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Yoga has been around for centuries, but in recent years its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds.
It seems like everyone from the barista at Starbucks to stars such as Jennifer Aniston are rolling out their mats, getting their OM on and praising the benefits of yoga.
“Hey, wanna go check out that new yoga studio with me? I hear it’s pretty awesome.”
“Dude, seriously- yoga changed my life.”
“Your back hurts? That sucks. Have you tried yoga?”
“Yoga helped me lose weight, but more than that, I’m actually comfortable with the way I look!”
If you’ve found yourself here, it’s very likely you’ve heard some variation of the statements above, and probably a combination of them to boot. Everyone swears by it, and they all seem to think YOU need it, too.
The benefits of yoga are many – far more than any one list can offer. From blood pressure to back pain, from anger to depression and anxiety, yoga is powerfully beneficial to your overall health.
In fact, the term yoga is loosely translated from the Sanskrit, meaning “to yoke”. This means a union of body and spirit, perfect harmony of the breath and movement.
Novices and advanced practitioners alike discover new benefits of yoga practically every time they step on a mat. After all, it’s not a one-size-fits-all; your practice is YOURS and yours alone.
You’re not the same person you were yesterday, and your practice won’t be the same tomorrow as it is today.
Here we’ve compiled a list of 71 (yes, SEVENTY-ONE!) amazing benefits of yoga.
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, you will soon realize that there’s a lot to be gained from yoga!
From the obvious physical benefits of strength, flexibility, and balance to the more subtle and spiritual changes yoga can bring about within your daily life, this isn’t just some trend – it’s a way of life.
Quit Smoking with Yoga
It’s easy to stop smoking.
The hard part is to not start again.
Thankfully, scientists have discovered a valuable addition to the smoking cessation tool-kit:
A pilot study at The Miriam Hospital compared two eight-week treatments for women trying to quit: a twice-weekly Vinyasa yoga program or a general wellness program. After the program, the yogi women had less anxiety and a better sense of well-being. Most importantly, more women were still off cigarettes after the program as well as six months later.
Yoga Helps Addicts Recover
Recovering from addiction is a long and difficult journey. A pilot study shed light on a valuable alternative therapy for this process.
Researchers in India offered recovering drug addicts were offered either a yoga therapy program or a conventional de-addiction program. After six weeks, the yoga group showed significant increases in self-confidence and optimism compared to the traditional program.
Slow the Signs of Aging with Yoga
Youth doesn’t have to be wasted on the young. New research indicates that certain lifestyle changes can delay aging and prolong your youthfulness.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported promising results on test of yoga adoption. The patient suffered from obesity, fatigue and lack of motivation.
After just 10 days of yoga and meditation practice, the patient’s test results showed a reversal of age markers, including signs of DNA repair.
Yoga Boosts Your 'Fountain of Youth Hormone'
If there’s no anti-aging pill, yoga might be the next best thing.
Human growth hormone (HGH) is often looked at as the real “fountain of youth.”
It keeps your skin tight and supple, increases your bone density, repairs damaged tissue, boosts metabolism and prevents muscle loss.
Levels of Growth Hormone circulating in the body decrease as we get older, which is part of the aging process.
An Indian study looked at growth hormone levels in adults who participated in a 12-week yoga program. Both men and women showed a significant increase compared to the control group.
Balance & Mobility
Better Balance & Mobility Using Yoga
Life can be a balancing act. Stay more balanced with yoga.
A review in the Age and Aging Journal looked at multiple studies where yoga was used to improve balance in seniors. The overall result indicated that the practice resulted in improvements in balance and even bigger improvements in mobility.
Yoga not only improves balance, but provides a safe exercise to maintain agility.
Improve Bone Density with Yoga
Strong, healthy bones are important. So, why do they start to decline as we age? Fortunately, there’s evidence that yoga can reverse that trend.
A long-term study at the Rockefeller University tested the impact of certain yoga poses on affect bone density. Women practiced the poses for just 12 minutes a day for ten years. Those that fully or even moderately followed the program saw improvements in bone density.
Well-chosen yoga poses can build bones and stand tall as you age.
