Yoga is one of the most enduring additions to the fitness regimen of those who want to remain toned and firm. After all, it has been around for five thousand years! The ancient art of yoga does more than just burning calories and toning muscles. It strengthens the connection between the mind and the body, allowing deep breathing and relaxing combined with medication. There are currently 100s of different yoga forms. While some are quick and challenging, others are gradual and gentle. The various yoga forms are mainly divided into the following classes:
Hatha Yoga: This is the most commonly known and followed yoga. It involves carrying out a series of basic movements with respiration.
Power Yoga: This is a fast-paced workout that demands agility from those working out. It is a faster, higher-intensity practice for building muscles.
Vinyasa Yoga: In this form, the series of yoga postures or asanas flow into one another smoothly and seamlessly.
Bikram Yoga: This is also called hot yoga, and it is performed in an oven-hot room comprising 26 poses. The challenge lies in working the postures in the scorching temperatures.
Ashtanga Yoga: This involves a specific breathing technique along with the yoga poses.
Iyengar Yoga: This is the type of yoga where blocks, straps, and chairs are used to maintain proper alignment for the body.
Table of Contents
This level varies depending on the genre of yoga. While hot and power yoga are incredibly challenging, the hath or Iyengar yogas are more gradual. These yoga positions target the core muscles. From the side plank to the boat pose, there are asanas for exercising every part of the human body. With yoga, not just arm strength, but the weight of your own body is used to challenge you to reach higher levels of fitness. Some, like the crane pose, even require complete support for the full body weight.
Yoga works different parts of the body, including thighs, hips, and quadriceps. Yoga squats, warrior poses, bridges, and other such detailed positions give your body stability and strengthen your glutes. Others such as the downward-facing dog and the cat or cow pose or even the balasana offer a unique stretch for the back muscles.
Yoga postures strengthen the muscles and increase range of motion, besides also boosting flexibility. Yoga is not considered a cardio exercise which is surprising, considering that variants like power yoga are good for heart health. Research has found that yoga is as beneficial as aerobics for boosting human health. Yoga also provides a complete body workout, and it is a low impact exercise. A typical workout routine that works to restore the health of the mind and the body should incorporate yoga.
Benefits of Adding Yoga To Fitness Routine
Overall, the fitness program needs to be well rounded to improve fitness level and maintain the desired body composition. Strengthening the body muscles, yoga has benefits for the mind as well. Here are the many advantages of including yoga in your workout plan.
#1 Improve Mind Control. Strengthen Bodily Muscles
Excellent body control offered by yoga boosts mind power. It gives you the ability to heed the signs of your body and build awareness. Most of the yoga focuses on mind-body links. If you practice yoga, regularly and include it in your workout, you will find mental health benefits spilling over to the physical side as well. Balance, coordination, and agility will improve vastly.
#2 Cope With Stress
Many different yoga types are there. Most involve deep breathing and putting your body in a calm, relaxed, and meditative state. This eases the tension in the muscles too. Stress occurs when you can no longer cope, and yoga practice is the perfect stress buster.
#3 Boost Your Breathing
A regular workout improves lung capacity and helps the practitioner to be able to focus on a controlled and slow breathing rate. Efficient breathing helps to get the most out of your cardio or resistance training sessions as well.
#4 Stay Supple
Apart from breathing and relaxation, there are other essential steps to take, as well. Yoga postures boost suppleness and flexibility, increasing the efficiency of different workout programs in your regimen. This also lowers the risk of injuries. Increased power helps because the elasticity of the muscles increases and makes a recovery faster.
#5 Quick Recovery and Muscle Repair
Yoga helps to knit together a challenging workout because it facilitates recovery and repair of muscle fibers ,soothing the muscles to relax and get improved circulation. This also boosts rebuilding and strengthening of the core muscle groups enabling weight trainers to get back to heavy lifts more quickly.
#6 Physical Benefits
Increased flexibility, joint, tendon and ligament lubrication and massage of the inner body organs serve to detox the body. This also tones the muscles and strengthens problem joints such as core strength and spinal flexibility. Yoga also ensures organs and tissues of the body work in a level way, and toxins are flushed out of the system.
Mental Health Benefits of Yoga
There is a lot of research evidence to back up the mental health benefits of yoga. For increasing body awareness, relieving stress, reducing muscle strain and tension, and lessening inflammation, besides sharpening attention and concentration, yoga is beneficial. This form of exercise also has therapeutic benefits that calm and center the nervous system. According to the American Psychological Association/APA, yoga impacts mental health positively, making it an critical psychotherapeutic tool. It enhances social well-being by creating a sense of community and alleviating symptoms of ADHD, depression, and sleep issues. Yoga can even improve schizophrenic or psychotic symptoms and complement psychiatric medicines. Yoga increases the levels of GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter of the brain regulating nerve activity. This is excellent for people with anxiety disorders where GABA activity lessens.
Yoga enhances mood, and it moderates behavior. It even teaches mindfulness in high school students and senior citizens alike. Yoga improves resilience and workplace well-being. The benefits of this exercise extend to adult caregivers, too, and not only patients. Yoga improves the quality of life, fights stress and depression, and ensures high levels of biological markers for inflammation are moderated. Studies have found even a 12-minute program lasting 4-8 weeks can reduce inflammation markers in caregivers of those with dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Strengthening the connection between the mind and the body, yoga, prayer, and meditation form the core of deep breathing and cure stress-linked imbalances of the nervous system.
How Does Yoga Work?
According to researchers, yoga accompanies the mind and body relaxation responses that boost physiological, psychological, and emotional health. Deep physiological rest states of such practices can induce positive changes in the body. These benefits include higher gene expression for better immunity, energy metabolism, and insulin secretion. Genes and physiological pathways are, therefore, altered following yoga practice.
Yoga leads to a deep state of physiological relaxation, inducing a sense of calmness and relaxation that impacts the body’s neurobiology. A relaxation response such as this one affects the cellular biology of the body. It also lowers biochemical strain and stresses. Altering body processes can transform your biochemical states. The deep breathing that characterizes mind-body practices like yoga can easily accomplish this.
The Physiology of Yoga
How does holding a particular pose relax the body and strengthen the mind? Fundamentally, yoga practice changes the way neurons or nerve cells in the body fire. In activating a relaxation response, it alters the chemical constituents of the body, improving the fluid make-up and blood gases for a beneficial effect. Holding specific body postures aligns the body. As you breathe deeper, the body transitions from biochemical tension and arousal to serenity and relaxation. The body turns off arousing neurons, and hormones like adrenaline. Through yoga, the body also stops depositing fatty acids and sugar into the bloodstream for energizing different parts of the body, such as muscles, brain, and kinetic movements.
Additionally, sodium also exits the body cells. This slows down the rate at which nerves fire. It relaxes the heart, calms the brain, and eases the muscular strain. Yoga leads to biochemical relaxation, which oxygenates the blood in the body. It restores the pH balance of the blood, and reduces blood pressure, and heightened heart rate.
Yogic postures specifically tone body systems. They strengthen and elongate muscles. Yoga also tones up glands, spinal nerves, and inner organs. Increased blood flow helps the digestive system to extract nutrients from food and assists the lymphatic system in eliminating bodily toxins. Yoga practices improve the quality of life, as we learn about the difference between calm and tense physical processes. Via deep breathing and yogic postures, we can attain many benefits.
Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word for union. As your mind and body connect, yoga helps in creating awareness about dualities. Yoga also helps to balance the emotions and combat stresses and strains.
How can this awareness help you? When dualities are accepted, the contradictions of human existence become more comfortable to accept. At a deeper level, individuals begin living in an integrated way. Primarily, one acquires a strong relational and stronger inner self. Such choices can help in nurturing and supporting the whole being. Yoga practice instills strength in mind and impacts the growth of the entire person.
Yoga also equips individuals to take responsibility for themselves and open up to experiences. It is incredibly beneficial on the journey towards personal growth.
How Yoga Impacts Psychology?
While everyone is familiar to some extent with yoga poses, remember that the practice involves more than just stretching or holding poses. It is a comprehensive practice and it encompasses several life principles: moral code (Yama), self-discipline (niyama), poses or postures (asanas), mindful breathing (pranayama), sense of detachment (pratyahara), concentration (Dharana), positive mindfulness or meditation (dhyana), sense of happiness and exultation (samadhi) and restful states or savasana.
Only savasana and asana or yogic postures of relaxation and activity are linked to physical states. The other aspects of yoga encompass emotional, spiritual, and mental experiences. Yoga is focused on the inner experience of the practitioner, more than the outer experience. Good and steady yoga practice is about introspecting, reflecting, and considering the self. It is a way to connect with feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and core value, opening the channel to a more authentic and deeper self. Thus, yoga is closely linked to our psychology. It is recommended by positive psychologists.
The association between positive psychology and yoga is well established. Yoga started with a different focus, but now it works towards enhancing wellbeing. Yoga forms the core of physical exercises and psychological interventions.
Yoga further offers an excellent opportunity to enter the flow, engage with relaxed states, and calm the mind. Focusing on the present, the yogic practitioner pays no attention to the passage of time. Following a yoga, routine helps in building awareness, creating mindfulness, and enhancing concentration.
