Yoga Health Awareness: Health Benefits
SoMuchYoga.com Beginner’s Guide
Yoga Health Foundation · New Jersey Yoga Directory
Sources: New York Post; Yoga Alliance; SoMuchYoga.com
In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National Yoga Month. Since then, thousands of yoga studios and health enthusiasts have initiated an awareness campaign, with teachers and organizers encouraged to offer free yoga classes and events in their community.
Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that yoga postures and/or meditation reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases and hypertension as well as back or neck pain, as well as other chronic conditions.
Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body’s relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body.
Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Many people can’t touch their toes during their first yoga class. Gradually they begin to use the correct muscles. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making more poses possible.
Yoga helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems, providing the additional benefit of helping to relieve muscular tension.
Even less vigorous styles of yoga can can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress.
Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.
Yoga can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering your resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
Yoga improves concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory. Its meditative aspects can help many to provide a heightened sense of well-being and self-esteem.