Better mood, better sleep, better health, less stress. Whats not to love? Explore the 10 Reasons Yoga Should be On Your To-Do List!
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient spiritual and physical exercise developed many thousands of years ago in ancient India. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the ancient word ‘yogah’ which means ‘to unite’. Deep breathing, stretching, and holding a pose, are all part of what makes up the practice to unite the mind, body, and spirit in harmony. It allows us to master our own mind, our emotions, and tap into our spirituality. As it reached America, the practice grew in popularity, and has been used by millions to promote their health.
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What could yoga do for you?
1. Yoga For Stress Relief
Yoga is relaxing, and helps you let of unnecessary tension in the mind, and body. In fact, multiple studies have shown that it reduces the stress hormone cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar levels, and more (1).
2. Improves Flexibility
Research suggests that yoga may increase overall flexibility in the body, and balance (2). How does yoga do this? Stretching and poses which are designed to help work out the kinks.
3. Promotes Well-Being
A study done with veterans over a 16-week period concluded that regular yoga practice helps reduce symptoms of PTSD (3). If you are suffering from any sort of mental trauma or depression, then yoga may be the ticket to your relief. In another study done in 2017, it was shown that adults with mild to moderate depression had their symptoms reduced over an 8-week period of practicing yoga (4).
4. Yoga Can Help With Injuries
In a study conducted on individuals with lower back pain, and neck pain; it was concluded that regular interval yoga practice did in fact help lower the occurrence of work related absenteeism (5). The statistical significance was difficult to pin down but the consensus was that it does help. This means less pain while you are trying to focus on what matters.
5. Helps You Eat Healthier
Now this is a benefit we can get behind! When you aren’t present in the moment, you tend to be more in your mind than your body. This leads to poor decisions in your eating. Its sure easy to tune out and chow down on your favorite fast food. Yoga promotes being mindful. This includes being mindful of whether or not that cheeseburger and fries is the best choice at the moment. This means less binge eating, or compulsive eating disorders (6).
6. Yoga Makes You Stronger
We know that yoga makes it easier to stay limber, but what about maintaining strength? Oh yes, definitely. There are specific poses that will help you build your upper and lower body strength. Most importantly, you will see a significant increase in your core body strength (7). You won’t become ripped, but you’ll feel like a million bucks.
7. Promotes Wonderful Sleep
Ah yes, sleep. You want it, but you’re all stressed out from a hard day? Try some yoga when you get home to help you wind down. In a study done by the national institute of health, it was shown that over 55% of participants were able to sleep better due to yoga (8). People who practice yoga fall asleep more quickly, get a better quality of REM sleep, and they have less interruptions in their sleep. This all translates to waking up feeling refreshed and happy (9).
8. Yoga Makes You Happy
Turn the frown upside down folks. Yoga can improve your mood, and overall feelings of happiness (10). Serotonin is increased, and cortisol is decreased. Hormones are in balance and smiling is in the future!
9. Yoga Lowers Blood Sugar
The bad cholesterol (LDL) is reduced and the good cholesterol (HDL) is increased. This means your cardiovascular health in being pushed in the right direction (11). In diabetics, it can lower blood sugar and increases weight loss.
10. Yoga Strengthens Your Immune System
We all hate getting sick. Sometimes the problem is we are run down, and our immune system can’t handle the workload. We all have a limited number of white blood cells in our bodies, and if we want to fend off invaders, we need to take care of our little helpers. In a trial with 19 individuals who regularly practice meditation, and 16 individuals who do not; yoga was discovered to have a significant effect on the immune cell activity in the lymph system of the body (12).