A lot of work has been conducted on how yoga impacts mental health. Yoga influences mental health more than regular exercise due to changes in brain chemistry. Practicing yoga facilitates the release of GABA from the thalamus. It serves as a tension inhibitor of the brain, suppressing the neural activity in mind. Yoga replicates anti-anxiety drugs and substances that can calm the body. Yoga resets the brain and relaxes the baseline mood states.
Consequently, yoga is perfect for complementary or alternative treatment for conditions that need medicine or therapy. It is easy to engage in, besides being a natural cure that is easy to practice. It is one of the few interventions that can connect the body and the mind in an integrated way.
In therapy, yoga can be used to boost mind-body connections and linkages. Perhaps the most essential equipment for yoga is the mind and, of course, the body. Practicing yogic postures increases the link between body and mind, and encourages one to use both seamlessly together. Yoga inculcates precision and mindfulness in movement and thought. Yoga is in full effect when the mind and body are fully engaged. Combining physical and mental states offers a unique opportunity to exert a powerful influence on mental health.
What is the potential effect of such a yoga treatment? Some therapists and doctors have even prescribed it as a complementary treatment along with talk therapy. Support for yoga as a supplemental treatment comes from the groundbreaking study which found patients taking anti-depressant medicines in remission experienced fewer attacks of depression, neurosis, and anxiety due to yoga poses. Some subjects in the study even reported a better mood overall. There are many benefits of yoga, moving past alleviating and buffering against mental disorders, building confidence and inducing posture awareness. Besides this, yoga also boosts energy levels and relieve stress. Peer-reviewed studies also indicate yoga is beneficial. It lowers anxiety, reduces fatigue, alleviates depression, and boosts self-confidence and self-esteem. Yoga is helpful for those facing disorders like PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Yoga can impact the body, just like counseling for those undergoing PTSD. Yoga changes the brain and also lowers the physical symptoms of such diseases. Yoga counters perspiration, increased heart rate, vivid traumatic memories, or flashbacks. Yoga also alleviates stress, fear, anxiety, and depression.
Yoga may seem a mild form of exercise. But, it benefits health in the way exercise cannot. It has less impact on the joints and induces relaxation.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Along with the same impact on general health, besides other types of exercise, yoga has new benefits. It increases a sense of balance. Yoga lowers fatigue, improves baroreflex sensitivity, enhances flexibility, maintains healthy heart rate, and improves kidney functions. It also lessens or buffers menopausal symptoms, besides relieving pain. It alleviates psychotic symptoms and improves quality of life.
It also reduces sleep disturbances, improving occupational and social functioning, lowering obesity, increasing strength, and reducing stress and cholesterol. Yoga also beats symptoms of depression and insomnia, thereby boosting energy levels, vitality, and healthy weight maintenance.
One study found those who engaged in 45-minute yoga before sleeping for eight weeks were able to beat insomnia and sleep disorders. Another study found those who practiced yoga regularly reported enhanced moods, higher energy levels, more happiness, more satisfaction, and better relationships with others.
An overview of the general advantages of yoga found those engaging in this practice improve self-esteem and self-efficacy, besides enhancing weight loss, strength, flexibility, and balance. Yoga also boosts cardiovascular endurance, reduces hypertension, enhances pulmonary function, and boosts stamina.
Yoga: Benefits for Men
Apart from the mental and physical value of yoga for anyone seeking its benefits, yoga also helps men to improve their endurance and athletic performance. It improves flexibility, enhances concentration, activates circulatory and respiratory systems and leads to faster movement.
Besides this, yoga for men prevents injury. It accelerates recovery by healing swollen muscles, joints, tissues, and other parts of the connective tissue, increasing body awareness and leading to less damage and more caution. It also impacts confidence and sexual performance. Yoga for men optimizes the muscle tone, by oxygenating the blood and increasing delivery of oxygen to muscles. It lowers stress through movement. Yoga sharpens the mind, enhancing cognitive faculties and mental agility.
Benefits of Yoga for Women
The benefits of women practicing yoga are many, too. For one, yoga can help you to deal with hormonal changes during the cycle and the menopause. It soothes anxiety and worry caused due to health crises or serious diagnoses. Besides reducing ailment intensity, it also impacts mental health positively. Yoga improves posture and appearance. It helps you to stand taller, feel more confident, and manage weight effectively.
Additionally, yoga helps women to overcome trauma. One study found women suffering from PTSD who underwent yoga interventions of 75-minutes long had fewer symptoms, as compared to women in therapy. Hatha yoga was even more effective than psychotherapy for these trauma patients.
Yoga for Kids: Know the Benefits
Yoga benefits children and young people by inducing relaxation, inculcating better concentration, improving self-esteem, and growing awareness. Children deal with many stressors and triggers. Without the experience to handle challenges and social awareness to combat stress, kids, can face a lot of issues. The rise of social media has made it challenging to sit and think quietly. Children deal with pressure and competition every day. From school performances to the sports field, stress is a constant deterrent. That is why yoga can fill the gap in the emotional, social, and physical wellbeing of children. Research shows yoga for kids enhances physical or mental resilience, boosts moods, and self-regulation in children. The research found children who regularly practiced yoga reported fewer bouts of anger, fatigue, or inertia. Practicing yoga positively impacts child or student’s life in many ways.
Yoga can improve well-being, academic performance, emotional balance, and mental health. It also reduces physical anxiety and boosts the average heart rate.
Benefits of Yoga for Senior Citizens
Yoga is not just a fountain of youth for the young, but senior citizens as well. Yoga is useful for boosting the mental and physical health of elderly individuals. While some poses may be challenging, yoga can be a refreshing experience for older people. A Taiwanese study found those with mild or moderate dementia benefited from gentle yoga programs that lasted 55 minutes thrice a week for twelve weeks. Dementia patients showed lowered blood pressure, reduced breathing, enhanced cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, improved body flexibility, and exceptional muscle strength and endurance.
It improves balance, increases lubrication of the joints, wards off stiffness, and mobility issues like osteoarthritis in older years. It also lowers depressive states and reduces problem behaviors. For senior people looking to ward off physical and mental decline, yoga is a perfect choice.
Benefits of Regular Yoga
When you do yoga, you invest time and energy in yourself. This is an excellent decision. When it comes to yoga, teachers, doctors, and other professionals can also benefit from this discipline.
Yoga can make individuals feel better, increasing productivity and boosting metabolic rates. It also makes you flexible, energetic, mindful, and relaxed. From good sleep to excellent mobility, yoga has a lot of benefits for everyone. It is excellent for joint and skin health. Yoga strengthens and lubricates the spine, improving posture, combating inflammation, and boosting strength.
Yoga and Nidra Meditation
Yoga Nidra or sleeping meditation is one dominant form of yogic practice for those facing illness or injuries. This form of yoga strengthens your core and does not put your body through stress. Nidra meditation involves lying on the floor and resting. It is a guided therapy that ranges from 5-60 minutes. All that is required is to follow the voice that guides you. It provides a relaxing and peaceful meditation activity. It also improves breath awareness and reduces stress. It offers a chance for practitioners to learn about their inner selves.
In 2006, the United States Department of Defense found yoga Nidra helped soldiers who had been recruited in the Middle East and had developed PTSD. Those who participated in yoga Nidra reported less likelihood of depression, fear, anxiety, and insomnia. They experienced enhanced interpersonal relationships and an increased sense of control.
Science-Backed Benefits of Yoga
Yoga incorporates breathing exercises, poses, and meditation to reduce stress and encourage relaxation. Practice yoga for better mental and physical health. Here’s the evidence that proves yoga can be a powerful way to regain or maintain good health:
Yoga is a stress-buster. Multiple studies have shown its capacity to ease stress, through decreased secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.
Further, another study found the powerful effect of yoga therapy on emotionally distressed women. After just a 3-month yoga program, stressed women had lower levels of cortisol in their system, and less anxiety, depression, or fatigue. Another study found a 10-week long yoga program countered anxiety and stress, improving mental health and quality of life. Yoga also improved mental health outcomes and quality of life. Thus, yoga can be a powerful means of reducing stress, when used alone or with other therapies.
Many individuals also report less anxiety, following yoga practice. Research has also proved this to be true. One study saw 34 females diagnosed with anxiety disorders benefit from yoga classes twice a week for two months. Those practicing yoga reported better coping skills than women in the control group. A 10-week study of women facing PTSD also found yoga once a week helped them to cope, to the extent that 52 percent of participants even overcame the disorder!
Yoga has reduced anxiety symptoms by helping individuals to feel calm and peaceful.
Potent Anti-Inflammatory Agent
One more benefit of yoga that science has found support for is the use of postures to counter swelling or inflammation. Inflammation refers to normal immune response. But chronic swelling can lead to long-term diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart attack. Further, a 2015 study found inflammatory markers diminished in those who engaged in regular yoga practice. Another small research in 2014 demonstrated breast cancer patients coped better with fatigue following 12 weeks of daily yoga and experienced lower inflammation as a result of yogic practice. While more research is required to confirm the impact of yoga, it’s clear that regular exercise can ward off diseases caused due to chronic swelling.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
Besides pumping blood to the body parts, the heart is an essential organ for overall health as well. Research proves yoga improves heart health. It also wards off cardiovascular diseases. A study found yoga practitioners over 40 years of age had lower blood pressure or pulse rate after five years, as against those who did not do yoga.