Yoga Can Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
A review published in the Journal for Diabetes Research revealed that yoga practice promotes significant improvements in multiple management factors. Researchers compiled over 30 studies of Type 2 Diabetes and yoga treatment.
Here’s what they found:
There was a positive result for key factors such as glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition. There was also preliminary indication that yoga can help lower blood pressuer and medication requirements.
Yoga Helps Regulate Blood Glucose Levels
Tracking blood glucose is crucial for diabetics. A long-term yoga practice can assist by regulating blood levels according to a study published in the International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health.
Over two years, half of the study group took a yoga class four times a week. The other group had no yoga class. The results showed a decrease in fasting blood glucose level and glycated haemoglobin. It also revealed a improvement in haemoglobin for the yoga patients.
Yoga as a Complementary Therapy for Urologic Disorders
Yoga is being seen more and more as a valuable tool in patient treatment. A review in the World Journal of Urology highlighted the benefits for patients with urological conditions.
Focused on hatha yoga, a prescribed practice increases endorphin release. More endorphins means more control of pain and stress. Patients also felt a better sense of well-being.
The most interesting finding?
Patients found a sense of accomplishment and control over their chronic pain which was not there until they practiced yoga.
Yoga Eases Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
Its name is obvious. Its symptoms are a real pain. Thankfully, research shows that Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS can be treated with yoga.
A research review published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology looked at how yoga treated IBS symptoms. Compared to no treatment, patients practicing yoga found significant improvements in quality of life, overall improvement, and physical function. Even compared to conventional treatment, yoga therapy significantly decreased bowel symptoms, severity, and anxiety.
Ease Osteoarthritis Pain with Yoga
Do stairs make you shudder? If you suffer from osteoarthritis, stairs can seem like a steep challenge.
Research out of the University of Minnesota offers some relief. A group of older women with knee issues were assigned to an eight-week yoga program or a wait-list. Yoga treatment included one class and four home practices weekly.
The results were impressive.
With yoga, women showed a significant improvement in knee pain, stiffness and function. The results continued weeks after the program ended and even with a reduced yoga practice.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Assisted with Yoga
Social interaction and imitation is an important part of a child’s development. For children with autism spectrum disorder, these imitation skills are difficult to acquire, and impede later socialization.
A ten-month integrated yoga program revealed significant increase in these skills. As reported in the International Journal of Yoga, researchers reported that children’s posture and facial imitation movements improved.
Yoga Can Ease Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, affects over 2.3 million people globally.
As there is no cure yet, managing the symptoms is a crucial part of patient care. Researchers at Oregon State University compiled studies testing yoga as an MS therapy.
Here’s the good news:
The body of research reveals that yoga practice reduced depression, pain, stress, blood pressure and stress. It also increases lung capacity, bladder function, strength, flexibility and overall quality of life.
Yoga as a Treatment for Bronchial Asthma
Feels good, doesn’t it? However, for people with bronchial asthma it’s not that easy.
Take a deep breath.
Fortunately, a study published in the British Medical Journal points to yoga as a treatment. Over 50 patients took part in daily yoga exercises involving a range of techniques. After two weeks, patients had fewer asthma attacks and required less medication compared to the control group.
Yoga Is a Complementary Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complicated disease that is difficult to diagnose. Once diagnosed, research suggests that yoga can help provide relief.
Scientists at Kyushu University completed a study on patients who were not having success after six months of conventional treatment. Patients were assigned either conventional therapy combined with yoga or conventional drug treatment.
In the yoga group, fatigue scores decreased significantly compared to the medication treatment.
Minimizing Migraines with Yoga
A migraine can ruin your day or your week. Thankfully, a regular yoga routine can reduce their intensity.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Headache Society (and they would know!). Patients were treated by yoga therapy for three months. The participants showed a decrease in every migraine characteristic: from medication required to length to anxiety level. More yoga means less migraines.
Life After Cancer Better with Yoga
After surviving cancer, treatment still isn’t over. Yoga can be a tool that nurtures health in survivors.
