I was a cheerleader in high school and for one of my practices, instead of doing gymnastics to warm up, my team did yoga. Afterwards, we all felt extremely relaxed and stretched out. My senior year of high school, my psychology went to weekly yoga classes and always told my class how much more relaxed and stress free he felt afterwards. The combination of these two things made me start to wonder, what are the health benefits of yoga. Yeah you are meditating, stretching, and relaxing, but does yoga doing anything long term for you or is it basically just an average workout?
This article talks about an experiment that was conducted to see how well yoga improved your physical and mental well-being. When you do yoga your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and your sympathetic nervous system are provoked by a stressor. This causes changes in your physiologic, behavioral, and psychological effects as a release of cortisol and catecholamines. This causes energy to engage with the stressor through “fight or “flight” syndrome. When this cycle is repeated enough times, over time it can reduce many types of diseases. Such as obesity, diabetes, depression, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders. Yoga can also slow down your heart rate, your salivary cortisol, blood glucose, and plasma rennin levels. The article also states that yoga is proven to relieve the side effects that stress has on the body.
This is another article I looked at that talks about the different types of yoga and how they are each beneficial in their own way. Some types are more intense than others, some use props, some are even done in extremely warm temperatures. Yoga tones your body while relaxing you at the same time. This article also talks about practicing yoga with a medical condition, but they also talk about practicing yoga if you have arthritis since yoga does not add any extra pressure to your joints, instead it helps you relax. They also mention that practicing yoga while pregnant can be a great way to stay in shape (with the approval of your doctor).
This article was written by an osteopathic physician who also practices yoga. Some of the psychical benefits you can get from doing yoga are:
- Muscles become more toned and stronger
- Breathing, stamina, endurance
- Weight loss
Those are just a few physical benefits that they have listed. Practicing yoga regularly can also make you more alert and able to concentrate better. Being more aware of your body can also help you avoid future physical complications.
All in all I think yoga is a very beneficial workout. Now, I’m not saying that all other workouts should no longer be practiced, but yoga definitely has more benefits for your mental and physical well being.