Yoga is an ancient practice that connects the mind, body, and spirit through body poses, controlled breathing, and meditation. Over the past several years, yoga is getting popular in the western world among medical professionals and celebrities. Many associate yoga with new age mysticism. Western science is starting to provide some concrete clues as to how yoga works to improve health, heal aches and pains, and keep sickness at bay.
The practice of yoga has many health benefits associated with it.
There are many types of yoga too such as the Iyengar Yoga, Hatha Yoga, even the most recent and popular Patanjali yoga or Ramdev Yoga.
Hatha (a combination of many styles) is one of the most popular styles. It is a more physical type of yoga rather than a still, meditative form. Hatha yoga focuses on pranayamas (breath-controlled exercises). These are followed by a series of asanas (yoga postures), which end with savasana (a resting period).
These lesser known benefits of yoga that is sure to leave you surprised :
1.Yoga For Immunity
Antibiotics and other medicines do help the body recover from disease but they don’t help improve the body’s immunity. Yoga, perhaps, is one of the most effective and time-tested natural immunity boosters that we can adopt for a healthier life. It is an ancient art that strengthens the body and also relaxes the mind.
Environmental pollutants, toxins and constant stress can weaken your immune system and make them susceptible to disease. Studies have shown that viruses and bacteria reside quietly within us until something in the body’s internal environment becomes imbalanced, at which point they rally into action and attack. Yoga helps lower stress hormones that can weaken the immune system, while conditioning the lungs and the respiratory tract stimulating the lymphatic system to release toxins from the body.
A 2013 study in Plos One journal found that Hatha yoga resulted in a increase in immune boosting genes and that too just within 2 hours of practicing! Apart from this, various yoga asanas help tackle stress, one of the key factors draining immunity.
2.Yoga for Weight Loss
This ancient practice is the perfect combination of cardio and strength training that is recommended if you want to lose weight and gain muscle.
Our hectic lifestyle and workloads do not let us live in a healthy way. The craving for junk food and stress filled environment gives us an unhealthy body. The tummy and thighs are the worst affected body parts of all where most of the fat gets deposited.
By adopting the methods of yoga, one can reduce weight, control the body and soul. Along with these benefits, one can also experience mental peace. Losing weight and staying in shape will also build self-esteem and reduce the stress levels.
3.Yoga for blood Circulations
The circulatory system pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen to and carrying waste products away from cells. Yoga is one of the most effective ways to increase circulation, and when your blood is effortlessly flowing, it naturally gets your skin glowing.
Yogic asanas and breathing techniques facilitates a flow of blood to and from each single part of the body. Hence yoga contributes immensely in betterment of overall health of human being.
Inverted yoga postures such as the sirsasana, Sarvangasana, mayurasana channelize impure blood from the lower part of the body to the heart and lungs where it is infused with oxygen. Better oxygen flow means the better performance of the organs. In addition, yoga helps to thin blood, reducing the risk of the big daddies of heart issues such as heart attack and stroke. This is just among one of the benefits of yoga.
4.Yoga for Migraine
Migraine is a neurological disorder that causes recurring headaches ranging from moderate to high intensity. Typically it effects only one half of the head and can last from 2 hours to up to more than 2 days.
Yoga is an ancient technique that promotes holistic living through a combination of postures and breathing techniques. A recent study found that practicing yoga poses for 3 months helped reduce migraine
Yoga is a side-effect free method to fight migraine. Practising these simple yoga postures for a few minutes everyday will help prepare yourself better for the next migraine attack:
- Hastapadasana (Standing Forward bend)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
- Shishuasana (Child pose)
- Marjariasana (Cat stretch)
- Paschimottanasana (Two-legged Forward bend)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose)
- Padmasana (Lotus pose)
- Shavasana (Corpse pose)
5.Yoga for Sleep
If you are unable sleep enough, yoga can help. Regular practice of yoga is known to cure several ailments, including insomnia or abnormal sleeping habits. Yoga helps unwind at the end of the day and gives better sleep at night.