High blood pressure is a chief cause of heart attack and stroke. Lowering blood pressure can ward off cardiovascular ailments. Including yoga in your regimen can slow down heart disease progression as well. One study found heart patients who undertook one year of yoga, along with stress management and nutrition programs, saw a marked decrease in bad cholesterol and total cholesterol. Further, the heart disease progression stopped in 47% of the patients. Yoga can minimize the stress that triggers heart disease.
Improve Quality of Life
Yoga has become common for improving quality of life. It has therapeutic benefits. One study of 135 older people found those who practiced six months of yoga had better quality of life, lower mood, and fatigue problems, as against the control group. Various studies have even found yoga can ward off cancer symptoms. One such research found yoga in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy reduced nausea and vomiting, while improving the overall quality of life.
The study found after eight weeks of yoga, women breast cancer patients experienced more acceptance and relaxation. Other researchers have also found yoga may help improve the quality of sleep, enhances spiritual wellness, reduces depression and anxiety, and promotes social functioning in cancer patients.
Quite a few studies show yoga exerts an anti-depressant effect, reducing symptoms of depression. A reason why yoga helps patients suffering from depressive disorders is that it can decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that impacts neurotransmitter serotonin, linked to depression. One research study found those with alcohol dependency benefitted from regular Sudarshan Kriya yoga. Within just two weeks, patients reported lower cortisol levels and fewer depression symptoms, besides reduced ACTH levels. Many other studies have shown a link between yoga and reduced depression. Thus, yoga, whether alone or in combination with traditional treatment, can fight depression.
Ward off Pain
Chronic pain is a common health issue, for those facing everything from injuries to arthritis. Yoga is said to combat pain. One study of 42 people with carpal tunnel syndrome found those who performed yoga for 8-weeks did better than those receiving a wrist splint. Yoga reduced pain and improved grip strength. Another study in 2005 demonstrated yoga decreases pain and improves physical functioning in those facing knee osteoarthritis.
Promote Good Sleep
Inferior sleep quality is linked to depression, high blood pressure, and obesity, among other conditions. Research shows, including yoga in the program for treatment, can help insomniacs or those facing sleep disorders.
In a study in 2005, 69 senior citizens either practiced yoga and took herbal remedies or remained assigned to the control group. The yoga administered group slept faster, longer, and more soundly than the control group. Another study studied the effects of yoga on patient’s quality of sleep, when they had lymphoma. Researchers found fewer sleep disturbances, enhanced sleep quality, and longer duration of rest, besides fewer instances of sleep medicines for the yoga group. Yoga has been known to increase melatonin secretion, regulating wakefulness, and sleep cycles. Yoga also impacts sleep-related issues like depression, stress, chronic pain, and anxiety. Yoga enhances sleep quality because it affects melatonin, and several factors triggering sleep problems.
Improve Balance and Flexibility
A lot of people add yoga to the fitness routine to improve balance and flexibility. Research shows specific poses can target balance and flexibility. A study examined the impact of a 10-week yoga routine on 26 male, college-level athletes. Performing yoga significantly raised performance on measures of balance and flexibility. Another study found 66 senior citizens demonstrate more flexibility by 4x times after doing yoga, as against calisthenics, within one year. Further, a 2013 study also found mobility and balance in older adults was better, post the yoga. Practicing the yoga within 15-30 minutes of yoga makes a big difference for those enhancing performance by raising balance and flexibility.
Enhance Lung Capacity
Yogic breathing or pranayama is a yoga practice that focuses on breath control through breathing techniques and exercises. Most yogic poses include breathing routines. Such activities could help in improving breathing. In another study, 287 collegians took a 15-week yoga class and reported a considerable increase in vital capacity towards the close of breathing exercises. Necessary capacity refers to the maximum lung air expelled. It is critical for those with asthma, heart problems, and lung diseases.
Another 2009 study found practicing yogic breathing improved lung functioning and symptoms in mild to moderate cases of asthma. Improving breathing builds endurance, optimizes performance, and maintains lung and heart health.
Relief from Migraines
Migraines are a recurring and severe headache that impacts one in 7 Americans annually. Migraines are treated through medication to relieve and manage symptoms. Considerable evidence shows yoga is an adjunct therapy that can lower migraine frequency. A 2007 research found migraine patients who opted for a 3-month yoga therapy as against a self-care group led to decreased intensity, pain, and frequency linked to migraine. In another study, 60 migraine patients used conventional care coupled with or in the absence of yoga. Doing the yogic asanas led to decreased frequency and headache intensity. Researchers have found yoga can stimulate the vagus nerve shown to relieve migraines.
Promotes Healthy Eating
Promoting healthy, mindful, intuitive eating is also an outcome of regular yoga practice. It is also about paying attention to smell, taste, and texture of food. No sensations, thoughts, or feeling should come in the way of the food. Such a method of eating promotes healthy habits that control blood glucose levels, increasing weight loss, and treating disorderly eating behaviors. A study incorporated yoga into an outpatient eating disorder treatment initiative. It found yoga reduced the symptoms of eating disorders in 54 patients and also decreased food preoccupation thoughts. In other studies, yoga decreased binge-eating episodes, increased physical activity, and decreased weight. Mindful eating is more natural to attain by practicing yoga.
Besides improving flexibility, yoga serves as an excellent exercise routine for building physical strength. Certain specific poses build muscle and increase strength. One study of 79 adults saw 24 cycles of sun salutation poses six times a week for 24 weeks. They saw an increase in endurance, upper body strength, and loss of weight. Women in the study reported a decreased body fat percentage. Another study in 2015 found the same findings, showing 12 weeks of yoga practice improved strength, endurance, and flexibility in 173 participants. This is an effective way to boost endurance and strength in combination with regular exercise routines. Thousands of studies have been conducted on yoga. Many of these point to important health benefits.
Lifts the Mood
Yoga has the same effect as exercise, when it comes to uplifting the mood. During yoga, the body releases hormones improving mood and lowering stress. Besides doing poses, yoga involves breathing and meditation. This improves mindfulness and focus. A study found its effects were as beneficial as walking. Individually, the yoga improved mood lowered anxiety, and brought GABA levels down. GABA/Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is a neurotransmitter that calms down the brain and regulates anxiety. After twelve weeks of elapsed, the yoga group showed improvements in anxiety and mood. For evaluating GABA levels, scans from magnetic resonance spectroscopy were used. Scans showed increased thalamic GABA levels for the yoga group. The study associated higher GABA levels with better moods and lower anxiety.
Another study likened the yogic practice to swimming. Yoga was found to decrease fatigue, anxiety, and tension in people. This led to the conclusion that mood enhancement is one of the benefits of yoga.
Yoga Fends off Depression
Depression impacts over 15 million US adults each year. This condition burdens those with mental and behavioral disorders, according to WHO. It takes the most out of life. Depression is linked to disease and illness. Depressive symptoms can be staved off through yoga. This also reduces feelings of depression. GABA levels are lowered, because of which depression is eliminated. A UCLA study found a 5-week Iyengar yoga session decreased depression levels in mildly depressed adults. Classes focused on yogic poses to overcome depression. This includes standing poses, inversions, and backbends. Less depressive symptoms and anxiety were coupled with more positive moods and lower levels of negative feelings.
Inculcate a Positive Outlook
Having a positive mood and outlook can make you happier. It also makes you healthier. According to Harvard researchers, being positive is fit for every individual. It limits the chances of sickness and protects against diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. A positive outlook boosts emotional vitality and encourages enthusiasm and hopefulness. This helps in coping with life stressors, promoting emotional balance. A positive outlook makes a difference in personal and professional life. It also raises the positive system of support. Yoga encourages optimism, social support, self-regulation, and emotional vitality. Scientists found 312 subjects during a week-long, free yoga camp had positive effects. Asana postures, pranayama breathing, and relaxation, improve positive emotions. They also reduce the negative moods to help individuals to feel stronger.
Anger is a negative emotion. It is also destructive. Hostility and violence can be lowered by following the ancient practice of yoga. Studies have found those practicing yoga reduce anger and resentment. This also lowers tension. Yoga can help in staying calm in hostile or stress-filled situations, through relaxation and meditation. Yoga also boosts self-control, keeping your feelings in check. Yoga helps to reduce violence and improves a sense of balance. Yoga also reduces verbal aggression, according to research which shows 8-week integrative yoga cuts down on verbal hostilities.
Yoga Induces Calm Feelings
Yoga calms and relaxes you. It accomplishes this through poses, breathing, and meditation. At the time of yoga, the concentration is on the here and now. This shifts the mind away from fears, anxieties, and stresses. The shift also lowers heart rate and breathing, besides improving circulation and reducing the BP. A study found yogic breathing shifts the focus from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Further, a Boston University research study also found yoga raises the GABA levels of the brain. This improves the mood and calms the mind. They tested this by administering a one-hour yoga session, that served to increase GABA levels by 27%.
Affects the Brain in a Positive Way
Yoga improves the mood and ups GABA levels. It also impacts the brain positively. It affects the area of the brain associated with a positive outlook. Yoga lowers cortisol levels and increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a happiness hormone which regulates the mood and prevents depressed mood states. Such effects are temporary if one session is carried out. For long-term practitioners, there’s proof of brain scans. Brain scans show yoga has impacted the brain structure, boosting resilience to stress. Research also shows those who performed yogic meditation were happier and more satisfied. Another extensive survey also found 86% of those who did yoga improved their happiness levels. It helps individuals to stay healthy and sleep better. It also helps in weight maintenance and improves social relationships.
