By Amy Barbasch, DPT
Have you been looking to try Yoga? Here are just a few of the many health benefits that Yoga may provide.
Improves Flexibility and Balance- Yoga commonly incorporates poses and movements that work on muscle flexibility and balance training. Studies have shown that yoga not only improves flexibility and balance but can therefore improve athletic performance.
increased muscle strength and endurance- Yoga is commonly known to improve flexibility, however the practice can also help to increase strength and improve endurance. A number of yoga poses are used to build muscle tone and endurance with prolonged holds and repetition.
Improves posture- A number of yoga poses work to combat the modern day posture that can be easy to achieve through desk and computer work. A number of poses encourage spine extension combating the seated ‘flexed’ spine, as well as work on strength and endurance of the upper back and postural musculature helping to improve overall postural endurance.
Helps train proper breathing- Yoga incorporates movement with breath. It can help to train the use of the diaphragm to not only improve the function of breath, but reduce the use of accessory muscles. This can help to improve breathing and lung function.
Improves bone health- Weight-bearing exercises done against gravity have been shown to improve bone density and overall bone health. Yoga incorporates weight bearing through many joints of both the upper and lower body helping overall bone health and fighting osteoporosis.
May help to improve sleep- Yoga has been found to increase the secretion of Melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for regulating sleep. Studies have also shown that yoga can reduce the need for medications to help one sleep.
Decrease Stress- Many studies have shown that yoga can help with relaxation and decrease stress by decreasing the secretion of cortisol the primary stress hormone.
May help to reduce depression- This may be because yoga is able to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression.
May help decrease Inflammation- Inflammation is a normal and needed immune response, however chronic inflammation can be a leading cause of pro inflammatory disease and pain. Some studies have shown that yoga may reduce inflammatory markers in the body and help prevent pro-inflammatory diseases and chronic inflammation.
May help to reduce Chronic pain- Although further research is needed on this, studies have shown that Yoga can help to reduce chronic pain in patients and improve overall physical function.
May help combat Migraines- 1 in 7 Americans deal with migraines each year; characterized as severe recurring headaches. Commonly migraines are treated with medications. Studies have shown that yoga may stimulate the vagus nerve helping to reduce migraine intensity and frequency.
Whether you are an avid Yogi or looking to try a new form of exercise, Yoga has been found to be a safe and great form of activity. Roll out your mat and enjoy a Yoga class for International Yoga day!
13 benefits of yoga supported by science: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga#section14
38 Health Benefits of Yoga: https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit