Physical Health & Wellbeing Benefits
Blood Pressure, Circulation and Strong Heart. Consistent yoga decreases blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation. It lowers pulse rate which means your heart is strong enough to pump more blood with fewer beats. By transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, yoga provides healthier organs, skin, and brain. A lower heart rate and improved oxygenation to the body brings higher cardiovascular endurance and lower risk of heart disease.
Respiratory Fitness and Strong Immunity. A lower respiratory rate means lungs working more efficiently. This is achieved through yoga’s controlled breathing exercises and effect on improved fitness. Yoga has been linked with a stronger immune system.
Healthy Organs. Yoga massages internal organs, helping the body prevent disease. Experienced yoga practitioners become better attuned to their body and recognise the first signs of issues which helps a quicker response to head off disease. Gastrointestinal functions greatly improved. Yoga massages and stimulates healthy organs.
Pain, Back Pain and Better Posture. Chronic and Acute Pain can be managed and sometimes eradicated through regular yoga. Many students report back pain as their primary reason for coming to Yoga, various practices can help reduce spinal compression, relieve muscles and help the overall alignment of the body.
Balanced Weight and Metabolism. Having a balanced metabolism supports maintaining a healthy weight and controlling hunger. Consistent yoga practice helps find the balance and creates a more efficient metabolism. It also works on the thyroid gland. This can help keep your weight in check. The stretching of muscles longwise helps reduce cellulite. Yoga can help lower cholesterol through increased blood circulation and fat burning. There is evidence to suggest that yoga may also lower blood glucose levels.
Strength, Endurance and Muscle Tone. You use your whole body weight for overall strength. Core strength – a strong core underpins overall health and helps reduce injuries. Working the entire body, yoga improves endurance and is frequently used by endurance athletes as a supplement to their sport-specific training. Consistent practice improves muscle tone.
Detoxification, Improved Lymphatic and Endocrine Functions. Your lymphatic system boosts your immunity and reduces toxins in your body. The way to get your lymphatic system flowing well is by movement. Yoga postures are designed to promote a strong lymphatic system and help flush out toxins. It also helps regulate and control hormone secretion. This balances hormones and promotes better overall physical and emotional health.
More Energy and Better Sleep. Regular practice supports more consistent energy levels. Because of the many benefits to both body and mind that yoga offers, many sleep much better. If you have insomnia ask about Yoga Nidra – it works miracles!
Ageing and Balance. An integral part of yoga is balance and control over your body. Your overall balance will improve. Yoga stimulates the detoxification process believed to delay ageing.
Lower Risk of Injury. Due to the low impact of yoga and the controlled aspect of the motions, there is a lower risk of injury compared to other forms of exercise.
Flexibility and Increased Movement in Joints. A regular and gentle yoga practice can hugely improve the flexibility and joint movement in the body. Yoga is especially recommend for students with Arthritis of the joints and most postures can be adapted to not overload the problem joints with increased pain.
Emotional Health Benefits
Significant Mood Lift, Less Anger. Yoga is believed to increase the neurotransmitter dopamine (natural anti-depressant) and strengthen your nervous system. A strong mind-body connection, a healthy body and focusing inward can help towards greater happiness. Most yoga practitioners report a huge reduction in the amount of hostility they feel as well as a sense of control when anger flares.
Stress Reduction. Moving tension out the body, de-stressing, meditating and breath control reduces stress considerably. The concentration required during yoga focuses your attention on the now. It helps take you away from your problems.
Parasympathetic Nervous System. In most exercise, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in giving you that fight-or-flight sensation. Yoga does the opposite and stimulates the parasympathetic system, also known as the “relaxing system”, this helps lower blood pressure and slows the pace of your breathing which helps relaxation and healing.
Anxiety and Depression. One benefit to yoga’s controlled breathing is a reduction in anxiety. Often repressed negative feelings are brought to the surface during yoga. When this happens, the negative energy is no longer stuck within you but released. Regularly releasing this negativity leads to a reduction of depression in many people. Yoga helps convert negative thinking into positive thinking.
Self-Acceptance and Self Control. Focusing inward and realizing, through yoga that perfection is not the goal, self-acceptance takes over. Controlled movements teach you how to translate self-control in your life.
Concentration and Memory. As little as 8 weeks of yoga can result in better concentration and more motivation. Improved blood circulation to the brain, stress reduction and improved focus can bring about better memory.
Calmness. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing brings calm. Yoga also introduces you to meditation, watching how you breathe and disengage from your thoughts, which calms the mind.
Yoga is also believed to improve Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, Type II diabetes, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Asthma, Arthritis, Migraines, Scoliosis, Chronic bronchitis, Epilepsy, Sciatica, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Constipation, Allergies and the side effects of Menopause.
Benefits of Meditation
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that long-term practitioners of yoga and meditation had more disease-fighting genes. The changes were induced by what they called – ”the relaxation effect”, a phenomenon just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. After two months, their bodies began to change. The genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on. The more they practiced the stronger their immunity was, and the healthier their hormone levels and blood pressure became.
The Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation
These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits …
Relaxation boosts immunity in recovering cancer patients. Ohio State University study found that progressive muscular relaxation, practiced daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumors and viruses.
A University of Western Australia study found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. A study at Trakya University, in Turkey, also found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting relaxation may also boost male fertility.
Irritable bowel syndrome
In research, when patients suffering with IBS practiced a relaxation meditation twice daily, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhoea and constipation improved significantly. Researchers at the State University of New York recommended it as an effective treatment.
A Harvard Medical School study found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones. Meanwhile a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.
Stress leads to inflammation, a state linked to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis, say researchers at Emory University in the US. Meditation can help prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the stress response.