Yoga Grants Inner Peace
Yoga induces inner peace and calmness. It unifies the mind, body, and spirit. It reduces emotional and psychological anxiety and stressors. This includes fear, anger, frustration, and regret. Research has unearthed that yoga therapy covers numerous conditions. It impacts many aspects of life, improving the quality of living and well-being. Yoga helps us physically and mentally in achieving inner peace.
Improves Emotional Resilience
Researchers studied specially trained Navy Seals from West Point Military Academy on how they handle challenges. It provides the ability to see how people can cope with tough times. In many ways, developing a level of resilience is possible through yoga. Yoga inherently fosters tolerance, stress, and emotional well-being. A UK study by Dru Education center discovered that yoga participants improved mood profiles and positive psychological attitudes. Yoga allowed better coping with work stress. Anyone can use yoga to build resilience to stress. It helps in dealing with relationship stress effectively. This includes dealing with family life or the boss.
Promotes a Sense of Well-Being
Researchers have found the benefits of yoga are holistic. It does not impact just one aspect of life, but many. It brings people together, and gains one sees range from being able to treat health conditions and relieving pain. It aided emotional, mental, and physical conditions. Practicing yoga improved well-being and quality of living. Another study offered evidence on the well-being of yoga. Doing yoga helps in inducing a feeling of vitality and well-being, as one gets older. This is lost as bodies slow down. The number of hours spent on yoga correlates with psychological wellness. The study found that people aged 45 or above had mental well-being linked to total lifetime of yoga practice.
Improves Self Confidence
Self-confidence is the ability to engage with others or yourself. Self-confidence is based on what one can do. The better one is, the more faith grows. Derive a sense of value and acceptance that boosts self-satisfaction. Yoga benefits body image and health, thereby improving self-confidence. Researchers have noted experienced, and beginner male yoga practitioners were found to have higher levels of satisfaction with their body image, as against those who did strength training. By improving overall well-being, yoga boosts self-confidence.
Increases Gray Matter
Gray matter is that part of the brain that controls sensory perception. This includes hearing, speech, and sight senses. Gray matter is involved in memory, decision making, self, and muscle control. It plays a vital role in regards, movement, and cognitive function. Science also shows yoga increases gray matter in the brain. Researchers from Duke University studied how long-standing yoga practitioners had higher gray matter volumes in certain parts of the brain. The gray matter volume has been directly linked to how long yoga was practiced. An NIH study found similar findings. Through MRI scans, researchers found yoga practitioners did not undergo the same decline in gray matter as compared to others, while aging. Yoga correlated with gray matter volume in the left hemisphere of the brain. It induces a positive mental state. It also produces the parasympathetic mode for calming and relaxing us.
Concentration is critical for success, in office, school, or any other setting. Most see yoga to be an exercise. But it is so much more. Yoga improves concentration ability, which benefits all. A study of 69 men between 18 and 48 years of age adds value to this contention. Participants in this study carried out supine rest, cyclic meditation, and two different types of yoga techniques. This led to an improvement in their scores on concentration tests. Each respondent who carried out letter cancellation tests evaluating the concentration and visual-spatial scanning abilities performed well, following a yoga session, as compared to before this. Cyclic meditation was associated with the most significant score increase, as against supine rest.
Increases the Attention Span
Yoga improves the ability to concentrate. It also enhances the attention span. Concentrating is very important. If one has a short attention span, one may not be able to learn in complete detail. A sustained attention span lets one stay focused, without the mind wandering away. Studies found those who did integrative yoga performed better in digital vigilance tests measuring visual tracking ability, alertness, and accurate selection. Once yoga was performed, subjects completed the test faster and had 39 percent fewer errors.
Improve Your Focus
Along with better concentration and attention, practicing yoga helps in focusing better.
Along with improved concentration and attention, yoga practice also helps in focusing better. One of the most important things yoga teaches us to concentrate on present times. Not worrying about the past or wondering about the future is the key to effective yoga practice. Yoga helps you to focus on the right moments. A study found that 77 firefighters without prior yoga practice, when participating in a six-week experiment, spent six weeks doing relaxation, breathing and postures felt less worried and more focused as a result of yoga practice.
Yoga works for kids, too, as it helps them to perform better in school and display better self-regulation.
Boosts the Memory
Remembering things is an integral part of being mentally alert. Knowledge, after all, needs to be retained for others to use it. This reason is why memory influences learning. Being able to determine what is read and seen requires a great memory. Yoga improves the ability of the brain to remember things by increasing gray matter and inducing calmness. A review of studies found that yoga improves memory, and processing of information, enhancing attention and executive function.
It Improves Intelligence
If you want to have a sharper mind, do yoga. Yoga enhances attention span, concentration, and memory. It helps to make you smarter. Yoga helps the brain process and complete mental challenges more quickly. It improves processing accuracy, and prevents the mind from losing its sharpness, as we age. One study involving girls between 10 and 13 years of age found from the 20 subjects who did 15 minutes of yoga every day, yoga practitioners could plan and carry out moves in less time in the Tower of London test. These results were better for the yoga group, as compared to those who performed physical exercise. The trial assessed planning and execution capabilities. Yoga helps to improve mental performance. It does so for simple or complex tasks alike. Yoga, according to one study, impacts cognitive function and mental performance. The study used brain coherence recordings to study yoga’s impact on the brain. The study found delta waves in the mind rose by 43%. Alpha waves rose by 58%. Another observation was that beta waves fell by 18% and theta or gamma brain waves shot up by 10%. The raised alpha waves induce calmness and relaxation. Such waves also boost memory, concentration, creativity, mental coordination, helping with learning and body-mind integration. Delta waves are linked to empathy and external awareness. They heal and rejuvenate the body. This process helps to revitalize the brain. Delta waves are observed during sleep and signal deeper relaxation. More profound mental activity is the result of beta waves. This helps to save energy and induce the recovery of the brain, when there is low beta wave activity in the brain. That is why yoga helps to regulate beta waves and enhances the capability of coping up with hectic lifestyles
Yoga Boosts Athletic Performance
For athletes, yoga is the perfect catalyst to boost performance. Yoga has made its way to professional sports. Yoga can improve sports performance by improving strength, performance, mental toughness, muscle function, enhancing the recovery time, and body’s muscle repair. NFL football players and NBA basketball players are switching to yoga to improve their performance. A study on speed skaters found better sports performance on postural tests, following yoga practice.
Yoga Speeds Reaction Time
Part of mental sharpness is good reaction time. Noticing changes and stimuli following which processing them is crucial. The speed with which the brain and the eyes perform the processing also impacts performance. This holds in physical as well as mental tasks. A study on students found better auditory and visual reaction times and improves breathing capacity and grip strength following yoga. In another study on healthy people aged 18-25, researchers found the same results. Visual, auditory, and cutaneous reaction times measured post-yoga showed improvements for both sides of the human body. In response to stimuli, test subjects pressed a button as fast as they could. The incentives were run through auditory sound headphones, visible light bulb, and a cutaneous touch of the skin. Reaction times were faster for those who practiced yoga.
Yoga Improves Dexterity and Agility
Apart from strength, flexibility, and endurance, agility is another vital performance aspect. Coordination and ability let the body move faster. It allows the efficiency of movement. Yoga helps in skill and coordination. A study found those who performed a one-month yoga training had better ability in smaller tasks. Researchers studied four groups, namely one group that received yoga training, another that did it as part of the job, and two other groups without training. The test evaluated speed, dexterity, and precision. Researchers showed those performing yoga voluntarily improved their scores. Therefore, while yoga improves skill and agility, there needs to be proper motivation for practicing the art. Yoga also enhances coordination in athletic sports. One study shows six weeks of yogic asanas or poses improve agility and strength. The study demonstrated that subjects cut shuttle rate times by approximately one second without extra running or training. Yoga also increased the number of sit-ups they could do in a single day
While yoga initially only seems to involve poses or breathing and meditating, this serves to increase stamina and endurance. A study found that 12 weeks of yoga practice increased VO2 max considerably. VO2 max is a measure of oxygen usage and consumption. It is used for endurance by rowers and cyclists. The study measured aerobic and cardiovascular endurance. The yoga group had significant improvements in endurance, flexibility, and muscular strength.
Better Hand-Eye Coordination
As against other forms of exercise, yoga involves body and mind. This improves motor skill, hand-eye coordination, and enhances agility. Researchers found one month of yoga boosted hand-eye coordination, improving speed accuracy. The study tested this through mirror tracing tasks, where participants traced circle and star shapes. Those who performed yoga regularly grew the responsibility for both hands. Another study showed yoga enhanced motor skills considerably.
Improvement in Flexibility
Those who have attended the yoga class are aware that it assists with flexibility. Gentle bending and yogic stretching loosen tight joints and muscles. This ranges across the hips, back, hamstrings, and thighs. These changes and lengthening help those stationed at work desks. It also improves athletic performance for sportspeople due to added measures of flexibility. Besides this, stretching and bending fix posture problems. Researchers from Brazil found yoga makes senior citizens more flexible, on account of its gentle movements. A study of 65-85-year-olds found the elderly research participants enjoyed better flexibility, muscle strength, and balance on account of yoga. This improves the quality of life.