With a quiet yoga practice focused on deep breathing to calm your mind and release physical tension. This combination of breath and movement activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counteract stress.
Do each pose in the sequence for one to five minutes, holding each position gently without strain or pain. Can’t manage the full sequence? Pick your favourites and build them into your routine as you can – even in bed, if that works for you. Don’t push yourself past your comfort zone and don’t do anything that hurts. Speak to a yoga teacher for further modifications to these poses that will work with your body
6.Yoga For Depressions
Consistent yoga has shown to help in depression. On the scientific front, research shows that yoga and meditation help increase the levels of ‘feel good’ serotonin and decrease the activity of monoamine oxidase enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of the feel good hormones which keep you up and away from earthly troubles. So go ahead and do that Ramdev yoga when you are down and out.
7. Yoga for Bones
The body breaks them down and builds them up in a constant flux that affects bone mass or density. While some bone loss is natural with aging, it’s possible to maintain a healthy equilibrium, a balance of bone destruction and reconstruction.
Yoga helps lower the levels of stress hormones cortisol which erodes calcium from the bones. Strong bones seem like a dream when you are aging. Hence, it is all the more imperative to do yoga.
For starters, yoga is a weight-bearing exercise, meaning you hold the weight of your body up against gravity. Resisting gravity puts a mild stress on the bones. That stress forces bones into laying down new growth. In this way, yoga is no different from jogging, walking, or playing tennis.
But unlike some other weight-bearing activities, yoga won’t damage cartilage or stress the joints. Instead, it lengthens muscles and holds them there, creating tension on the bone.
8. Helps Reduce High Blood Pressure
Studies published in reputed journals compared the effects of savasana with simply lying on the couch. They found that participants who practiced savasana experienced a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the higher reading) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the lower reading). Blood pressure is one of the risk factors for deteriorating heart health. This yoga day, reap in this unique benefit of yoga for good health.
Recent studies indicate that keeping your muscles flexible and pliant, e.g. through regular yoga stretches, may also help keep the arteries pliable and thereby lower blood pressure naturally
9.Yoga for Digestive Discomforts
If you’ve overeaten or are facing digestive discomfort, fifteen minutes or so of yoga can make all the difference.
Anxiety can block the body from breaking down food into fuel. Learning to release anxiety at its base—in the feet—will ease the pressure your body is under while processing nutrients and dealing with impurities in food.
Stress is one of the principal factors which increases the severity of ulcers, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome among other digestive problems. One of the benefits of yoga is to help reduce stress.
yoga helps to reduce constipation. Although not proven, some yogis believe that the twisting yoga poses help in easing constipation and improves the efficiency of waste elimination.
10. Yoga for Heart
Yoga has shown to lower the resting heart rate, increase endurance, and can improve the maximum oxygen uptake. These are the signs of good aerobic heart muscle conditioning. No wonder many recommend yoga for health.
Yoga builds cardiovascular health, increases lung capacity, and improves respiratory function and heartrate. It also boosts blood circulation, builds muscle, and decreases inflammation.
Yoga is a physical practice that emphasizes breath, focus and meditation. Practicing yoga brings a deeper awareness of the body, mind and emotions allowing the yogi to become more in tuned with their physical and mental health.
11.Yoga for Spine
The spine is designed to support a certain amount of weight. Even a slight overload of the spine will create problems, because it is a subtle thing, made of 33 pieces of bone. Yoga is a supreme method for putting the spine and the rest of the body back into proper alignment by elongating over-tight muscles that pull too much one way and by strengthening weakened muscles that compromise alignment.
Remember, yoga is a continuous process. So keep practicing, The deeper you go into your yoga practice, the more profound will be its benefits. Try on different yoga asanas and improve your health. Be it Iyengar yoga, Hatha yoga, or Ramdev yoga, practice any stream to get good health.
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