Breast cancer survivors took part in a seven-week yoga program. Researchers at the University of Calgary looked at the participant’s physical and emotional health. There was a significant improvement in quality of life and emotional well-being for survivors in the program. This pilot study shines a light on the further potential benefits for survivors.
Yoga Improves Stroke Recovery
Stroke rehabilitation is often a long, challenging process. Research from Indiana University points to yoga practice as a valuable mental and physical exercise for patients.
The study offered an 8-week program for both in- and out-patients recovering from a stroke. Participants demonstrated better balance and flexibility. Their steps were stronger and faster than without the yoga program.
By improving muscular control, yoga supports post-stroke strength and endurance.
Yoga Can Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Do you love yoga? Well, yoga loves you. Specifically, it loves your heart health.
Research reported in Reuters Health studied people at risk of heart disease. These patients with metabolic syndrome have multiple risk factors, including obesity and high blood pressure. Along with regular treatment, they completed daily yoga stretches and meditation. In just three months, multiple key heart indicators improved.
Long-term Yoga Good for Cardiovascular Health
If you can’t be young, you can at least be young at heart.
Scientists are discovering that a year’s worth of yoga can help your heart feel young again.
A study from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University treated middle-aged and older adults with risk of heart disease with yoga. After one year, the participants had a smaller waist and a lower blood pressure. Both of these are important indicators of a young, healthy heart.
Yoga Supports Cardiac Health
It’s better before, but it’s also good afterwards. That’s what scientists found when reviewing research on yoga and heart attacks.
The report, titled Yoga in cardiac health, investigated yoga’s benefits. The mind-body connection in yoga offers heart health benefits, including hormone release. These benefits are known for prevention. The review indicates positive results for recovery, too.
While more yoga research and expertise is needed in hospitals, this practice provides a valuable tool for patients and their heart health.
Yoga as an Alternative Blood Pressure Treatment
High blood pressure affects almost 60 million adults in the United States. Many patients are seeking alternative treatments. A study out of Kent State University reveals that yoga could be that promising alternative.
Patients with high blood pressure (not severe enough for medication) were offered two treatments. For two years, participants followed either a mindfulness-based practice or a muscle relaxation therapy.
The yoga and mindfulness patients showed significant decreases in blood pressure. For people who prefer lifestyle changes, these results point to yoga as a valuable treatment option.
Yoga Can Keep Your Heart Rate Healthy
Is your heart keeping secrets from you?
Cardiac issues can go without symptoms until it’s too late. Thankfully, heart-rate variability is a non-invasive tool to study those secrets. A lower rate means a higher risk.
To move that rate in the healthy direction, a German study found that yoga to be a valuable tool. Participants practiced yoga, other relaxation or nothing at all. The yoga practice showed a significant increase.
Boost Your Immunity with Yoga
Got the sniffles? A complete yoga workout can fend off your next illness. Scientists at the University of Oslo found a surprising effect on your immune system.
A yoga program combining stretches, breathing and meditation exercises revealed immediate changes at the genetic level. This practice improved immune cell function over other relaxing activities. These rapid changes can offer long-term health benefits.
Memory and Cognition
Stretch Your Memory Muscles with Yoga
A deep stretch, a renewed calm, and …a better memory? A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that yoga’s physical movement can translate to spatial memory.
The study tested children’s memory before and after attending a yoga camp, a fine arts camp and a group of non-camp kiddos. After camp, the young yogis showed a 43% increase in memory scores.
It turns out your yoga practice could be helpful the next time you can’t find your keys!
Yoga Helps Mitigate Cognitive Decline
Forgetfulness can be a concerning symptom of aging. Thankfully, researchers from the University of Adelaide found an important activity to prevent that cognitive decline.
The study tested seniors who reported memory issues. For three months, the participants either practiced mental exercises, like crosswords, or practiced yoga daily. Both groups showed improvement in verbal memory. However, only the yoga group showed a significant improvement in spatial memory.
Lesson learned: Don’t forget to do yoga!
Feel Better and Be Sharper with Yoga
It’s the battle of the gym classes! Will it be yoga or aerobics? A thesis from the Roger Williams University revealed that it is a close match.
Can you guess the winner?
