Health benefits of Yoga
by Bradley Taylor
In recent years, yoga has become a well-known, highly publicised recreational health activity. However, if you remain baffled by the advantages of the tree, cobra and downward facing dog, here are but a few of the invaluable health benefits that you can achieve through practising yoga.
Although contorting yourself into a series of shapes and positions may not seem like the ultimate stress reliever, yoga is used as a fundamental meditation tool by many to relieve the stresses of daily life. Stress instigates a physical response in your body, increasing tension in your muscles, which in turn causes stiffness and aches. However, this physical response can be combated through yoga exercises. Yoga has become one of the primary physical therapies for relieving stress. This is because yoga techniques focus on honing your concentration and heightening your control of your body. These practises relax the tension within your muscles, slow your heart rate and calm your breathing patterns. As a result, you experience a lower blood pressure as well as an overall feeling of calm and serenity.
Lower Blood Sugar
Yoga can be instrumental in helping people who suffer from diabetes. Yoga lowers blood sugar levels as well as LDL cholesterol which is detrimental to your health. Instead it boosts HDL cholesterol which is good for your health, as well as lowering your cortisol and adrenaline levels. This provides a multitude of health benefits. Regular practitioners of yoga have reported an improved sensitivity to the effects of insulin as well as weight loss. Most significantly, lowering your blood sugar levels through yoga can reduce diabetic health risks such as heart attacks, kidney failure and blindness.
Studies have shown that consistent yoga practise improves depression by significantly increasing serotonin levels. Serotonin aids regular sleep patterns, a common issue for sufferers of depression. Additionally, yoga decreases the levels of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme which breaks down neurotransmitters as well as cortisol levels, both of which are major contributors to depression. Studies undertaken at the University of Wisconsin showed that the left prefrontal cortex showed heightened activity in mediators, a finding that has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function. More dramatic left-sided activation was found in dedicated, long term practitioners of yoga.
Bone and Joint Strength
Regular practise of yoga builds strength in your muscles, aiding significantly against conditions such as arthritis and back pain. Moreover, whilst you are developing muscular strength you also increase your flexibility, because each time you practise yoga, you are exercising the full range of motion of your joints. This provides continued sustenance to joint cartilage, improving your overall joint and muscle capabilities. Furthermore, practising weight bearing yoga exercises heightens your bone density and prevents the onset of illnesses such as osteoporosis, which result in sufferers having to receive continuous medical therapy and treatment. The full range of exercises within yoga enables vital components of your body to receive valuable nutrients, such as the shock absorbers in your spinal disks. Therefore, yoga is one of the few practices which engages and benefits all of the muscular and joint areas within your body. As a result, it provides you with an overall feeling of spiritual relaxation, as well as solidifying your overall physical health
Are you a yoga enthusiast? How has it helped you? Share your experience with us
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This article was produced by Bradley Taylor, a freelance writer from England. Bradley is a motoring enthusiast who loves writing about cars and everything automotive but he is versatile and also writes across a variety of other topics. You can stay connected with him on Google+ and Twitter.