Mind-body fitness programs such as yoga improve overall quality of life. These techniques are found beneficial in holistic healing of a multitude of different ailments and conditions by preventing, reducing or alleviating physiological, emotional and spiritual pain, suffering or limitations.
Yoga Health Benefits
Yoga is a holistic approach to health and well-being. The word “yoga” means union, which involves a combination of muscular activity with mindful focus and attention on awareness of breath, energy and self. It comprises physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation (dhyana), lifestyle and diet changes, visualization and the use of sound, among many others techniques.
Besides, slowing down breathing, yogic practices: i) decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure; ii) reduce mean arterial pressure; iii) lower cortisol levels; iv) improve melatonin levels, and v) increase blood flow to the intestines and vital organs, which is vital for optimal functioning of the immune system.
Therefore, sustained practice of yoga:
- Enhances muscular strength and body flexibility,
- Improves respiratory and cardiovascular function,
- Promotes recovery from addiction,
- Improves sleep patterns;
- Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
- Facilitates human characteristics of friendliness and compassion
- Boosts greater self-control and a sense of calmness
As, physical postures and breathing exercises prepare the mind and body for meditation and spiritual development, with regular practice of yoga, you not only improve your life force energy but also start living a more fulfilled life.
Yoga Can Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Illness
In today’s fast paced, sensory overloaded, stressful lifestyle mental health problems (such as depression, anxiety and insomnia) have become common ailments. Research suggests that constant stress has a negative impact on the immune system and prolonged exposure increases susceptibility to many other chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Thus, there is an urgent need to learn techniques for effective management of chronic or long-term stress in everyday life.
Proactive handling of stress alleviates the constant activation of the endocrine system, which helps in leading a better quality of life even during periods of stress. Numerous research studies suggest that the calming and restorative effect of sustained yogic practices produce various genetic and molecular effects in the body, which help in reducing levels of pro-inflammatory molecules and promote faster recovery from a stressful situation.
Therapeutic yoga provides therapeutic benefits in depression, stress, and anxiety. It comprises meditative exercises that involve relaxation and concentration, a focus on the breath, and gradual and purposeful movement. It is viewed as a holistic stress management technique, as it encourages individual to relax, slow down the breath and focus on the present moment, this process shifts the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (“flight-or-fight response) to the parasympathetic system (relaxation response).