What is Yoga, exactly? Is it just an exercise form? Is it a religion, a philosophy, an ideology? Or is it something else entirely? The word “Yoga” literally means “union”. Derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuji,” meaning yoke or union, yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body. It incorporates breathing exercises, meditation, and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Practicing yoga is said to come with many benefits for both mental and physical health. Here are 10 benefits of yoga that not everyone knows, let’s explore what it is.
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1. Healthy weight loss
Yoga practice requires all the muscles of the body to work at full capacity to complete difficult poses. The more muscles work, the more protein they burn.
When muscle protein is depleted, it accelerates fat burning and excess energy consumption. In other words, Yoga is the perfect practice to force muscles to move.
30 minutes of Yoga burns 400kl Calories and Yoga exercises equates to the strictest diet. Yoga to lose weight, but combine muscle gain and adjust the body parameters very effectively.
Don’t be surprised why with just 1.2 weeks of practice, you can already feel the transformation in your body!
2. 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.
Another study of 131 people had similar results, showing that 10 weeks of yoga helped reduce stress and anxiety.
It also helped improve the 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.
3. Drops blood pressure
If you’ve got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga.
Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch.
After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number—and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.
4. Lowers blood sugar and LDL cholesterol
In people with diabetes, yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in several ways: by lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, encouraging weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin.
A study followed 113 patients with heart disease, looking at the effects of a lifestyle change that included one year of yoga training combined with dietary modifications and stress management.
Participants saw a 23% decrease in total cholesterol and a 26% reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the progression of heart disease stopped in 47% of patients.
5. Relieve Migraines
Migraines are severe recurring headaches that affect an estimated 1 out of 7 Americans each year.
Traditionally, migraines are treated with medications to relieve and manage symptoms.
However, increasing evidence shows that yoga could be a useful adjunct therapy to help reduce migraine frequency.
A 2007 study divided 72 patients with migraines into either a yoga therapy or self-care group for three months. Practicing yoga led to reductions in headache intensity, frequency, and pain compared to the self-care group.
Researchers suggest that doing yoga may help stimulate the vagus nerve, which has been shown to be effective in relieving migraines.
6. Helps sleep deeper
Stimulation is good, but too much of it taxes the nervous system. Yoga can provide relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Restorative asana, yoga Nidra (a form of guided relaxation), Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system.
Another by-product of regular yoga practice, studies suggest, is better sleep—which means you’ll be less tired and stressed and less likely to have accidents.
7. Reduce Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a persistent problem that affects millions of people and has a range of possible causes, from injuries to arthritis.
There is a growing body of research demonstrating that practicing yoga could help reduce many types of chronic pain.
In one study, 42 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome either received a wrist splint or did yoga for eight weeks.
At the end of the study, yoga was found to be more effective in reducing pain and improving grip strength than wrist splinting.
8. Uses sounds to soothe sinuses
The basics of yoga—asana, pranayama, and meditation—all work to improve your health, but there’s more in the yoga toolbox.
Consider chanting. It tends to prolong exhalation, which shifts the balance toward the parasympathetic nervous system.
When done in a group, chanting can be a particularly powerful physical and emotional experience.
A recent study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute suggests that humming sounds—like those made while chanting Om—open the sinuses and facilitate drainage.
9. Improves flexibility and balance
Many people add yoga to their fitness routines to improve flexibility and balance.
There is considerable research that backs this benefit, demonstrating that it can optimize performance through the use of specific poses that target flexibility and balance.
A recent study assigned 66 elderly participants to either practice yoga or calisthenics, a type of bodyweight exercise.
After one year, the total flexibility of the yoga group increased by nearly four times that of the calisthenics group
Practicing just 15–30 minutes of yoga each day could make a big difference for those looking to enhance performance by increasing flexibility and balance.
10. Connects you with guidance
Good yoga teachers can do wonders for your health.
Exceptional ones do more than guide you through the postures. They can adjust your posture, gauge when you should go deeper in poses or back off, deliver hard truths with compassion, help you relax, and enhance and personalize your practice.
A respectful relationship with a teacher goes a long way toward promoting your health.
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