The mind and body connection is well known to promote overall physical and mental health, but now there is scientific evidence to support the benefits of yoga for weight loss. Yoga increases oxygen uptake and reduces stress, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, according to a study published in the June issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. The study looked at the relationship between yoga, depression, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Evidence form Various Studies
There has been much speculation about yoga and cholesterol levels. The benefits of yoga and reducing stress may be related to the calming effect of asanas. In order to obtain optimal benefits from yoga, it’s important to follow the basic asana and breathing techniques. But many people are unaware of the connection between yoga and blood pressure. In the study, yoga participants were asked to perform a series of asanas on a stationary yoga dorama. During the asanas, the participants’ blood pressure was measured before and after the exercises.
The study found that those who practiced yoga asanas had significantly lower blood pressure than those who did not. The researchers attributed the lower blood pressure to the improved oxygen intake and lower stress levels. Although this is only a small study, and more research is needed to validate these results, these preliminary results seem promising. Regular yoga practice might reduce back pain and improve functioning in the cardiovascular system.
Many yoga practices focus on pranayama, or breathing exercises. In addition to the oxygen benefits, the participants also saw a decrease in heart rate after practicing the asanas. Other studies have indicated that yoga lowers blood pressure, increase flexibility and strength, and stimulate the immune system. Many of these asanas are very physically demanding, and most people experience some difficulty. Adding yoga to a regular regimen can help participants maintain an optimum physical condition.
Of course, it’s important to remember that this was only a brief experimental study, and the final conclusion was inconclusive. More research is needed to validate the claims of the study. But the participants did report higher energy, less stress, better sleep, and better overall flexibility after practicing yoga for a few weeks. Many yoga enthusiasts believe these types of improvements will eventually lead to a reversal in hypertension and other back pain associated problems. Yoga could very well be a powerful tool for reversing back pain and other ailments.
Perhaps the most commonly documented yoga benefits are a reduction in headaches, migraines, sinus problems, and other types of headaches associated with stress. These participants also said they saw an overall reduction in their symptoms and improved sleep. This supports the view that yoga can help relieve pain and other common disorders such as high blood pressure and anxiety. One thing that researchers need to determine is whether these yoga benefits are due to a true effect of yoga, or if the participants simply changed their habits. It would be difficult to conduct another study after this one, since participants were closely monitored throughout.
Of course, other health benefits have been reported. Participants reported feeling more emotionally stable and healthier. Stress levels decreased, the mind became more peaceful, and participants said they felt physically better. The health benefits of yoga might be able to reverse the adverse effects of stress and other back pain, and make the participant feel better on a daily basis.
Make Yoga a part of your life!
There are many documented reports of yoga benefits. However, each person is different and there is no way to measure the effects of yoga in a laboratory setting. If you are interested in incorporating yoga into your lifestyle, it is important to speak to your physician first. He/she will be able to advise you about any potential health risks, and provide other support you might need.