10 Benefits of practicing Yoga
10 Benefits of practicing Yoga

If you are practicing Yoga for a long time then you might have seen some benefits in yourself physically or mentally. However, not all these benefits are scientifically proven, some benefits are just feeling of getting better that we all experience in a different way. Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for all ages. The science is now providing evidences about how yoga can work to improve your physical health, mental health, pain or healing process and overall wellness.

Let’s see 10 evidence-based benefits of practicing Yoga.

1. Improves Strength, Balance & Flexibility

One of the obvious benefits of Yoga is an improved flexibility which is as much important as improved strength and balance. The gym workouts focus on the muscle strength which is not enough to improve your overall joint mobility. Flexibility focuses on improved joint range of motion and through Yoga we all get benefit of improved flexibility with strength and balance. At first class, you might not be able to touch your toes which standing but daily practice can improve your muscle flexibility which leads to improved joint mobility.

Practicing daily Yoga can improve Proprioception (ability to feel what your body is doing) which is very important for balance and co-ordination. Lack of strength and flexibility lead to bad posture and it will lead to poor proprioception and that is linked to poor balance and risk of falls. Yoga helps to improve the proprioception and prevents the risk of falls in elderly people.

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2. Improves Posture

In this modern time, we all are adapted to those activities which work against the good posture. We all spend most of our days in-front of computer and this changes the alignment of the body which leads to bad posture. The human head is perfectly sits on a perfectly aligned spine which is a good posture but by doing activities like sitting in-front of desk for more hours can shift the head from that alignment which creates bad posture. Now the neck and upper back muscles have to work harder to prevent the head to shift further and that creates imbalances in muscles. Yoga works perfectly here, it improves the much strength & flexibility which leads to correction in body alignment. I would recommend Cat-cow Pose, Utkatasana (Chair pose) and Setu Bndha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose) to correct spine alignment.


3. Relives Stress & Anxiety

Yoga has been shown in a variety of studies to help people cope with stress and anxiety. It will help you feel better about yourself and improve your mood. Yoga might also help you manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety that are due to difficult situations.

According to one study, Yoga intervention for 10 weeks shoed that yoga is more effective than relaxation in reducing stress & anxiety.

In fact, many studies have showed that Yoga helps to lower the level of stress hormone Cortisol. (1, 2)

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4. Reduces Inflammation

Chronic stress has been related to biological ageing, as well as increased chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, two mechanisms that harm cells and genes. Inflammation is a term used by scientists to describe chronic, low-grade inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been linked to several diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, stress, depression, reproductive diseases and a week immune system.

According to several studies, Yoga has showed benefits for PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) patients including reducing inflammation to improved quality of life. (1, 2)

Similarly, A 12-week restorative Iyengar yoga intervention reduced inflammation-related gene expression in breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue. (1)

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5. Improves Quality of life

We all have one goal in common and that is improved quality of life and Yoga is a best way to get it. According to Yoga Sutras the main aim of Yoga is to improve quality of life. Richard Davidson, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin discovered that meditators’ left prefrontal cortex displayed increased activity, which has been linked to higher levels of satisfaction and improved immune function. Dedicated, long-term practitioners showed more drastic left-sided activation.

A RCT study has showed that among 135 participants, a group with yoga intervention has significantly improved quality of life as well as mood and fatigue compared to other groups. (1)

IY intervention is a feasible and safe adjunctive treatment for young people with RA, leading to health related quality of life (HRQOL), pain disability, fatigue, and mood benefits. Moreover, improvements in quality of life, pain disability and mood persisted at the 2-month follow-up. (1)

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6. Improves Breathing

Breathing is a most important physiological activity. We never focus our attention on breathing while doing daily activities. Most type of Yoga incorporates breathing exercises and several studies found that practicing yoga helps to improve breathing.

Apart from breathing exercises, physical yoga poses will help the respiratory system do its job by expanding the lungs and allowing them more room to breathe, activating various body parts, and stimulating blood flow so that oxygen can reach the tips of your toes. Yoga asanas like backbends and some standing postures open up the chest region, allows ones to not only relax the tight muscles in that area, but also to use areas of the lungs that had previously been considered “dead space” due to poor posture, emotional stress, and environmental factors.

In one study, 287 college students took a 15-week class where they were taught various yoga poses and breathing exercises. At the end of the study, they had a significant increase in vital capacity. (1)

Another study shows that incorporating pranayama in sports can enhance the efficiency of healthy individuals and athletes by enhancing the ventilatory functions of lungs, especially for those who partake in aerobic-based sports and require efficient lungs to deliver sufficient oxygen uptake. (1)

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7. Improves Healthy eating habits

Healthy eating is known as “Mindful Eating”, it means being in present while eating. It requires yourself to focus on taste, smell and texture of food and get to know your thoughts, feelings and any sensation that you are experiencing while eating. Yoga helps you to be in present and eventually helps to promote mindful eating.

According to one study,  Yoga participants experienced decreases in binge eating frequency, emotional regulation difficulties and self-criticism, and increases in self-compassion. Yoga participants also experienced increases in state mindfulness skills across the eight weeks of the Yoga program. (1)

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8. Reduces Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is an ongoing pain that affects millions of people, the origin of pain can be multi-diversional from a little injury to arthritis. Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.

A study showed that offering a 12-week yoga program to adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain led to greater improvements in back function than did usual care. (1)

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9. Encourages Self-care

The majority of patients in traditional medicine are seen as passive beneficiaries of treatment. What matters in yoga is what you do for yourself. Yoga provides you the resources to help you improve, and you can notice a difference the first time you practice. You will also note that the more you practice, the more you benefit. The way it works is that you get involved in your own care, you discover that your involvement gives you the power to effect change, and seeing that you can effect change gives you hope.

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10. Benefit of finding Peace of Mind

Peace of mind is what we all are looking for at the end of the day. If you can learn to quite your mind than you can live a long, happy and healthy life. Yoga provides us as coping mechanisms. When inner peace is shattered, it’s time to pay attention to the body. One approach is to pay attention to where tension or fear originates in the body and direct our thoughts and breath there.

According to one study, a yoga practitioners when compared to people who do not practice yoga, higher proportion of yoga practitioners experience peace of mind all the time and most of the time. There exists statistically significant difference between the peace of mind score of people practicing yoga and those who do not practice it. More period of yoga practice is found to contribute to higher peace of mind. (1)

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There are many studies who support the yoga benefits for physical and mental health. Practicing Yoga helps you to enhance your physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. You can notice all these benefits within few weeks if you invest your time practicing on daily basis.


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