Building Core Strength
A strong core is critical, whether you are an active sportsperson or a corporate executive stuck behind the desk. Exceptional core strength lets us perform everyday activities without experiencing pain. This is essential for the lower back and joints. A strong core helps in maintaining excellent posture and prevents the misalignment of the body. Yoga strengthens the heart and the abs. Researchers from the University of Miami ran EMG/Electromyography testing to get some answers. In their lab, tests were run to see which yogic poses impacted the core strength. For the external oblique ab muscles, the low plank, the high plank, and the downward-facing dog were helpful. The gluteus maximus benefitted from chair and warrior poses, while the halfway lift and the chair pose impacted the muscle at the middle of the back. Practicing yoga strengthens the hip, back, and ab muscles.
In yoga, one uses the bodyweight as resistance. Unlike other forms of strength training which use weights, this form of exercise uses your bodyweight. Therefore, you can perform yoga just about anywhere. Gymnasts, for example, re strong relative to body weight. The strength gained from yoga will make you more functional. One study found that in 118 healthy adults who were sedentary, yoga was as effective as stretching and strength training. Both groups were able to improve flexibility, mobility, strength, and balance.
Increases Energy Levels and Prevents Fatigue
Rather than feeling exhausted and worn out post a class, most yoga practitioners report feeling energized. This is an additional benefit that accompanies the sensations of calmness while performing yoga. Further, yoga improves vitality and energy levels, besides combating fatigue. Researchers at the University of Oxford studied relaxation, yoga, and visualization. They wanted to observe whether yoga compared more favorably to other techniques for improving mood. Relaxation techniques were found to make people sleepy. Display made them sluggish. However, yoga enhanced mental and physical energy with the added benefit of making individuals feel more positive. Yoga has also proved to be effective in bringing relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A Japanese study from Kyushu University found that participants who turned to yoga after suffering from this syndrome scored better on Profile of Mood Status (a questionnaire) in combination with Chalder’s FS score. Results show fatigue scores in the yoga group fell by a significant margin as opposed to those relying on conventional therapy alone. Compared to energy or coffee drinks, yoga is a healthier means of boosting energy levels.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be a silent killer. Hypertension impacts bodily organs, heart, and blood vessels. High BP can raise the chances of kidney problems, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. CDC estimates 1000 deaths each day due to hypertension. Yoga can prevent hypertension. It helps you to relax and slows down the heart rate. It also relieves stress and anxiety. This serves to lower blood pressure. Studies show it has the same benefits as cardio exercises. A meta-analytic review by researchers found yoga lowers diastolic and systolic blood pressure. On average, systolic BP fell by 4.2 while the diastolic BP fell by 3.6 mm Hg each. All three elements of yoga – breathing, postures, and meditation – served to benefit the practitioner.
Improves Blood Flow
Blood circulation helps the body to function optimally. Excellent blood flow ensures oxygen is carried to tissues and organs. Without adequate oxygen, the organs cannot be healthy. Lack of blood to organs causes deadly conditions like heart attacks and stroke. Yoga improves circulation of blood to the heart, brain, muscles, and extreme regions, via various poses. This oxygenates the tissues and organs, leading to better functioning. Research by the U-Penn Medical Center found 12 weeks of Iyengar yoga improved blood flow to the brain. This was verified by using brain scans pre and post the 12-week program involving yogic poses. Scans revealed changes in the right portion of the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex. The right dorsal medial frontal lobe was also impacted.
Improves Oxygen Intake
Numerous breathing methods characteristic of yogic practice improve oxygen efficiency. This includes alternate nostril breathing exercises and deep inhaling and exhaling techniques. Such techniques allow higher volume and fewer breaths. In 20 students between 12 and 15 years of age, those performing six months of yoga saw improved lung functions. They also gained more muscular control. Researchers used pulmonary function tests like FEV to prove this. Yoga also improves breathing capacity despite aging. A study found healthy senior citizens benefitted from a 4-month yoga practice. This elevated expiratory, as well as inspiratory pressures and the heart rate, slowed down.
Improving Gastrointestinal Function
Those who practice yoga experience better functioning of the gastrointestinal operation. Those suffering from GERD (Acid Reflux) and pancreatitis can benefit from yoga. The New Jersey University of Medicine and Dentistry found yoga, when used with PPI/proton pump inhibitors relieved GERD, even when medicines were not effective. UK researchers found yoga helps with chronic pancreatitis. Patients who carried out 3-month yoga programs improved their appetite and quality of life. They were less likely to depend on alcohol or experience mood changes or stress symptoms.
Yoga enhances immune system functioning in response to stress and health issues. A study involving exam stress found students benefited from 12-week, 35-minute yoga programs. Those who performed yoga experienced less stress. Individuals showed fewer changes in blood pressure and heart from exam stress. The CG/Control Group showed significant increases in both these parameters. Students in the yoga group had lower perceived stress levels. Cortisol levels also rose a bit. Another study of breast cancer patients undergoing surgery found those using yoga therapy had fewer instances of postoperative distress. They had better immunity and lower levels of depression and anxiety.
Yoga Raises Fitness Levels and Improves Heart Health
CDC estimates 610K people in the US die from heart disease each year. One in every four deaths is related to heart disease. Yoga can help to reduce heart disease risk by increasing cardiovascular endurance. This type of patience improves the body’s oxygen delivery and lowers the heart rate. To see how yoga fares compared to aerobic exercises, research studies found one hour of yoga every day was better than 7 hours of aerobics per week. Those who performed yoga also had lower body mass index. Testing for cardiovascular endurance involved stress tests. The studies found superior performance on such tests for yoga practitioners.
Relieve Thyroid Symptoms
The thyroid gland is located in the frontal portion of the neck. It is part of the endocrine system. It produces and stores hormones. Such hormones impact the body’s organ functions. The thyroid regulates metabolism and energy levels. Research shows yoga helps women with hypothyroidism to manage thyroid symptoms better.
Increase Metabolic Rate
Metabolism covers different chemical reactions, such as catabolism and anabolism. This allows the body to break down food as energy. An example is when bodies use tissues and new cells to create muscles or repair or replace aging/damaged tissues. Balanced metabolic rates control food cravings and maintain a healthy weight. They supply energy to the body, too. Yoga helps to regulate the body’s metabolic rate. While people want to have a high basal metabolic rate, for burning more calories, there’s much more to the metabolic rate. A price that is too high or low can damage health. Basal metabolic rates are high when we fall ill or are stressed out. Certain disorders like diabetes keep the basal metabolic rate elevated. Researchers found long-term yoga disciples had a lower basal metabolic rate. This difference is on account of better metabolic efficiency and the possibility of being able to cope better with stress.
Regulates the Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands release hormones that control blood glucose levels and regulate protein and fat. When you are stressed, the adrenal gland releases stress hormone cortisol. This increases our sense of awareness. It also provides the mental ability and additional strength to manage stress. Much like inflammation, high cortisol levels are damaging over the long run, triggering health conditions like hypertension, high blood glucose levels, depression, and osteoporosis. Researchers from Harvard Medical School found class yoga practice improves stress management and lowered cortisol levels in second and third-grade students. Similar results are shown in patients with depression. Scientists found yoga helps in reducing cortisol levels here as well.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Science proves yoga lowers and regulates blood-glucose levels. Studies have found an eight-day yoga lifestyle modification or intervention program improved blood-sugar levels in adults with normal glucose levels. Further, individuals experienced lower levels of fasting blood glucose post the yoga program. Their blood sugar post the meals within 3-4 hours also dropped. The benefits did not end there. The study also demonstrated lipid profiles improved. LDL cholesterol and triglycerides dropped while HDL cholesterol increased. For people with diabetes, getting into yoga is beneficial as well. It prevents blood sugar from spiking or remaining high. Researchers have found that 40 days of yoga reduces fasting blood sugar in diabetic patients. This reduction permits blood sugar levels to drop to 141.5 mg/dl as against 190. Maintaining blood sugar within normal levels is critical. This prevents type 2 diabetes and ensuing complications.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Doing yoga regularly lowers t,he cholesterol. A study found yoga reduced total cholesterol levels by about 10 mg/dl. Researchers found yoga’s effect began in the 4th week. It lasted for fourteen weeks, before leveling off and reaching the outcome.
Further, all lipid variables decreased, except for HDL cholesterol, following yoga. A shorter study also found yoga took effect immediately. In this study, 98 people participated in an eight-day yoga program, and blood test results showed total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL cholesterol all became optimal. Those with high cholesterol before showed the most significant improvements. In the study, the triglycerides dropped around 20 points for such subjects. There was a modest drop for those with healthy cholesterol.
Regulate the Endocrine Function
The endocrine system comprises a series of glands. These glands secrete hormones which may be stored for later usage. While this sounds simple, it is incredibly complex. Hormones serve as brain signals telling organs and tissues what to do. The hormones secreted by the endocrine gland regulate everything. So, healthy endocrine functioning is essential. Reviews of studies show yoga can balance hormone functions.
