Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is a series of poses, or asanas, along with breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. There are many different schools of yoga with varying philosophies and training methods. Today yoga is popular with people looking to lose weight, tone their muscles, or stretch. It’s also used by people with several different health conditions who want to improve their symptoms and quality of life. But what are the benefits and risks of yoga?
- 1 Yoga can reduce back pain
- 2 Yoga can be good for asthma sufferers
- 3 Yoga helps you lose weight
- 4 Yoga can help with osteoarthritis
- 5 Yoga lifts your mood
- 6 Yoga lowers blood pressure
- 7 Yoga improves sleep quality in older adults
- 8 Yoga is good for you, but there are also some risks to be aware of
- 9 Conclusion
Yoga can reduce back pain
Yoga can be a good option for people with lower back pain, but it should be implemented wisely. Yoga offers a host of benefits that can help with lower back pain, and many practitioners feel improvements in their chronic pain after months and years of practice.
However, if the sciatic nerve or other nerves in the spine are affected by sciatica or facet syndrome, certain poses could cause more harm than good. The key is to know what to do—and what to avoid doing—to achieve maximum benefits while minimizing risk.
Before we go into detail about specific yoga practices and exercises that will help reduce back pain, let’s review a few general principles on how yoga helps alleviate this common complaint.
Yoga can be good for asthma sufferers
Yoga can also help people with asthma.
If you have asthma, yoga may help you cope better with the illness and its symptoms. Yoga has been found to:
- reduce stress and anxiety
- improve how well your lungs work
- help you feel more in control of your body, which can boost your confidence
- increase muscle strength and endurance
Many people find that a regular yoga practice helps them feel more in control of their health, including their physical and mental wellbeing.
Yoga helps you lose weight
If you’ve ever thought yoga isn’t a “real” workout, you may want to think again. Yoga is proven to burn fat and calories, boost your metabolism, curb cravings, and improve your mood.
The practice of yoga can do wonders for both your physical and mental health:
- Regulating appetite: Studies have found that yoga reduces stress levels which often leads to overeating or snacking when stressed. By keeping stress levels in check with the help of yoga, you are able to control cravings and eat healthy portions that aid weight loss.
- Increased muscle mass: Yoga helps build lean musculature all over the body which replaces fat more effectively than cardio-focused workouts alone. Lean muscle also burns calories even at rest so as you gain strength from practicing yoga regularly, you will be burning calories at a higher rate throughout the day.
- Reduced stress: Stress is a major contributor to excess weight and obesity in many people due to how it influences eating habits negatively (as mentioned above). The movements of vinyasa flow increase blood flow throughout the body while breathing exercises like pranayama oxygenate the blood further helping reduce stress on a physiological level. With calming music paired with soothing candlelight and essential oils like lavender or bergamot, restorative classes help lower heart rate drastically reducing cortisol (the “stress hormone”) production making it easier for participants to maintain an optimal weight rather than packing on those dreaded love handles!
Yoga can help with osteoarthritis
The poses and stretches that come with yoga can be very helpful in increasing flexibility and mobility. This is especially beneficial to those who suffer with osteoarthritis, as the increased flexibility helps to relax muscles and reduce stiffness. It also helps to lubricate your joints and cartilage, which will help to prevent further degeneration.
In addition to relieving pain through stretching and relaxation techniques, yoga can also improve mobility and muscle strength, which is important since people with osteoarthritis tend to be less active than those without it.
While yoga can be very helpful for many people with osteoarthritis, it’s not for everyone! It is not recommended for people who suffer from certain conditions such as hypertension or cardiovascular disease or have unstable joints due to osteoporosis. Therefore it is important that you discuss this option with your doctor before beginning a program of yoga exercises.
Yoga lifts your mood
Yoga is a holistic practice that, done regularly, can lift your mood and help you feel better overall. It is not a cure-all—just like medicine, or the passage of time, regular yoga sessions have healing effects on the mind and body. The most important thing to know? Yoga is for everyone; whether you’re an athlete looking for a new challenge or recovering from an injury, someone struggling with mental health issues or just someone who wants to feel calmer on their morning commute.
Yoga lowers blood pressure
The ancient practice of yoga has been shown to have multiple health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. A study reported by the Harvard University Health Services finds that practicing yoga may lead to a drop in your systolic blood pressure. For example, in one randomized clinical trial, participants who practiced yoga for four months had significantly lower blood pressure than those who did not practice yoga. Yoga works to lower your blood pressure by helping your body relax, reducing the levels of stress hormones in your body and releasing tension from areas where it tends to accumulate. If you have hypertension, talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine or treatment plan.
Yoga improves sleep quality in older adults
In 2011, researchers from the Harvard-affiliated Osher Research Center found that a regular yoga practice helped improve sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances in older adults. One of the reasons? Participants reported lower stress levels at bedtime. When you aren’t stressed out, your body doesn’t release cortisol, which prevents you from sleeping soundly.
The benefits of yoga reach far and wide—if fact, there’s even a type of yoga for beginners. Yoga can be practiced on its own or with other forms of exercise to vary your fitness routine and prevent boredom. The best part is that anyone can do it!
If you’re interested in using yoga to improve your overall health and well-being, try taking a class at a local studio near work or home so an instructor can make sure you use proper form and prevent injury. You may even want to try out a few different instructors before settling on the right fit for you!
Yoga is good for you, but there are also some risks to be aware of
By and large, yoga is a safe activity to do year-round, with the help of a few helpful tips. Here are some common yoga injuries you’ll want to be aware of:
- Neck Strain: Often caused by applying too much force to your neck during certain poses.
- Wrist Pain: Can occur from using improper alignment in poses that require you to use your hands for support.
- Knee Injuries: Be sure to pay attention to proper alignment when it comes to poses that involve kneeling or squatting.
Now, let’s go over some helpful tips for avoiding yoga-related injuries!
In conclusion, yoga classes, the right type and amount of yoga can have many benefits. Only those with health complications should avoid it. Yoga is beneficial for reducing stress, for improved circulation, for weight loss, for improving sleep quality and anxiety, for reducing illness and longer life expectancy. Also more flexibility and strength, better posture, endurance, balance and muscle tone (for your six pack!) as well as increased oxygen to the heart.