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Why Is Yoga Good For Your Body

Does Yoga Have Long

Yoga to Feel Good in Your Body

Possibly. To be clear, there’s currently no direct evidence on yoga’s long-term benefits. Researchers simply haven’t tracked yogis over a span of 20 years or more and followed up to see whether they get diseases at a lower rate than non-yogis.

But that’s not the whole story. There are also some randomized controlled trials suggesting that yoga may improve quality of life for diabetes patients, reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors, and even help people manage high blood pressure

How can this be? One possibility is that yoga can help reduce inflammation in the body which turns out to be surprisingly beneficial.

You can think about inflammation in two ways. There’s helpful inflammation, as when your body’s immune system mounts a response to bacteria in a cut. There’s also harmful inflammation.When you’re stressed, your body’s inflammatory response can go into overdrive, hampering its ability to fight off viruses and disease. People who are inactive, obese, or eat an unhealthy diet have higher levels of harmful inflammation. And researchers have found associations between inflammation and various chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

“When you compare long-term yoga practitioners to people doing other forms of exercise, you have better body awareness in yogis”

“When you compare long-term yoga practitioners to people doing other forms of exercise,” said Cramer, “you have better body awareness in yogis.”

Can Yoga Really Stimulate Digestion Or Wring Out Toxins

Anyone who has taken a yoga class has probably been exposed to wild claims by the teacher that certain poses will do anything from wring out toxins to stimulate a particular part of the colon and alleviate constipation. But the science backing up these kinds of very specific claims was scant, so I asked one of the researchers, Cohen, about where they come from.

” basing it on personal experience, on anecdote, on the lineage of practice that’s been handed down,” he said. “They are probably not basing it on Western-style analytic techniques that followed a control trial design. We just haven’t gotten there yet with yoga research, testing particular poses or breathing techniques for particular outcomes.”

Yoga Improves Social Relationships

Yoga is typically regarded as an individual activity. While that is partially true, there is a social component to yoga. We go to yoga classes with other people and take part in the yoga community where we can share our experiences with others. For kids, the entire yoga practice is a social one. Yoga for kids typically includes songs, games, and other fun activities that get kids moving together and learning from one another, particularly with partner yoga poses. This creates a positive, engaging environment in which kids can have fun, talk to one another, and learn to trust one another. Yoga also helps to cultivate increased self-esteem, self-confidence, and empathy within kids, which translates to more positive relationships with others by reflecting their positive attitude toward themselves onto others.

Also Check: How Many Calories Does An Hour Of Yoga Burn

Benefit Of Yoga: It Can Help You Eat Better

Research from the University of Washington shows that people who regularly practice yoga eat more mindfully compared to other exercisers. “Yoga encourages you to focus on your breathing, and the sensations in your body,” explains Dr. Zimmerman. “This trains your brain to notice what’s happening your body, helping you pay more attention to sensations of hunger and satiety.” The result: You see food as fuel. No more emotional eating, stuffing yourself silly, and food-related guilt.

Yoga Improves Mental Clarity

Yoga ~ The Benefits

When we attain inner peace in a world full of stress, it helps us concentrate on what we are doing even during difficult times. Studies show that yoga improves our mental focus and clarity, which in turn allows us to perform better.

Just as we need our full focus in a balancing yoga pose, off the mat, yoga helps us set aside any unnecessary thoughts and feelings, and focuses on what is essential.

Interested in yoga poses that can specifically help boost your focus and concentration? Improve Your Concentration With These 10 Yoga Poses

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Beginners Can Start With Breathing

If you’re not ready to jump into the physical poses , breathing is an important part of any yoga practice to get to grips with, too.

‘Deep breathing , to its full capacity, is one of the best yoga exercises for beginners,’ says Indaba yoga instructor, Sabina Ahmadov.

‘You learn how to avoid using accessory muscles to breathe i.e. neck, upper chest and jaw muscles. Learning how to breathe properly before delving into the physical practice is extremely important because it creates a healthy foundation to build a physical practice that is grounding and nourishing.’

How to breathe during yoga

  • Sit in a position that feels comfortable for you and place your hands in your side ribs.
  • Take 10 deep breaths feeling the ribcage expand into your hands and feeling the breath fill the belly at the same time.
  • Exhale gently, hugging the belly in, keeping the awareness on the core.
  • Can Yoga Help Prevent Falls

    Yes. Balance and muscle-strengthening exercise at least twice a week are recommended to reduce the risk of falls, especially in older age.

    However, falls may sometimes be caused by a health condition, in which case it’s a good idea to see a GP or visit a falls clinic at a local hospital.

