Have you tried yoga yet?
Over the past few years, the number of people moving into downward dog or the lotus pose has increased dramatically! In fact, between 2012 and 2016, there was a 50% increase in Americans doing yoga, bringing the total to 36 million (the latest figure available).
But what’s all the fuss about? Well, there are actually a whole heap of benefits of yoga which has made it super appealing to a wide audience, bringing in attention from 21 and 91-year-olds alike.
Find out how yoga can benefit your mind and body in this guide.
Decrease Stress and Promote Calm
One of the biggest mental health benefits of yoga is its ability to decrease stress. Studies have shown that regular yoga reduces the level of cortisol – otherwise known as the stress hormone – in the body, leading to a more relaxed, calmer you.
One study, for example, looking at the benefits of yoga for women followed 24 women who described themselves as emotionally distressed. They undertook a three-month program for yoga that saw their levels of cortisol drop significantly. They also reported that they felt less stressed and tired, among other things, which is definitely a huge benefit!
If you’re struggling to keep your stress levels under control, yoga could be a great solution.
Anxiety is becoming a common problem for many people. In a fast-paced, digital-based world that’s full of stimuli, it’s no wonder that anxious feelings are on the rise! Slow things down and find a sense of inner tranquillity with yoga, keeping negative thoughts at bay.
Just two yoga classes every week could help reduce anxiety, as it did in one study looking at a control group of 34 women. If you have anxiety as a result of PTSD, you’ll also be interested to know that after just 10 weeks of yoga (practised once a week), over half of a group of 64 women no longer met the criteria needed to be diagnosed with PTSD at all! That means reduced anxiety and other symptoms.
Improve Balance and Flexibility
When it comes to the physical benefits of yoga, don’t underestimate this sport! Yoga is brilliant for improving both balance and flexibility while increasing muscle strength. This can help people of all ages, including young people who want to become better at sports that involve balance (e.g. roller skating) and older people who don’t want to become susceptible to falls.
Practising yoga for just half an hour every day would start to improve both your balance and flexibility, leaving you more able-bodied.
Prevent Inflammation in the Body
Inflammation is normal within the body as an immune response, but chronic inflammation can lead to negative health issues. In fact, too much inflammation can lead to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. So, how can yoga help?
One study looked at 218 patients, dividing them by half into one group who regularly practised yoga and one who didn’t. Both groups then carried out exercises to induce stress within the body. When the study was finished, the people who practiced yoga had lower levels of inflammation in the body than those who didn’t!
Inflammation is a common problem for a lot of people. If you can reduce inflammation within your body through yoga and cut down your chance of disease, why wouldn’t you?
Lower Your Blood Pressure
One of the main benefits of yoga for men and women is lowering blood pressure. Almost half of all American adults have blood pressure that’s too high or too low, and any exercise that can help get that under control is great! Practising yoga consistently can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of related problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.
There’s also some evidence that yoga can help prevent the progression of heart disease. It’s likely that this is linked to yoga reducing stress, which is a major contributor to heart disease.
Help Ease Depression
One of the more unexpected benefits of daily yoga is its effect on depression. This could be because of the reduction of cortisol we mentioned earlier. Cortisol can affect your body’s levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood fluctuations and depression.
When people experience an imbalance in serotonin, they often experience symptoms of depression, like a lack of motivation, fatigue, and extreme sadness. If yoga can help to regulate serotonin levels in the body through cortisol, it could help ease these symptoms.
Yoga also puts a focus on mindfulness, which helps people focus on the current moment rather than the future or past. It’s a practice that has been linked to treating depression and could help sufferers to find more joy in the everyday.
Reduce Chronic Pain
Many people suffer from chronic pain and it can cause quality of life to rapidly decrease. However, there are ways the pain can be relieved, and yoga seems to be one of them.
In a study of over 40 people with carpal tunnel syndrome, half received a wrist splint and half did a yoga program for 8 weeks. By the end of the study, it was discovered that the people doing yoga had a bigger reduction in pain than those wearing the splint.
Yoga may also help with osteoarthritis and other joint problems. It’s a light, minimum-impact form of exercise that slowly builds strength and flexibility over time, bringing a number of benefits without a high risk of injury.
Get the Benefits of Yoga Today
The benefits of yoga are vast and varied, helping people of all ages improve their mental and physical health. If you’d like to try a yoga class, take a look at what we offer at Dynamic Fitness! With hands-on assistance and classes for every level, we can help you uncover the world of yoga and improve your mind and body.