reduce anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders may be the most common mental health disorders in the United States and UK.
Generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and specific phobias are some anxiety disorders. Sometimes, chronic stress can be classified as an anxiety disorder.
Several studies show that yoga asana can be used as an alternative treatment for anxiety disorders.
The benefits of yoga nidra have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- The quality of life may be improved by yoga.
Quality of life is defined by the World Health Organization as “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.”
Relationships, creativity, learning opportunities, health, and material comforts are some of the factors that affect QOL.
QOL has been viewed as an important predictor of longevity and patients’ likelihood of improvement when treated for chronic illness or injury.
There is potential for yoga to improve QOL in people with chronic pain.
- Immunity may be boosted by yoga.
Your immune system is affected by chronic stress.
You are more susceptible to illness when your immunity is compromised.
Some studies show a link between yoga and better immune system functioning.
The enhancement of cell-mediated immunity is due to yoga’s ability to fight inflammation.
- Balance can be improved with yoga.
Balance is important when you are trying to stand on one leg in Tree Pose. It is essential for simple movements such as picking something up off the floor, reaching up to a shelf, and descending stairs.
It has been shown that yoga improves balance and performance.
A review of the research conducted on healthy populations suggests that yoga may improve balance for most people.
Falling can have serious effects on certain people. According to the Agency for healthcare research and quality, falls are very common among older adults in nursing facilities, and even the simplest ones can lead to an increased risk of death.
Studies show yoga can improve balance in older populations.
There are more studies that need to be done before a conclusion can be drawn.
People with brain injuries can be helped by yoga asana.
Older adults or people with injuries who are less mobile can benefit from adaptive yoga or chair yoga.
- Cardiovascular functioning may be improved by yoga.
Yogic breathing, often referred to as “yogic breathing,” is an important part of yoga.
A review of 1,400 studies looked at the overall effects of pranayama. Several systems in the body can be improved by yogic breathing.
The cardiovascular system benefited from controlling the pace of breathing as shown in the research summarized in the review.
Yogic breathing may influence the brain’s cardiorespiratory centre to improve functioning
- Yoga can help improve sleep.
Researchers look at a person’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep when measuring sleep. Insomnia can affect at least one of these aspects.
How quickly people fall asleep and how deep they sleep can be improved by yoga. The mental calming and stress relief provided by yoga is one of the reasons for this.
Several studies show yoga nidra to be helpful at improving sleep.
- Self-esteem may be improved by yoga.
Body image and self-esteem can be difficult for adolescents and young adults. Several recent studies show positive results when using yoga to improve self-esteem and body image in these populations.
There is evidence that yoga can help with the symptoms of obsession, anxiety, and depression in patients with Anorexia nervosa.
- The health of the bones may be improved by yoga.
The length of the muscles holding the pose doesn’t change even though they are fully engaged.
If you were moving through a push-up, the arms, trunk, and legs would be shortened, but in Plank Pose, the arms, trunk, and legs are all engaged.
The lead leg is bent at the hip and knee in Warrior II. Isometric exercises have been shown to increase bone density.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia may be reversed by yoga asana. According to a study, just 12 minutes of yoga per day can improve bone health.
It is important to note that the findings related to yoga’s impact on bone density have been mixed so far.
- Better posture and body awareness can be achieved through yoga.
As a modern society reliant on technology, we seem to be spending more and more time sitting and hunched over our devices.
One recent review of 34 research studies found that yoga improved brain functioning in the centres responsible for interception and posture.
Yoga’s focus on mobility and flexibility can contribute to better alignment by releasing muscles that are often tight, improving mobility of the spine can be achieved with the help of the hamstrings.
During your workouts, you can do yoga poses to promote better posture.
- Brain functioning can be improved by yoga.
According to studies, yoga is a mind-body exercise.
The areas of the brain responsible for motivation, executive functioning, attention, and neuroplasticity were found to be activated by practising yoga.
- It’s possible that yoga can help with burnout.
It seems like there is an all-time high of burnout.
According to a recent study, yoga-based meditation interventions helped reduce the effects of burnout by improving interceptive awareness.
This is the ability to notice internal signals, and yoga may help people become more in tune with their body’s signals.
It’s the bottom line.
While the research is still young, the results are promising and confirm what yoga practitioners have been saying for thousands of years: yoga is beneficial for our overall health.
Numerous practices fall into the category of yoga, and most do not involve physical activity. Even karma or philanthropic action can qualify as yoga!
You can do yoga on a daily basis because it is not limited to physical movement.
Investing in yoga practice is an investment in you. Find out about the classes & courses available to you at Glolife