    Also Check: Where To Learn Kriya Yoga In India

    Yoga Increases Determination And Perseverance

    Yoga is a fun activity for kids, in a non-competitive environment, in which they can learn new yoga poses and breathing techniques. When something is fun for kids, they always want to know more. Kids also love the feeling they get when they master the thing they think they cannot do. For example, Crow Pose. While its so much fun for kids to practice, it can be difficult. But when they learn how to practice the pose and continue to practice it, they are very excited and want to show everyone the new thing they learned at yoga class! This determination and perseverance leads to the feeling of excitement. When this happens, kids will do anything to keep that feeling. In their day-to-day lives, kids will learn that sticking with something, even when it is difficult, pays off and they will want to bring that feeling of excitement to other areas of their lives.

    Guides Your Bodys Healing In Your Minds Eye

    A Doctor Explains Why Taking Time for Yourself Is Good for Your Mind, Body & Spirit

    If you contemplate an image in your minds eye, as you do in yoga nidra and other practices, you can effect change in your body. Several studies have found that guided imagery reduced postoperative pain, decreased the frequency of headaches, and improved the quality of life for people with cancer and HIV.

    Also Check: How Does Yoga Change Your Body

    Helps You Serve Others

    Karma yoga is integral to yogic philosophy. And while you may not be inclined to serve others, your health might improve if you do. A study at the University of Michigan found that older people who volunteered a little less than an hour per week were three times as likely to be alive seven years later. Serving others can give meaning to your life, and your problems may not seem so daunting when you see what other people are dealing with.

    How To Get Started

    If you havent done yoga before, you may want to try a regular yoga class first to see if the instructor and studio are a comfortable fit for you. While there, ask about hot yoga classes and if there are classes that cater to beginners.

    You may also want to try out a few different yoga studios before you commit to one. Ask if the yoga studio offers free or discounted trial classes so you can see if its the right fit for you.

    If youre ready to give hot yoga a try, consider these tips to get started:

    • Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics that can wick away your sweat.
    • Bring a towel to place over your yoga mat, which may get a little slippery once you start sweating. You can also bring an extra towel for your face and hands.
    • Consider special gloves and socks that can provide a better grip in a hot yoga studio.
    • Bring a large, insulated water bottle filled with cold water that you can sip throughout your hot yoga session.

    Recommended Reading: When Can You Start Doing Yoga After Giving Birth

    Top 10 Reasons Not To Do Yoga

    As a longtime yoga teacher, I remember when part of my job used to consist of talking resistant people into trying it for the first time.

    Then maybe they love it, they lose weight, look better, feel more awake and aware, their relationships transform, blah, blah, blah. But most never set foot in a studio, never take that first step onto a sticky mat, sure from what they’ve heard that they won’t like it, or won’t be good at it, no matter how in pain they are physically, mentally or emotionally.

    Well, I’m done with all that.

    Yogis are fond of saying, “save your breath to cool your porridge”. And let me tell you, my pot o’ porridge bubbleth over.

    After 15 years of conversations with two types of people–those who crave personal growth, and those who don’t, I have come to believe that for many people, there are some darn good reasons not to do yoga, beyond the obvious ones, like a body cast or a deep aversion to lycra.

    If you fall into one of these categories, then you shouldn’t ever let some chipper, well-meaning yoga teacher like myself convince you that yoga is the right choice for you.


    1) You enjoy looking 9 years older than you are. After all, Joan Crawford is super hot–so bring on the crow’s feet!

    Researchers have just found that people who do just three 60-minute sessions of semi-vigorous yoga per week, were 9 years younger on average than non-exercisers.

    Have you ever seen the body of a longtime yoga practitioner? Here’s one of me.

    Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke

    Why try Yoga?

    Perhaps unsurprisingly with the studio heated to such a high temperature, one of the major risks of practicing hot yoga is heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

    In research done by the American Council on Exercise, it was stated by Emily Quandt MS that:

    The dramatic increases in heart rate and core temperature are alarming when you consider that there is very little movement, and therefore little cardiovascular training, going on during class.

    She goes on to explain:

    While the excessive perspiration that participants experienced during class is often cited by those who practice this style of yoga as a benefit in terms of the release of toxins, the results of this study show that this sweating was insufficient to cool down the body.

    Also Check: How Many Calories Burned During Bikram Yoga

    Is Yoga Likely To Hurt You

    No, probably not.

    This question first came up in 2012, when the New York Times published a splashy article suggesting that yoga can wreck your body. The piece, adapted from the book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards, suggested yoga caused widespread harm to its practitioners from ruptured disks and stroke to brain injury.

    But that piece was largely based on cherry-picked anecdotes, exaggerating these horrible cases to suggest they were representative of the broader yoga experience when they simply aren’t.

    Cramer has studied published reports of injuries and other harms from yoga for several review and told me this: “We found yoga is as safe as any other activity. It’s not more dangerous than any other form of exercise.” He added: “Yoga is not 100 percent safe, but nothing is 100 percent safe.”