Participants took either a yoga or aerobic class. Then, they were given a series of tests. The results showed that both classes improved concentration, stress, energy and well-being. However, yoga took the lead. Only the yoga participants showed improvements in mood and self-satisfaction.
Yoga for the win!
Yoga Helps Students Get Better Grades
Go to class, study hard and practice yoga. Perhaps it’s a surprising academic addition. However, research published in the International Journal of Yoga points to yoga as a study tool.
Eight hundred students were put in groups: high-stress, low-stress and control. Participating youth took part in a seven-week yoga program.
Did yoga make a passing grade?
Yogi students scored higher in academic tests than the control group. While low-stress students performed better than high-stress, yoga overall supports students’ studies.
Sharpen Your Memory with Yoga
Where did I …?
Is this a question you often ask yourself?
Perhaps you could use more yoga in your week. Scientists have studied how yoga can impact memory, and the results are promising.
Research out of the University of Alabama tested combined yoga and standard memory training for seniors. After nine hours of training, participants had made significant gains in memory performance and efficiency. A number of seniors even progressed to a higher functioning memory group.
A Burst of Yoga Will Boost Your Brain
Feeling unfocused? Not absorbing anything?
Don’t worry, a quick twenty-minute yoga session will have you back on track.
Yes, research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health showed that one quick session can have impressive results. Study participants either had hatha yoga or aerobic exercise session. Post-exercises, the yoga group scored much better on tests assessing absorption and use of new information as well as focus.
Long-term Yoga Builds Your Brain
This is your brain.
This is your brain on yoga.
Scientists in Spain have discovered that long-term yoga practice increases your brain’s grey matter.
Participants with a minimum of five years of daily yoga practice showed overall grey matter increases as well as specific increases in the parts of the brain responsible for attention, self-control and compassion.
Yoga Improves Children’s Classroom Performance
Reading, writing, and …yoga? A study shows that yoga in schools produces positive results for the classrooms and the students.
Researchers in California investigated the results of a yoga classroom program. With a two-day training, teachers incorporated daily yoga practice into their teaching, including breathing, stretching and visualization. Teachers, parents and students reported positive results from the practice.
Most importantly, the students felt an improvement in the mental, social and physical well-being.
Yoga Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
As we get older, our hippocampus shrinks. While it can be a natural process, it is one of the early indicators of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Fortunately, yoga can not only stop the loss, but reverse the trend.
A small study at India’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences took an MRI of seniors’ brains before and after yoga therapy. Seniors on yoga showed an increase in hippocampus size.
These early results indicate an important way to keep your hippocampus happy.
Unleash Your Creativity with Yoga
While logical thinking is important, creative thinking can solve complex problems. Both halves of the brain have something to offer. So, how do we access the creativity locked in the right brain?
A study at the University of Pennsylvania tracked the progress of new yoga practitioners. Their practice included three months of training and a specific routine.
After the three months of practice, their creative right hemispheres were significantly more activated than pre-yoga.
Menstrual Health & Menopause
A Better Menopause with Yoga
Menopause ain’t always easy. When insomnia and other symptoms arise, it’s nice to know yoga can help.
Yoga was used as a treatment for postmenopausal women suffering from insomnia. The study, published by The North American Menopause Society, looked at the women’s symptoms and quality of life after the treatment. The yoga treatment not only reduced the severity of their insomnia, but also improved their quality of life and reduced climacteric symptoms.
Reducing the Pain of PMS with Yoga
Is it that time of the month?
If premenstrual symptoms, or PMS, have got you down, there is research pointing to a unique solution. A study from Taiwan used yoga as a PMS intervention. Women took part in a 12-week yoga program, and reported their symptoms before and after.
Here’s what they found:
After the yoga practice, women reported decreased cramps, medication needed, abdominal swelling and overall physical function. A win for women!
Yoga Can Help Treat Depression
Mental health issues are complicated and often difficult to treat. More and more studies are looking at yoga as a treatment for depression. Researchers out of the UK compiled results from multiple studies to see the big picture.
The good news:
Whether mild or severe mental health state, yoga showed positive results. All different types of yoga interventions were used and all showed the same outcome. Yoga should be investigated as a depression treatment option.
