ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Medical and Mental Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Updated on June 5, 2020
Erin C Day profile image

Erin is an avid writer about various health topics. She has contributed to Medium, Sivana East, Wellnessaurus, and more!

I’ve heard reasons why doing yoga is something everyone should do, and some even say there are as many as 13, 38, and even 77 benefits of yoga!

Yoga can not only improve your physical health by fostering an increase in strength and flexibility but can also improve your overall quality of life.

The American Osteopathic Association (AMA) lists some common positive effects that come from practicing yoga:

  • increased flexibility

  • increased muscle strength and tone

  • improved respiration, energy and vitality

  • maintaining a balanced metabolism

  • weight reduction

  • cardio and circulatory health

  • improved athletic performance

  • protection from injury

Basically, yoga has tons of benefits. So why should you take up yoga?

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

According to Healthline, yoga has been proven to reduce stress. They say that “multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.” In addition, you can reduce your anxiety levels by participating in regular yoga. Healthline references several studies that show how yoga has decreased symptoms of anxiety.

Honestly just that may be enough to convince me, but if you need a little more keep reading to find out how yoga betters your medical health as well as your mental and emotional health.

Stressed out? Aching joints? Yoga can help with that
Stressed out? Aching joints? Yoga can help with that | Source

Anti-inflammatory

Yoga may qualify to be called an anti-inflammatory, and it’s probably the first thing other than medicine or food to ever do so. Healthline claims that, “although more research is needed to confirm the beneficial effects of yoga on inflammation, … findings indicate that it may help protect against certain diseases caused by chronic inflammation.”

Medical News Today provides that inflammation is a natural immune response and defends and heals the body but sometimes makes mistakes. “Inflammation may contribute to a wide range of chronic diseases. Examples of these are metabolic syndrome, which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity,” they claim. Acute inflammation can come with pain and swelling, whereas chronic inflammation can worsen various diseases like diabetes, allergies, joint diseases (arthritis), cardiovascular disease, and more.

Neither of those sound pleasant in the least so anything that can be done to avoid them, I’ll do.

Better Heart Health

Stress is a major contributor to heart diseases and yoga reduces that. According to Healthline, yoga can also lower another factor: your blood pressure.

Yoga’s effect of increasing blood flow also improves your heart health. “The relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result,” Timothy McCall, M.D., provides. “Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated. This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems.”

There you have it-- start doing yoga if you want to decrease heart attack, strokes, and other bodily ailments.

Take care of your heart and fight depression with yoga
Take care of your heart and fight depression with yoga | Source

Fights Depression

According to McCall, “one study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol.” As a result, yoga can decrease symptoms of depression.

Jake Panasevich says that some poses are better than others when it comes to combating depression, they are:

  • Backbends

  • Passive backbends and hand balances

  • Inversions (like handstands)

  • Down Dog

  • Breathing exercises

So do some poses to brighten your day and lift your mood.

Better Sleep

“Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders,” says Healthline.

Well, participating in yoga has been shown to treat all these health issues. “Though the way it works is not clear, yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness,” Healthline provides. “Yoga also has a significant effect on anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress — all common contributors to sleep problems.”

If you want to catch some extra zzz’s, then looking into where your nearest yoga class is could be the solution you’re looking for.

Sleep better with yoga
Sleep better with yoga | Source

More Strength and Flexibility

Improved flexibility is probably one of the more well-known things yoga is known for.

“During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible,” McCall says. “You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear.

These pains disappear as you correct your posture and when your bones are in proper alignment which yoga encourages.

Yoga is a lot of holding your body in poses for periods of time, this can increase your overall strength.

“In one study, 79 adults performed 24 cycles of sun salutations — a series of foundational poses often used as a warm-up — six days a week for 24 weeks,” according to Healthline. “They experienced a significant increase in upper body strength, endurance and weight loss. Women had a decrease in body fat percentage, as well.”

If you are wanting to get stronger and balanced with flexibility, yoga is a great way to do so.

Photo by Karthik Thoguluva on Unsplash
Photo by Karthik Thoguluva on Unsplash

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Erin Day

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • talesofvikram profile image

      Vikram Brahma 

      3 weeks ago from Assam, India

      Hey, Erin, I am very happy to see and read your article. Although we Indian know the benefits of Yoga from ages but due to fast life, many people are not practising. But I try to do breathing exercise and a little bit of meditation. Thank you for sharing your nice article on Yoga.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)