    In a 2013 review of case studies, Cramer identified 76 unique incidents of adverse events from yoga. “Most adverse events affected the musculoskeletal, nervous, or visual system,” he concluded. “More than half of the cases for which clinical outcomes were reported reached full recovery, 1 case did not recover at all, and 1 case died.”

    Most often, people got into trouble with the headstand pose, followed by shoulder stand and postures that required putting one or both feet behind the head

    Yoga Improves Strength And Breath Control

    Yoga takes some strength both mentally and physically. When practiced regularly, we notice many physical and cognitive changes within ourselves, particularly increased flexibility, upper body strength, and mental clarity. All of this newfound strength has much to do with the breath. When we breathe harshly or quickly, we increase muscle tension, reduce focus, and heighten our fight-or-flight response, all of which have detrimental effects on our minds and bodies. Teaching proper breathing techniques, and building physical and mental strength from a young age, helps to reduce the chances of obesity, depression, and depressive symptoms, as well as increases self-esteem, self-confidence, and improves overall wellbeing.

    Recommended Reading: How Tight Should Yoga Pants Fit

    Assists Healthy Weight Loss

    According to the experts, hot yoga is a good healthy way to lose weight.

    A qualitative study that looked at the impact of yoga on weight loss delivered positive results.

    Though the study focussed on yoga in general, Bikram yoga was practiced by some participants who spoke of an aerobic effect that burned calories.

    Overall practitioners reported the respondents having better attitudes to food and embracing more mindful eating.

    Do Different Groups Of People Have Different Experiences With Yoga

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    Much of the research on yoga in the United States has been conducted in predominantly female, non-Hispanic White, well-educated people with relatively high incomes. Other peopleâparticularly members of minority groups and those with lower incomesâhave been underrepresented in yoga studies.

    Different groups of people may have different yoga-related experiences, and the results of studies that did not examine a diverse population may not apply to everyone.


    Recommended Reading: How Many Calories Does An Hour Of Yoga Burn

    Provides A Cardiovascular Boost

    Striking different yoga poses in high heat can give your heart, lungs, and muscles a more challenging workout than doing the same poses in a lower temperature.

    According to a 2014 study, just one session of hot yoga is enough to get your heart pumping at the same rate as a brisk walk .

    Hot yoga also revs up your respiration and metabolism.

    While any type of exercise can help burn energy and reduce circulating levels of glucose in your bloodstream, hot yoga may be an especially helpful tool for people at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

    Yoga Improves Strength Balance And Flexibility

    Slow movements and deep breathing increase blood flow and warm up muscles, while holding a pose can build strength.Try it: Tree PoseBalance on one foot, while holding the other foot to your calf or above the knee at a right angle. Try to focus on one spot in front of you, while you balance for one minute.

    Read Also: Power Yoga Calorie Burn

    Yoga Tames The Minds Million Thoughts

    Yoga and meditation are both about centering the mind. When we calm the mind, we reduce the millions of thoughts that are constantly running through our heads. As a result, you immediately feel more calm, centered, and present.

    Yoga also calms the nervous system, which as a result, reduces stress. Physical yoga poses, breathing exercises, and meditation all work to help lower your blood pressure and heart rate and cortisol levels in the body, which in turn benefit the mind. Try This Guided Meditation for a Calm MindFollow along as YA Classes teacher Carissa Banuelos guides you through a meditation for a calm and peaceful mind.

    In need of releasing some negativity in your own life? Here are 7 Hip Opener Yoga Poses to Release Negativity

    Can Alleviate Sleep Issues

    Yoga for a Healthy and Happy Mind

    You’ve got your sunrise alarm clock, weighted blanket and calming bedtime rituals but good, consistent sleep still evades you. Why? Well, it could be because you’re not actually calming your nervous system down with IG scrolling or passive Netflix watching. The thing that could help you? Yoga, shockingly.

    Research by the Harvard Medical School found that a sustained yoga practice improved both the duration and quality of sleep. Similarly, a study presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Society’s annual meeting in 2015, revealed that people who practise yoga regularly are more likely to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

    We’d recommend a calming Yin Yoga sequence or short, calming flow to help make bedtime as calm as possible.

    Read Also: How Many Calories Does An Hour Of Yoga Burn

    What Are The Risks Of Yoga

    Yoga is generally considered a safe form of physical activity for healthy people when performed properly, under the guidance of a qualified instructor. However, as with other forms of physical activity, injuries can occur. The most common injuries are sprains and strains, and the parts of the body most commonly injured are the knee or lower leg. Serious injuries are rare. The risk of injury associated with yoga is lower than that for higher impact physical activities.

    Older adults may need to be particularly cautious when practicing yoga. The rate of yoga-related injuries treated in emergency departments is higher in people age 65 and older than in younger adults.

    To reduce your chances of getting hurt while doing yoga:

    Betters Your Bone Health

    Its well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Adho Mukha Svanasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana , help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yogas ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.

    Read Also: How To Carry Yoga Mat Without Strap


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