Increases Oxytocin Levels
One of the hormones produced by the endocrine gland is oxytocin. It is secreted from the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland. Oxytocin is known as the trust hormone and is critical for sociability. Yoga therapy also increases oxytocin levels and builds positive feelings. Research on schizophrenic patients found yoga improved oxytocin levels and prevented social-cognitive deficits. Apart from higher oxytocin levels, this group also underwent better occupational functioning.
Yoga Boosts Parasympathetic Nervous System Action
Part of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system. It impacts bodily activities during rest. This ranges across digestion, arousal, urination, and tears. This system conserves energy and relaxes the muscles. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. It slows down heart rate, blood pressure, and regulates breathing. Researchers in one study found 11 yoga practitioners were able to encourage their parasympathetic nervous system during yoga practice, using Iyengar yoga. Yoga balances the autonomic nervous system by increasing activation. Yoga is, therefore, helpful in conditions like ADHD and PTSD. It can help your body to relax and return from the breaking point.
Yoga Increases Erythrocytes
Yoga promotes healthy blood circulation, raising the red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells give blood its distinctive color. Together with white blood cells and platelets, they constitute nearly 45 percent of human blood. RBC carry hemoglobin, which is essential for oxygenating the body. Yoga helps the body to increase its red blood cell count and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Inverting and twisting poses can help in transferring oxygenated blood to the body. Researchers showed that there was an increase in RBC count in 10 athletes carrying out an 8-week yoga program.
A lot of attention has been on triglycerides, when it comes to heart health. Triglycerides are the part of the lipid profile constituting fat found in the body. The body converts excess calories not required into triglycerides. When needed, these triglycerides release from fat cells to offer energy. Excessive triglycerides increase chances of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. This is why yoga can help. Yoga makes the body use power to burn calories, reducing triglyceride levels in the blood. A study found people saw a reduction in triglyceride levels due to yoga. Consequently, fasting blood sugar and metabolic risk factors lowered as well.
Yoga Fights Free Radical Damage
Inflammation is a means by which the body protects and repairs itself. Whenever the infection or injury result, there is swelling to fight off foreign microbes or bacteria, thereby commencing with the repair process. This replaces damaged tissues and cells. At this time, the area becomes painful, sore, and red. It then starts to heal. However, lack of physical activity and poor eating habits can trigger chronic inflammation. This increases the risk of serious diseases. Oxidative stress also triggers systemic inflammation and causes free radical damage. This is the precursor to serious diseases like cancer. Yoga helps to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body by lowering pressure and adhering to a healthy lifestyle.
Research shows that integrated yoga programs improved the occurrence of inflammation markers in over 86 patients, showing results in 10 days. The participants also experienced low levels of cortisol and fewer inflammation markers such as TNF-alpha and interleukin-6. At the same time, endorphin levels increased.
Yoga Boosts Fertility
For parents trying to conceive, yoga is beneficial because it reduces stress, helps in relaxation, and promotes sufficient blood flow to the reproductive organs. Improved hormone secretion such as testosterone helps in overall reproductive health and functioning.
Of course, no one can turn time back. But yoga can preserve the youth by decelerating the aging process. It also shaves a few years off body age. Across the lifetime, cells divide, allowing the body to replace dying or damaged cells. Every time they share, cells get shorter telomeres. Telomeres at the bae of chromosomes protect the battery. When telomeres shorten, the battery cannot divide, and it dies, triggering aging. A study shows that yoga reverses signs of aging. Participants after 90 days of yoga were found to have lower levels of oxidative stress and increasing telomerase levels. Apart from the anti-aging effect, yoga also preserves brain function. Researchers in one study found fluid intelligence declined more slowly in those practicing yoga. Yoga also teaches a resilient brain functional architecture, making cells less prone to damage.
Yoga Improves Posture
Most people have poor posture, as they are slumped continuously towards the desk. The hunching of the upper back or kyphosis is the result of weak shoulder and back muscles. It is possible to slip, and hard to maintain good posture. Yoga can solve posture issues. It strengthens the back, neck, and shoulder muscles via different poses. It also lengthens the chest and stomach-based muscles due to stretching. This counters the effect of sitting all day with a rounded back. UCLA researchers found yoga improved kyphosis in older senior citizens, lessening the curvature of the back and undoing the effects of severe to moderate kyphosis.
Helps with Weight Management
Yoga lowers emotional eating and cuts stress back. Therefore, yoga helps in weight loss and a healthy BMI. According to the Washington-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, those with healthy BMI who practice yoga are less likely to gain additional weight. Yoga’s weight loss effects were more evident in obese individuals. Those who did yoga maintained or lost weight more quickly. Another research study found healthy people lost more than 12.5 lbs from a 3-month yoga program.
Sleep More Deeply
As per the CDC, 50-70 million adults in America face sleep-related issues. Waking or sleeping too much or too little is harmful to health. This is exactly where yoga can help. A research study found twelve weeks of postures and meditation helped older individuals with insomnia. It improves sleep quality, quantity, and efficiency. It also triggers better well being and vitality, as individuals experience less stress. Yoga helps pregnant women, as well. Hatha yoga and prenatal meditation help women to improve sleep efficiency.
An essential feature of yogic poses is a sense of balance. Lack of physical activity can come in the way of balance. According to the CDC, there are 700K cases of hospital treatment due to falls. Most of these falls result in hip fractures or head injuries. Yoga poses like tree pose and warrior pose help to improve alignment and lessen chances of falling. Many studies link yoga to better balance. Yoga decreases fear of falling, enhancing flexibility in adults over 65 years of age. Results of studies showed 12 weeks of yoga helped to reduce falls in older adults. On account of low-intensity movements, yoga is something older people quickly try. It lowers the risk of falls and injury.
Improves Body Awareness
Yoga builds self-awareness by enabling individuals to feel what the body is telling them. With mindfulness, attention is paid to different signals felt. This includes emotional, physical, and mental states. This helps in finding out how to stop mental stress Yoga helps to prevent emotions from getting the better of us. Studies have found yoga practitioners show better body awareness. They were also more responsible for sensations, as against non-yoga groups. They were consequently less impacted by eating disorders and happier with their body image.
Keeps the Bones Healthy
Maintaining bones that are strong and healthy is essential. This is because the skeletal system holds the muscles and offers form. Yoga is an exercise that is weight-bearing. It helps to maintain and increase bone mineral density. This keeps bones stronger, as we age. Doing this reduces the risk of fractures and lowers cortisol levels in the body, besides preserving calcium within the bones. In post-menopausal women, yoga slows down bone resorption. It breaks down old bones and makes way for new bones. This helps to ward off osteoporosis.
Maintains Range of Motion of the Joints
When we age, we lose flexibility. This causes the shoulders, hips, and ankles to have a lower range of motion. Spending time behind a desk makes this worse. Yoga also helps to reinstate and improve the body’s range of motion. This is carried out through a series of gentle stretches and postures. This promotes better movement, bringing quicker pain relief. Athletes become mobile and flexible as a result of yoga and perform better. A study discovered that in women above the age of fifty, yoga is immensely beneficial. A twenty-week yoga course improves hamstring flexibility and spinal mobility. The joint range of motion improves, resulting in better recovery from the effects of aging. Irrespective of the age you are, yoga can boost a joint range of motion. This is on account of its low impact nature and controlled, gradual movement.
Prevents Cartilage Breakdown
The joints of the human body connect bones. They make movement possible and let us bend in different ways. Yoga, through poses and gestures, ensures that the joints remain healthy. Yoga provides this by strengthening tendons, ligaments, and muscles around the joint. This makes it more stable. Gradual stretching motions also enhance the flexibility of the joint. This maintains a full motion range and prevents loss of mobility and stiffness. The weight loss doing yoga lowers stress on the joints. Yoga increases the synovial fluid circulation in the joints. This is a slippery fluid that fills spaces between bones. The fluid serves as a friction-free surface, letting joints rotate, move, and bend smoothly. The fluid nourishes the cartilage. These serve as rubbery cushions at the end of the bone. Cartilages act as shock absorbers, while impacting movements. On account of the synovial fluid, cartilages regain health and do not wear down, or develop osteoarthritis. Studies show yoga maintains healthy joints by loosening and boosting the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the bones and joints. Yoga helps to reduce disability and pain in osteoarthritis. One study found yoga helped 118 individuals facing osteoarthritis of the knee. It decreased pain and eliminated knee disability, swelling, and joint tenderness. It increased the range of motion in both the knees, in the study.
Improved Spine Health
Spinal discs absorb shock between the vertebra in the spine. This disc holds the vertebrae together. These discs permit the body to bend and twist in different directions in a pain-free way. To stay healthy and robust, being active is essential. This leads to enough nutrients. Yoga is an excellent way to exercise back muscles. Yogic poses include backbends and twists that prevent disc degeneration. Taiwanese scientists found spine scans of yoga practitioners showed less disc degeneration of the spine.
Reduce Oxygen Consumption
Yoga instills the efficient use of resources in the body. This lowers oxygen consumption levels, forming the opposite of most physical activities. Other forms of exercise increase oxygen consumption levels. In one study carried out, yoga was found to decrease oxygen consumption and increase breath volume.
