Health benefits of yoga for your brain and body



. 4 min read



The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’, which means ‘to unite’ in reference to the self and higher self. The health benefits of regular yoga practice may include lowering blood pressure, improved posture and circulation, and a sense of wellbeing. If you are going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an essential part of your treatment and potentially quick healing.

Today there are a multitude of approaches to modern yoga, though most still maintain the three core elements : physical postures, breathing exercises, and spiritual contemplation.

This is the blend of physical and mental exercise that is widely believed to have a unique set of health advantages such as improving strength and flexibility, boosting heart and lung function and enhancing psychological well being. But what have contemporary studies shown regarding the benefits of this ancient tradition? Despite attempts by many researchers, it is tough to make specific claims about yoga's advantages.

Its unique combination of the activities makes it difficult to determine which component is producing a specific health benefit. Additionally, yoga studies are often made up of small sample sizes that lack diversity, and the heavy reliance on self reporting makes results subjective. However, there are some health benefits that have more robust scientific support than others. 

Improves Flexibility and strength

Twisting your body into yoga's physical postures stretches multiple muscle groups. In the short term, stretching can change the water content of these muscles, ligaments, and tendons to make them more elastic.

Over time, regular stretching stimulates stem cells, which then differentiate into new muscle tissue and other cells that generate elastic collagen. Frequent stretching also reduces the body's natural reflex to constrict muscles, improving your pain tolerance for feats of flexibility. Researchers have not found that any one form of yoga improves flexibility more than another, so the impact of specific postures is unclear. 

But like other low impact exercises, yoga reliably improves fitness and flexibility in healthy populations. The practice has also been shown to be a potentially powerful therapeutic tool. 

Improves musculoskeletal disorders

In studies involving patients with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders, yoga was more helpful at reducing pain and improving mobility than other forms of low impact exercise. Adding yoga to an existing exercise routine can improve strength and flexibility for hard to treat conditions like chronic lower back pain, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. 

Improves lungs diseases

Yoga's mix of physical exercise and regimented breathing has proven similarly therapeutic for lung health. Lung diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma shrink the passageways that carry oxygen while weakening the membrane that brings oxygen into the blood. 

But breathing exercises like those found in yoga relax the muscles constricting those passageways and improve oxygen diffusion. Increasing the blood's oxygen content is especially helpful for those with weak heart muscles who have difficulty pumping enough oxygen throughout the body. And for those with healthy hearts this practice can lower blood pressure and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Yoga's most widely celebrated benefit may be the most difficult to prove its psychological effects. Despite the long standing association between yoga and psychological well being there is little conclusive evidence on how the practice affects mental health. One of the biggest claims is that yoga improves symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. 

Improves mental health

When you do yoga, your brain cells develop new connections and changes occur in brain structure as well as function that result in improved cognitive skills such as learning and memory. Yoga strengthens parts of our brain that play a major role in memory, attention, awareness, thoughts and language. Yoga and meditation may improve executive functions such as reasoning, decision making, memory and thinking.

Improve brain functioning

Yoga is a mind-body exercise. Practicing yoga daily may be helpful in improving your brain functioning. Practicing yoga daily activates your brain areas and heals you in a good mood. It reduces stress and improves focus and concentration. Yoga may improve cognitive abilities such as attention span, processing speed and memory retention.

Improve sleep quality

Yoga promotes relaxation and can help improve sleep quality. Better sleep is necessary for optimal brain function, including memory consolidation and cognitive performance. Yoga has been shown to help benefit all age ranges and improve sleep. From children to the elders, yoga provides various health and sleep benefits.

Improve self awareness

When you practice yoga, you separate yourself from the world and reconnect with yourself. It helps you to understand yourself .Yoga can help us to improve our self understanding and live empowered, healthier lives. Yoga allows us to create long lasting life change by getting to know ourselves better and taking agency of our emotional, physical and mental health.

Boost immunity

Our immune system plays a big role in our health. It fights with viruses ,bacteria and protects us from diseases. So it is very important to boost our immunity which can be improved by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Yoga is more than just an exercise. It is a combination of physical exercise, diet control, breathing techniques and concentration, which strengthens the body, relaxes the mind and improves immunity.

Reduce stress

Since diagnosis of these conditions varies widely, as do their origin and severity, it's difficult to quantify yoga's impact. There is evidence to suggest that yoga can help reduce symptoms of stress as well as meditation or relaxation.

Research on the effects of yoga is still evolving. In the future we will need larger studies incorporating diverse participants, which can measure yoga's impact on heart attacks, cancer rates, cognitive function and more. But for now, yoga can continue its ancient tradition as a way to exercise reflect and relax.

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