Yoga is becoming mainstream. It is a symbol of serenity, peace and wellbeing, and according to a 2012 Yoga in America study, a whopping 20 million Americans do practice yoga. What is more? Cumulatively, the practitioners spend more than $10 billion each year on related products and services.
This practice owes its popularity to its ability to boost a person’s well-being and reduce stress. It also offers many other physical health benefits.
Health benefits of Yoga
Improves brain functions
Studies have shown that immediately after a session, practitioner’s brain function improves, their stress levels reduce, and their flexibility is enhanced too. A University of Illinois study reported that participants often perform markedly better on tests of brain function immediately after a session. That is because their working memory is enhanced, their focus improves, and their cognitive function is increased.
On reducing stress levels, a University of California study reports that yoga’s power largely due to its ability to suppress the activity of proteins which often play a role in inflammation.
Studies also show that immediately after a yoga session, practitioners will experience increased flexibility in particular areas of their bodies- for example, the lower back, shoulder, and hamstring. They may experience increased dead lift strength and lower body fat as well.
Lowers blood pressure
After a few months of sustained yoga exercises, practitioners will experience lower blood pressure, an improved lung capacity, an enhanced sexual function, a relief in anxiety, a reduction in chronic pain at the neck, an improved sense of balance, among many other benefits.
There are many studies to corroborate these claims. For instance, a Temple University study states that the practice of a certain type of yoga called lyengar can improve balance and prevent falls in older woman aged 65 and above. The same study found out that lyengar yoga can reduce chronic pain and improve mood more than standard medical treatments.
Improves bone density
There is another different set of changes that a person experiences after some years of consistent yoga exercises. For example, according to a 2009 pilot study done by Dr. Loren Fishman, consistently it can improve bone density among the old.
Helps in weight loss
Another study conducted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center researchers found a link between decreased weight and regular yoga exercises. According to the study, overweight people who did yoga in the course of the research lost close to five pounds as opposed to those who didn’t practice.
Prevents heart diseases
It then follows that yoga exercise can also reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart diseases are often linked to weight problems. Once weight problems are out of the way, then the risk of developing a heart disease is critically reduced.
So, with all the health benefits of yoga, you can clearly tell that it is very helpful.