Regulates Heart Rate
Doing yoga regularly helps to lower the heart rate. This effect is like the athlete’s heartbeat, which ranges from 30-40 BPM, as against individual heart rates of 70 BPM. Yoga strengthens heart muscles, permitting easy pumping of the blood following every contraction. Yoga lowers stress, allowing relaxation and relief. Its effects are pronounced, in many research studies. Yoga sessions lowered heart rate in those practicing yoga for two years, in one study. The researchers in this study compared pre and post-yoga pulse rates. Heart rates of participants fell by 19.6 BPM in the first trial and 22.2 BPM in the second.
Mimics Effects of Aerobic Exercise
If you have done yoga, you’d know it does not involve strenuous movements. But it still raises the heart rate. A study found that as far as cardiovascular activities were concerned, yoga is equivalent to walking on a treadmill. A meta-analytic review by Harvard University researchers, however, found cardiovascular benefits of yoga were akin to aerobic exercises. Further, relaxation and yoga go hand-in-hand for those with heart disease. Power yoga can get your heart pumping, too.
Rehabilitates the Injured
Yoga is an excellent means of initiating rehabilitation for injured people. It promotes slow, controlled movements for recovering range of motion. It also strengthens the joints and muscles, besides improving flexibility. A study showed how it helped patients with traumatic brain injuries to heal. An 8-week yoga program improved patient balance by 36% and doubled lower body strength. It also boosted endurance by 105 percent. It helps the injured physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Helps During Pregnancy
During the nine months of birth and pregnancy, mothers go through many changes. This transition includes everything from pain to mental health effects and stress. Yoga’s holistic approach comes in here. It lowers pressure, offers relief from pain, and gives peace of mind. During pregnancy, labor, and post-birth, yoga can be beneficial. A review showed how therapeutic yoga could be for pregnant women. It reveals that maternity yoga reduces pain levels. Yoga puts mothers in stronger and healthier states by staving off stress, depression, and anxiety. Yoga also helps with perinatal outcomes, such as birth complications and delivery time.
Role of Yoga in Preventing Diseases
Yoga improves memory, concentration, and cognitive ability. It also protects individuals against dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a form of dementia that leads to memory and cognition issues, impacting the behavior. It also affects the ability to remember things, as this is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Science shows yoga can combat declines in memory and cognitive functioning by reducing stress levels. Research links high cortisol levels to Alzheimer’s, and yoga helps to lower body cortisol levels. One study of 54 patients saw yoga reduced cortisol levels and works better than antidepressant medicines. GABA therapy is being used to fight this form of dementia. Yoga increases the ability of the brain’s GABA levels to protect it against disease.
Heart Disease Risk
Heart disease causes 25% of all deaths in the United States, according to the CDC. Other conditions raise the chances of succumbing to heart attacks then just stress. This includes diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. For a multifaceted approach to lowering heart disease risk, yoga works best. Yoga reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
It does this by improving blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol. It also prevents and controls diabetes by regulating blood glucose levels. A review and analysis further found yoga brought down systolic blood pressure by 5.85 and diastolic blood pressure by 4.12 mm Hg. It also reduced heart rate by 6.6 BPM and waist circumference by 0.8 inches. Yoga practitioners also saw a lipid profile improvement. Blood-glucose and insulin resistance improved, as well. Yoga reduced the risk of heart disease by enhancing parameters related to weight, cholesterol, BP, and blood glucose levels.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD is a condition impacting the lungs, and this is a progressive disease. In COPD, damage to the air sacs or lung walls obstructs airflow, making it difficult to breathe normally. Yoga improved breathing functioning in COPD patients in a review of studies. Yoga training improved measures of pulmonary function, or FEV1 and FEV1%. FEV1 is the forced expiratory volume or the maximum amount of air that can be blown out one second after a deep breath. This offers physicians a deeper analysis of how useful lung functions are. Yoga also improved the distance COPD patients could walk in six minutes.
Osteoporosis impacts men and women. It is more prevalent in females during the onset of menopause. The rate at which bones break down outpaces the rate at which the body rebuilds them. This makes it hard to get the proper amount of vitamin D and calcium. Another way to prevent loss of bones is through weight-bearing exercises. Bones may be jarred to get stronger. Yoga serves to improve bone mineral density, warding off this weak bone condition. Research has found a 10-minute daily yoga program enhances hip and spine bone density in a study on 18 patients. On the T-scale, participants showed better performance following yoga intervention. Results stemmed from the DEXA scan imaging, and this x-ray scan is carried out to see if bones are dense and durable. Many studies also showed yoga’s benefits on quality of life and bone turnover.
Type 2 Diabetes
According to ADA/American Diabetes Association, close to 29 million individuals in America have diabetes. Additionally, 86 million more adults are pre-diabetic. This places them at high risk of diabetes in the future. Type 2 diabetes is the result of poor lifestyle and diet, plus lack of exercise. Yoga reduces excess glucose streaming within the bloodstream. This can be done by using energy to do the poses.
Additionally, yoga improves insulin response by lowering stress. In those with non-insulin dependent form of this disease, a 40-day yoga program reduced fasting blood sugar. It also reduced insulin levels and waist to hip ratio in patients with diabetes.
A stroke cuts off blood supply to the brain. The brain needs oxygen to function effectively. When blood supply cuts off for long, the brain cells are lost. The stroke, therefore, impacts memory and the ability to move certain body parts. Stroke affects the person based on the extent of damage to the brain. It can trigger paralysis as well, according to NSA/National Stroke Association. Yoga prevents stroke and improves blood circulation in the body. Researchers found a 16-session yoga program improved hip and neck range of motion, decreasing pain levels for those facing a stroke. Yoga also improved the strength of the upper limbs and walking scores. Yoga also lowers depression and anxiety in stroke patients.
Substance Abuse Disorders
Substance abuse disorders like smoking addiction are lethal. 42 million in the United States smoke cigarettes. This probably has to do with the addictive property of nicotine. Smoking kills over 480K people a year. A significant percentage die from second-hand smoke. Through smoking, the brain needs to know its time to stop. Chemical effects of nicotine and other components make it difficult. Yoga is the way out to help people quit smoking. Researchers in Rhode Island found eight weeks of yoga therapy improved abstinence in smokers.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder can be combated using yoga. The CDC estimates ADD affects 6 million children in the United States. Meditation and yogic breathing reduce attention deficits. It calms individuals, making it beneficial for ADHD patients. Researchers found yoga meditation helped children with ADHD, improving their self-esteem and social relationships. The study noted children slept better following yoga, because it reduced anxiety levels. In many studies, yoga has been recommended as a complementary treatment for ADHD and ADD.
RA/Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease, impacting the small joints. This autoimmune disorder affects joint lining, causing pain, deformity, and bone erosion. Yoga also offers relief from RA symptoms because it has a low impact and uses slow, deliberate movement. Performing the poses loosens joints and muscles, exerting slight pressure and relieving tension. A research study found Iyengar Yoga twice in a week for six weeks helped young adults with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It reduced disability and pain symptoms, besides improving mental health and self-efficacy.
Over 25 million US individuals have asthma. One-third of these are children, according to the US National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute. Through asthma, the tubes of the airways become swollen, narrowing the airways. This disease limits the airflow, creating a problem in breathing, coughing, and wheezing as it causes airways to become inflamed and sensitive. An asthma clinic study found yoga helps participants to relax, have better exercise tolerance, and less reliance on asthma inhalers. A further study found an 8-week yoga program reduced mild to moderate asthma symptoms and lowered medication frequency.
Back Pain Relief
Yoga is excellent for back pain relief. It is a perfect cure for debilitating back pain. According to the US Chiropractic Association ACA, 80 percent of people experience back pain. Yoga strengthens the upper back, lower back, and spine through different postures. It offers relief from back pain and related disability, according to research. Another study for long term back pain sufferers found yoga reduced pain levels, cut down medicine usage, and decreased functional impairment.
Yoga can keep disease at bay, by fighting chronic inflammation and lowering oxidative stress. In these ways, it prevents the development of cancer cells. Besides, yoga also helps the body to get stronger post-chemotherapy. Yoga impacts the mind and well-being, helping cancer survivors to beat the disease. Another benefit is it helps cancer survivors to boost health outcomes, according to research reviews. Researchers studied 25 yoga studies from 2004 to 2011, finding that yoga practice helped cancer patients to improve their chances of survival and well-being. Turkish researchers also found yoga reduced stress in cancer patients.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome triggers numbness, swelling, and pain, and yoga can help in all of these conditions. The condition itself happens when the median nerve presses the wrist. A University of Pennsylvania study found yoga relieves the carpal tunnel syndrome. Researchers discovered yoga offers better relief than splinting the wrist. Yoga also improved the flexibility of the wrist for those facing carpel tunnel syndrome, improving their ability to move their limbs.
Chronic bronchitis makes it difficult to breathe. This pulmonary disease is a condition which can be treated through yoga. Yoga is an exercise that increases oxygen in the brain without boosting respiration rates. This holds value for those with chronic bronchitis. This unique feature was distinct from other exercise modes. One study found yoga, including poses and breathing reduced debilitating symptoms and improved lung functions. It also lowers shortness of breath.
For those with epilepsy, yoga reduces seizure frequency. One of the triggers of epilepsy is stress. Yoga lowers stress, and complements anti-epilepsy medicines to cut the frequency of seizures, according to studies.
