Yoga does much more than simply improve flexibility and strength. Practicing yoga has some amazing health benefits that can help you from the inside out. You may be surprised what’s happening inside your body when you strike a pose and are practicing yoga breathing techniques!
Let’s take a look at some of the ways yoga can improve your overall health.
Yoga lowers stress. A study showed that practicing yoga lowers cortisol levels, the hormone that brings on stress. After three months of doing yoga, researchers found that women who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed had lower levels of cortisol which made them less stressed and anxious. The next time you’re feeling stressed out, find a yoga class that can help you relax and keep at it.
Yoga may reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a normal immune response. But, too much of it can lead to pro-inflammatory conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Research shows that people who practice yoga regularly have higher levels of leptin and adiponectin in their bodies. Both of these natural chemicals work to alleviate inflammation in the body.
Yoga can improve heart health. When you practice yoga, you’re also helping to lower blood pressure. This can help to ward off heart disease since high blood pressure increases your risk of developing heart disease.
High blood pressure can also lead to heart attacks and stroke. By lowering your blood pressure with yoga, you’re also helping to lower your risk of developing these conditions. One study found that people over 40 who did yoga for 5 years were able to lower their blood pressure.
Yoga helps you sleep better. Getting a good night’s sleep is more than just trying to avoid being cranky in the morning and feeling like you need to drink a pot of coffee to get going. A good night’s sleep is essential to restore the body. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t function the right way.
Researchers have linked poor sleeping habits with obesity, high blood pressure, and even depression. Going through various yoga poses and following yoga breathing techniques is thought to release the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Yoga promotes better eating habits. Yoga teaches us to be mindful of everything we do; that includes eating. When we’re paying close attention to our bodies and are truly tuned in to what we are putting into it, we are more likely to avoid junk food. When you’re eating healthier, you are also working to lower your risk of obesity and the health problems that go along with it.
If you’re looking to practice yoga to improve your overall health, you can start with easier poses and classes, such as Hatha yoga. Hatha Yoga is generally slower and gentler than more intense types of yoga like Power Yoga and Hot Yoga.
The key is to get your body used to the poses and the breathing that is so essential in the practice of yoga. As you do more yoga, you’ll see your body getting stronger and feeling healthier.
Peace, love + good health, yogis!