The Benefits of
The benefits of yoga are many, and the only drawback seems to be possible addiction! Ask any yoga student how
they like their yoga class, and you are likely to release a flood of superlatives: "It's the best … It's the
greatest … I've never felt this good in my life."
So just what is it that makes all of these yoga practitioners feel so good?
The fact is, the benefits of yoga are so extensive, and so varied, that it may take medical researchers decades to
uncover them all. But here is a general list of the health benefits that have been credited to yoga.
How Yoga Benefits Processes Within The Body
By providing a consistent flow of oxygen to all parts of the body, yoga improves circulation and lowers blood
pressure. It also slow the heart rate and decreases the respiratory rate. The result of these processes is improved
cardiovascular endurance, so you can ride your spinning like longer and harder.
It may sound odd, but yoga moves are designed to massage the internal organs, helping to fight off disease. Some
yoga poses work directly to improve the immune system, while others improve gastrointestinal functions in both men
and women. And last, but certainly not least, the body's overall metabolism becomes more balanced, leaving the yoga
student less hungry and more likely to control his or her weight.
How Yoga Improves Body Chemistry
In addition to improving organ function, yoga can improve body chemistry. Increased blood circulation contributes
to lower levels of cholesterol and stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity. Consistent yoga practice is
thought to reduce levels of glucose (sugar), sodium (salt), and triglycerides (which contribute to heart
Yoga Can Help Prevent Disease
As already mentioned, yoga lowers blood pressure and reduces stress, which reduces the risk of heart disease. With
its strength-training component, yoga helps ward off osteoporosis and its ability to lower levels of the hormone
cortisol may help bones retain their calcium. Yoga appears to encourage insulin production in the pancreas, which
helps prevent Type II diabetes. Yoga may even help with the prevention of Alzheimer's disease by elevating levels
of gamma-aminobutryic (GABA) in the brain.
How Yoga Contributes to Emotional & Mental Health
The emotional benefits of yoga are well documented. People who practice yoga on a regular basis benefit from an
overall improvement of mood, stress reduction, less anxiety, fewer episodes of depression, better self-control and
a more positive outlook on like in general. Mental process are all improved including concentration, memory,
attention and social skills. It can only be a matter of time before a study is done to see if yoga practice can
produce the same results as medication for children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Additional Benefits of Yoga
* Better eye-hand coordination
* Better range of motion in the joints
* Less risk of injury while doing sports and exercise
* Improved muscle tone
* Alleviation of carpal tunnel syndrome
* Reduced symptoms of asthma
* Reduced effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients
* Reduced number of migraines
* Reduced epileptic seizures
* Management of symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
* Reduction in the side effects of menopause
Keep in mind that there are many different types of yoga: some emphasize physical strength, such as Ashtanga yoga;
others emphasize the spiritual connection that can result from yoga, such as Anusara yoga; some are more cardio
oriented and some less. You get the picture: not all forms of yoga will maximize each health benefit associated
with yoga, but they all contribute to better health in one way or another.
To learn more about the various forms of yoga, see our article "Definition of 10 Different Types of Yoga".
Ready to try yoga for yourself? Amazon has a great selection of yoga DVD's including this 3-DVD set of
Yoga for Beginners.
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