Yoga reduces fibromyalgia symptoms like fatigue and pain across the body. Researchers found different yoga techniques helped fibromyalgia patients to reduce pain.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS triggers gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and cramping. It is triggered by food consumed, stress, and hormones. Yoga can relieve stress and constipation caused due to IBS. A study by the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program found yoga lessens symptoms in adults and adolescents with this disease, reducing the problems in functioning. The same results were obtained by Canadian researchers.
Yoga relaxes the body and staves off insomnia or other sleep disorders. Yoga also improves sleep quality, according to Boston researchers. The study found an 8-week daily yoga practice treated insomnia effectively, letting patients sleep better for longer. This includes sleep efficiency, total sleep time, sleep onset latency, and wake times post-sleep.
While menopause is common, it comes with unusual symptoms that can disrupt life. Women can use yoga to cope with symptoms like hot flashes, sleep issues, anxiety, lower energy, and mood swings. University of Washington researchers saw this effect in post-menopausal women doing a 10-week yoga program. Research showed yoga cured psychological issues faced by menopausal women.
Migraines are a disruptive force in everyday life. Research showed migraine patients who underwent a 3-month yoga program experienced fewer migraines. The intensity of headaches also lessened. Sleep issues, poor posture, and stress are some causes. Yoga can reduce symptoms of a migraine effectively.
A study showed yoga could improve mindful eating and stave off eating disorders. Yoga does this by increasing body-mind link and strengthens the body through breath awareness. This connection reduces compulsive or emotional eating. Researchers at Washington’s Seattle Children’s hospital found anyone suffering from this condition could turn to yoga to reduce effects.
Multiple Sclerosis/MS impacts coordination and balance, affecting the spinal cord and the brain. This condition can be treated through yoga, which reduces fatigue for MS patients. One study found six months of yoga reduced chronic fatigue associated with MS. Researchers saw yoga improved mood levels in MS patients, too.
This is a genetic condition impacting the muscles. Muscles weaken progressively, and muscle mass is lost. This leads to a loss of control over body parts. Muscular dystrophy can affect muscles that influence swallowing or breathing. Brazilian researchers found pulmonary function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients improved due to yoga. The yoga impacted forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity to ensure people can exhale efficiently.
Those who face OCD experience excessive thoughts and behaviors. Many studies link such reaction to fear and anxiety. Yoga can reduce OCD symptoms by reducing anxiety. A UC San Diego study found yogic breathing patterns over 12 months reduced OCD symptoms. It also reduced perceived stress.
Yoga is perfect for RA patients, but it also brings pain relief for osteoarthritis patients. Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear or degradation of the joints. Cartilage acting as a cushion between joint bones break down in this disease. Research shows morning stiffness and pain can be averted in patients with knee osteoarthritis. U-Penn researchers also noted similar results.
Yoga can ease anxiety and fear. For this reason, it is incredibly beneficial for curing PTSD/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A Stanford University study found the effects of sun salutations on Afghanistan war veterans was highly positive. Breathing based meditation reduced anxiety and excessive arousal characteristic of this disorder. Another study found 12-session yoga intervention reduced PTSD symptoms in female subjects.
Yoga is one way to reduce PMS symptoms, especially during the follicular and luteal phase of menstruation, according to researchers. This can make individuals feel better and attain a peaceful mental state. Those who did yoga had lower heart rate, lower BP, and reduced anxiety, depression, and anger during PMS.
Sciatica is a large nerve located in the lower back, going through both the legs in the glutes and the hips. This nerve impacts everyday life, connecting the spinal cord to muscles in different parts of the body. It also permits sensation in the lower limb, affecting the reflexes. Sciatica is caused by spinal issues such as herniated discs compressing the nerves. When this occurs, numbness or weakness may be experienced in the legs. A UK study found sciatica can be treated using yoga therapy. Specifically, yoga reduces pain and disability caused by extrusions and lumbar disc bulges. Studies found similar conclusions in related research. Yoga erases the pain, rigidity, and difficulty in walking. Sciatica patients can benefit from yogic poses like the cobra and the locust.
The sideway curvature of the spine is caused due to scoliosis, which impacts the lumbar or thoracic spine. When this occurs, it changes posture. When the curve becomes more severe, it affects confidence. This happens when one leans towards aside, even while standing up straight. The curvature of the spine also triggers back pain and lung problems. Yoga decreases the scoliosis curve, with poses like side plank reducing the spine curvature by as much as 32 percent. Participants with scoliosis dud yoga pose six times a week, holding poses for ninety seconds on the curve’s convex side for close to seven months to obtain such benefits.
Yoga is linked to poses, but breathing exercises or pranayama are an essential part of it. This regulates the mood and improves relaxing ability. Different inhalation and exhalation methods lead to alternate nostril breathing and increasing breath duration. This process clears up blocked nasal passages found in sinus patients. Studies show such yoga effects are perfect for eliminating allergic rhinitis.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Most individuals remain glued to the computer screen, whether it is for work or entertainment. The eyes may get tired from staring at the screen for too long. Yoga can eliminate discomfort from computer vision syndrome. Eye problems from focusing on the screen for more extended time triggers eye strain and pain. It also induces eye dryness or reddening. It further triggers blurred vision and eye irritation. Computer users can benefit from yoga 5 days a week, experiencing less vision discomfort in one study after only sixty days.
How to Add Yoga to the Workout
For a workout that is carried out 2-3 times per week, a warm-up for 20 minutes is essential. This should then be followed by 20 minutes each of resistance and cardio. Finally, the workout should end with a yoga session.
If you train more than that, break your exercises into different days. It depends on the objectives you have, the time required, the amount of effort used, etc. You have first to find out the extent to which you want to train consistently. Once this is decided, you need to focus on the objectives next. Are you looking for improved strength, enhanced flexibility, or better cardio? While resistance training is useful on its own, it will exert more mobility effects when paired with yoga.
Prioritize What is Important
Be clear about your priorities. For example, most people who want a fit and toned look start with 1 to 2 days of resistance training and then factor in other important aspects. The increase in flexibility is one such goal. Cardio is perfect for boosting mobility, plus it helps in heart health. Combining these with yoga can yield a more significant set of benefits.
Choose the Type That Suits Best
There are different types of yoga. While some are more meditative and gradual, others are fast-paced and quick. This is why you need to consider the pace at which your body is functioning. Listen to your body because this is the most important thing. Resistance training comes in different varieties, namely pure strength, power, or speed. Pure hypertrophy, combination circuit methods, conjugate training, and other techniques are also there. Take care that resistance does not interfere with yoga and vice versa. For example, a calisthenic workout may not be followed by gentler yoga and may be more suited to the inclusion of power yoga.
Separate Your Workout Days
From a fundamental standpoint of giving your body adequate stress before exercise, you need to place then in different slots or days. The first day can involve resistance training, the other cardiovascular training. Day three will center around yoga, and then again days 4 and 5 will include resistance and cardio. This then ends with yoga and a rest day completing the week.
Training for just five days means you may have to leave out one set. But it should not be resistance, given the value for general training purposes. Depending on the time you have available for training, you can decide the variations.
Poses to Add
Optimize your body workout to bring mind, body and spirit to higher levels. For this, and for those short on time, the sun salutation can work wonders. It adds a level of challenge to reputations in weight training or cardio routines. Keep your workout interesting and fun using the sun salutation.
This is perfect for those in need of weight loss. Estimates say around five hundred to 1250 calories can be burnt in just a single session based on intensity. Hot yoga, for example, is said to restore health by improving circulation and lessening the chances of failure of organs such as the heart.
This simple yoga asana involves strengthening various parts of the legs and critical muscles of the lower back. Strength and release tension from chests and shoulders and increase the impact on the thigh muscles.
This yoga pose requires lesser movements to attain the desired impact. This is wonderful for the back and strengthens the muscles in the back, improving the elasticity and suppleness of the spinal column. It also boosts flexibility and builds strength, besides enhancing the level of circulation in the body.
This yoga pose improves balance besides boosting leg strength and flexibility. It raises the hamstrings and makes it a perfect exercise for those suffering lower back pain.
This is essential for activating the gluteus maximus and strengthening the muscle group. Balance, inner core strength, and prevention of injury all come into play here. The exercise this asana leads the practitioner to perform tones and stabilizes the entire body.
This pose builds strengthened muscles and a flexible core. The dolphin pose works to create dynamic flexibility in the body by moving from the quadruped position to the posture and vice versa.
This pose is suited for isometrics and conditioning the body to be prepared for a heavy-duty workout. It helps to maintain a strong trunk and assists in retaining flexibility. Staying in this position increases the hip-flexor length to feet to hand movements and creates a more dynamic movement series.
This pose uses isometrics to tone the stability of the trunks and improve core balance. The spine is at 45 degrees while the legs are pulled up, keeping core muscles tight. The back is straight. This pose activates cores muscles before the commencement of the fitness routine.
Though this is associated with more mental than physical benefits, it is a useful addition to a strenuous workout, especially when the body needs to recover. Use the time to clear the mind and relieve emotional and psychological stressors and tensions.
Yoga, as well as cardio and resistance training, forms a holistic exercise routine for toning, strengthening and balancing the body. Improve the stability and flexibility of your posture through the ancient art of yoga, which increases the mind-body connection and makes you feel more in touch with the inner spirit as well as healing the external body. Let your practice blossom, with new combinations of high-intensity interval training coupled with yoga to give your body the ultimate tools to shape up and be active.