Yoga is as old as civilization. Its health benefits have been known since the ancient times. From stress relief to stronger bones and weight loss, yoga has beneficial effects on your mind and body. When practiced regularly, it improves sleep, keeps your brain sharp, and eases pain. Centuries ago, people believed that yoga is the key to a fulfilled life. Anyone who follows this path can become healthier, happier, and… who knows according to the people who invented it maybe even wiser.
What Is Yoga?
This practice has been around for over 5,000 years. Today, millions of people in the Western world are enjoying its health benefits. In India, yoga is a way of healthy living as well as a product of the perennial wisdom. People from all around the world are practicing yoga to stay fit and healthy, find their inner peace, and even treat psychosomatic disorders.
Yoga consists of a series of poses (asanas) and breathing techniques that support mental and physical health. Hatha yoga, which is one of its many forms, puts emphasis on meditation, deep breathing, and postures. Its goal is to develop flexibility and balance. This type of yoga is ideal for beginners. If your goal is to lose weight, try Vinyasa. Also known as power yoga, it boasts a series of lunging, stretching, and bending asanas. Bikram yoga consists of 26 poses that are practiced in 40-degree heat. Anusara yoga focuses on cardiovascular health, while restorative yoga relaxes the mind and body.
All types of yoga have a common goal: to bring health and balance to the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional dimensions of an individual.
An overwhelming number of studies support the belief that yoga has beneficial effects on immune function, brain, and overall health. Not only it regulates the mood and improves memory, but also lowers stress hormone levels, reduces inflammation, and boosts your body’s ability to fight diseases. Several studies have found that yoga is just as effective as or even better than general exercise at improving blood glucose levels, oxidative stress, salivary cortisol, and blood lipids.
Yoga as a Complementary Health Approach
Medical research indicates that yoga may relieve chronic pain, reduce blood pressure, and ease anxiety. Compared to regular exercise, it puts less pressure on the joints and can be safely practiced by seniors, pregnant women, and people with knee and back pain (although you should always check with your medical professional first). This form of therapy also strengthens your core, promotes weight loss, and improves lung capacity.
Yoga can transform your mind and body. Its mental benefits are backed up by science. Numerous studies have shown that it may help those with depression, bipolar disorder, memory decline, and anxiety.
According to the University of Illinois, a 20-minute session of Hatha yoga can dramatically improve mental focus and short term memory.
This ancient therapy has a positive impact on your mental, cardiovascular, musculo-skeletal, and digestive system. Whether you want better digestion, stronger joints, or increased energy, yoga is the way to go. People of all ages and fitness level can use this form of exercise. Most postures can be modified based on individual needs, which makes yoga ideal for everyone.
Here at BodyFit Physiotherapy Howick we often recommend yoga as a helpful addition to physiotherapy treatment for certain ailments. Feel free to give us a call or email to discuss whether yoga is a good way to address your injury or problem.