Yoga has always been a fun and beneficial exercise! It is for everyone of almost all ages! It is a workout that is suited for all fitness levels. Personally, I don’t see any reason why everyone should not be doing this amazing exercise for both the body and the mind.
It is already proven to have plenty of health benefits such as flexibility, relaxation, perfecting posture, increases blood flow and gives a general feeling of well being.
However, recent studies this year have uncover more and more health benefits of Yoga that we are just starting to unravel.
Below are the more reasons (according to Science) why we should so Yoga now!
Yoga is a well known exercise that sprouted from the teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism in the Asian tradition. Both teach humility and selflessness. However, in a recent study this year, it was found out that Yoga actually inflates ones ego.
Ever felt that calming and more confident sensation after a good Yoga workout? As it turns out Yoga can give us a boost in both our ego and well being.
A team of scientists from the University Mannheim in Germany, conducted a couple of studies to note the effects of Yoga to practitioners.
The team found out that people who practiced Yoga 24 hours prior to the study had an increased sense of well-being along with self-enhancement. This is very similar to what they got from practitioners of mindfulness meditation.
Now I don’t think that this is necessarily a bad thing with respect to both religion. Ego can be good. It can be a source of self-worth and confidence to tackle day to day tasks. So doing yoga to have a sense of confidence to take on the world, I am all for it.
Yoga is a Brain Booster
Again, the Yogis and Buddhists were right, they are already very familiar with the cognitive and brain benefits of Yoga. Yoga and Meditation have been known to increase focus and concentration, elicit positive emotions, decreasing negative emotional reactivity.
It isn’t a surprise that a new study from Trinity College in Dublin confirmed the connection between Yoga and attention.
In the study it was found out that regular practitioners of Yoga focused well especially when undertaking tasks that demanded a lot of effort in terms of focus and attention versus people who do not practice Yoga.
You Only Need 20 Minutes of Yoga to Improve Overall Brain Function
How many times do you do Yoga per day? An hour? May be more? As it turns out to get the brain boosting effects of Yoga particularly concentration and working memory, you only need, wait for it… 20 MINUTES!
In a small study from the Illinois University, two groups of women were tested for memory and concentration. One group jogged for 20 minutes and the other did Yoga. The researchers were surprised to notice that the Yoga group vested the jogging group.
“’It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout,”
Of course the researchers still recommend any exercise or physical activity as any exercise does increase blood flow to the brain but Yoga immediately has noticeable improvement in the brain!
Yoga Can Help Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety is becoming more and more common these days with all the stressors that we encounter from both work and our personal lives. It can be detrimental to our health as it can affect our stress levels, eating habits and worse our sleeping patterns.
Fortunately, it seems that Yoga again, can have a ton of positive effects in our brain and general well being.
Recently, another mental health benefit was attributed to Yoga. In a small study published in the Nurse Practitioner it was found out that Mind-body practices like Yoga and also Meditation can significantly help decrease anxiety levels especially in adolescents.
In the journal it was noted that “Yoga, which the authors point out includes asana (physical poses), pranayama (breath training), and mindful meditation, also had an effect. Yoga has the added benefit of including physical movement, which can be especially helpful for kids who have extreme stress in their lives.”.
Now we have another weapon against this debilitating and common condition that it anxiety!
Yoga Boosts the Immune System
Yoga along with meditation, Tai Chi and other so called “Mind-Body Interventions” don’t just relax us they can have a positive impact on our health particularly in our immune system.
New research published in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine suggests that practicing Yoga on a regular basis can help boost our body’s immune system and even decrease inflammation in the body.
Researchers in these studies examined the blood and saliva for the immune responses of participants. “Overall, the collection of research trials indicate yoga has a promising anti-inflammatory effect in the body.” The lesser the chronic inflammation the stronger the immune response of the body according to the study.
Who knew Yoga can boost the immune system! Another reason to grab that Yoga mat!
Yoga May Help Ease Blood Pressure
Yoga may not seem strenuous enough to be healthy for the heart. But this year, it was confirmed that people who practice this ancient yet healthy activity is getting another benefit.
In a study done at the NYU Langone Medical Center, their study confirms many people’s feelings that exercise may be useful in the control of hypertension.
They tracked 58 men and women aged 38 to 62 years old for six months. The group practiced Yoga 2 – 3 times a week and interestingly, their blood pressure drop with an average of 133/80 to 130/77 according to the researchers.
Seems that with all the stress in the world Yoga is a another way to cope and prevent cardiovascular diseases in a fun way!
Yoga for Weight loss?
Yoga is not really known for its weight loss benefits. With its passive, gentle stretches, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, it is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
As it turns out Yoga can be an effective tool to help us lose weight. Regularly practicing Yoga especially active forms of Yoga such as Ashtanga and Bikram can have significant impact on our metabolism and fat burning.
A study funded and published by the National Institutes of Health recently found out that overweight women were able to lose and trim a significant amount of weight particularly fats.
Two groups were studied one practicing Yoga and the other regular stretching. Both groups lost weight but the Yoga group lost more weight. An average of 1.3 kilograms versus .7 kilograms for the stretch group.
The yoga group also lost more than 2.5 times the amount of fat versus the stretch group and after six months, the stretch group also regained the fat it lost during the study.
Who knew that even with Yoga poses, meditation and breathing, weight loss is very much possible!
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years but only now we are starting to unravel its secrets and how this seemingly simple exercise can be very beneficial for our whole well being. I don’t see any other reason why everyone should not be doing Yoga with these health benefits for both the body and the mind.
Yoga Improves Quality of Sleep
Sleep quality can be very low with all the stressors in our day to day lives. Work, relationships and even traffic jams can spike up our cortisol levels these are the hormones of stress. When they are high it can be difficult to get a good night sleep.
In a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School suggests that yoga can improve sleep especially among sufferers of insomnia. Researchers in this study, provided their subjects with yoga training in the course of eight weeks.
At the end of the study the subjects experienced a significant improvement in their sleeping habits such as adequate sleep time, sleep efficiency and overall quality of sleep.
In a Nutshell
Yoga is already known for a variety of health benefits. But as research and studies are still being conducted on yoga, more and more health benefits and improvement in the quality of life are being unraveled by researchers.
There’s is almost no reason not to do Yoga for it is fun, easy and improves overall health in both the body and the mind.