How Yoga Can Improve the Quality of Your Life

Woman on beach doing yogaWe all know that exercise benefits us both physically and mentally, but there are so many types of exercising. Here we will discuss why so many experts are adamant about yoga’s advantages to our body and mind.

Yoga is one of the most ancient forms of exercise and was started in the Indian subcontinent. It is a practice of achieving the fusion of body and mind.

It consists of breathing routines, reflection through meditation, and body postures that are known to relax and reduce stress.

One of the best aspects of yoga is that you can start from the comfort of your own room with just a sweat mat. There are many online videos, some of them free, which you can use to initiate your path to yoga.

The article below discusses the many benefits of yoga which have been proven over the years by researchers and practitioners alike.

A Reduction in Stress Levels

Yoga has been known to reduce stress and relax both the body and mind.

The primary hormone responsible for increasing stress in the body is called cortisol. Multiple studies have proven the link between yoga and a reduction in cortisol levels. One particular study followed 45 women who experienced chronic mental stress. Researchers found that by adding yoga to their routine, these women were able to significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue while lowering levels of depression in just 3 months.

Practicing yoga alone or in conjunction with other mindful practices like meditation can help the body reduce stress even more.

Reduces Anxiety

Many people who start yoga do so out of necessity. They want to deal with anxiety without taking medications.

Research has also proven the link between yoga and reduced levels of anxiety. In a recently published study, 34 women with an anxiety disorder were asked to participate in a two-month yoga program with two classes per week. At the end of two months, the women were noted to have significantly lower levels of anxiety.

Another involved 64 participants suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which induces anxiety and fear following a traumatic event. After 3 months, the general level of PTSD symptoms among participants had fallen to extremely low levels and 52% of the group did not even meet the criteria for PTSD anymore.

Improvement in Heart Health

Young man in shorts sitting and meditating on a beach bedA healthy heart is essential for good health as it cleans your blood, supplies important nutrients, and provides oxygen to the brain through the blood.

Yoga has been known to improve the health of your heart and reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Research conducted for assessing the health benefits of yoga found that participants over 40 years of age, who had been doing yoga for 5 years or more, lowered their lower blood pressure significantly than those who did not.

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes behind issues related to the heart such as strokes and heart attacks. Lowered blood pressure reduces the chances of such issues and leads to a healthier life with a lower risk of heart problems.

A study on 113 people with diagnosed heart disease was conducted to find the effect of a healthier life by incorporating a diet along with yoga. After a year, participants of the study saw a reduction of 23% in total cholesterol and a 26% decrease in bad cholesterol. 47% of the patients saw a complete stop in the progression of heart disease.

Leads to an Improved Quality of Sleep

Some sleeping disorders have been associated with depression, tendency to overeat, and even high blood pressure among other issues. Incorporating simple yoga exercises in your daily routine can lead to a better quality of sleep and help you avoid all the problems associated with a sleeping disorder. Of course if you have sleeping disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea, these would need to be addressed by a physician, but applying yoga techniques in the interim and during treatment certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Yoga practitioners may have no need (or a reduction) in sleep medication. This is because of a hormone named melatonin that regulates sleep. Yoga is known to increase the production of melatonin.

Improvement in Breathing

Man practicing yoga on the beach

Yoga lays a heavy emphasis on breathing exercises and breathing techniques. These exercises then lead to an improvement in breathing.

Vital capacity is the maximum amount of air that can be breathed out from the lungs. It is an important element for those suffering from heart disease, asthma, and lung problems. Yoga is associated with increasing vital capacity. This leads to better endurance (climbing stairs or exercising) and helps keep your heart and lungs healthy.

Improves Balance and Flexibility

One of the main reasons for people taking up yoga is that they want to improve their flexibility and balance. There is comprehensive evidence to support that yoga poses target flexibility and improves balance.

Yoga is known to be one of the most optimal exercises for improving flexibility, beating even intense bodyweight exercises such as calisthenics.

Doing just 15 to 30 minutes of yoga every day significantly enhances the prospects of getting a more flexible body.

Leads to an Increase in Strength

Athletes looking to build strength also benefit from yoga as it not only improves the flexibility of the body, but it also leads to an increase in strength.

Yoga has specific poses that are meant to build muscle and increase strength.

A study involving 80 participants (both men and women) found that performing 24 cycles of sun salutations (a yoga pose meant for warm-ups and beginners) for 6 days a week for 3 months. The participants saw a great increase in upper body strength and endurance while their body fat percentage also went down.

Final Thoughts

Multiple studies have backed the benefits of yoga that are both physical and mental.

Incorporating yoga in your everyday routine leads to better health, a stronger heart, a more flexible body, and improves overall mental health.

If you are not fond of going to the gym or getting expensive membership, you can start from the comfort of your own room with just a sweat mat.