Yoga Can Help Treat Anxiety
Anxiety is a serious disorder that can alter your daily life. One Iranian study investigated if yoga could provide relief.
Women who suffered from anxiety were assigned to treatment at a yoga studio twice a week. Compared to the control group, the women’s perceived anxiety levels significantly reduced after two months of classes (yes, just two months!).
The scientists suggest that yoga can be used as an additional or alternative treatment.
Yoga Can Help Treat Depression, ADHD and Schizophrenia
Psychiatrists could be prescribing yoga along with mental health medication. A review of research points to promising benefits for a range of disorders.
The report out of Duke University found that yoga offered significant benefits for people suffering from depression. In children, yoga also helped manage ADHD. Along with medication, yoga treated patients with schizophrenia.
New Ways to Treat Trauma with Yoga
Yoga is disrupting traditional trauma treatments. Research reported in the American Psychological Association suggests this shift in therapy.
The study tested different treatments for PTSD. Women participated in either a series of hatha yoga classes or a discussion-based therapy group. The yoga program significantly decreased the symptoms of PTSD compared to the more traditional therapy. Yoga increased their focus and sense of empowerment.
Yoga Increases Pain Tolerance
They say, ‘no pain, no gain’.
Well, what if less pain was an option?
Researchers at McGill University tested the pain tolerance of yoga practitioners. By using sensory testing and MRI, they discovered that the yogis were able to tolerate twice (twice!) as much pain as the control group.
Test revealed that yoga trains your brain in different ways to manage the senses.
Yoga Strengthens Social Bonds
Yoga is known to be a positive internal practice. It turns out to also benefit interpersonal relationships.
A study out of the University of Maryland reviewed written comments from over 1000 people who practice yoga. The results revealed that practitioners felt they were more patient, kind and self-aware, which improved their social relationships. Classes also grew their social circle and increased their sense of belonging.
It seems the friends who do yoga together, stay together.
Yoga Can Strengthen Your Relationship
Are you happy in your relationship?
Are you a good partner?
Answers to these questions could be found within a yoga practice. A report from Auburn University compiled the available research of mindfulness and relationships. Mindfulness, which is cultivated in yoga practice, turns out to be a crucial factor.
The key finding?
Higher levels of mindfulness results in higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
Sexual Health & Fertility
Yoga Improves Sex In Many Ways
A study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (thank you, science!) looked at the connection between sex and yoga.
Sexually-active women participated in a 12-week yoga program. Not just any yoga program, but one that focused on poses to improve abdominal and pelvic muscles, joints, and mood.
Women were asked about desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, pain, and overall satisfaction. After the program, women reported improvements in every. single. domain. Hot yoga now takes on a whole new meaning.
Yoga can Minimize or Reverse Sperm DNA Damage
How healthy are things ‘below the belt’?
Stress can affect sperm all the way down at the genetic level, even causing infertility.
But don’t let this news stress you out. A research review from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences determined that even short-term yoga and meditation improves sperm DNA.
After just 10 days, health markers improved, and continued after six-months of practice. Damage caused by stress can be minimized and even reversed by doing daily yoga.
Yoga Can Support Fertility
First comes love, then comes yoga, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.
Not the poem you were expecting? Well, yoga has been proven to improve fertility according to a report in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge.
A combination of specific postures, breathing and meditation can treat infertility in both men and women. These exercises stimulate hormone levels and increase blood and nutrient circulation to reproductive organs.
These exercises also provided the added benefit of decreased stress and increased sexual stamina. (Thanks, yoga!)
Have a Happier Pregnancy with Yoga
A study at the University of Miami Medical School tested the impact of yoga on pregnancy, in particular when women suffer from depression. At around 22-weeks pregnant, women were offered a tai chi/yoga program. The women participated in a 20 minutes group yoga session for 12 weeks.
Women in the tai chi/yoga practice were less depressed, had less anxiety, and enjoyed better sleep.
Yoga Can Improve Newborn Health
A healthy baby with hearty weight.
That’s the goal of the new parents. There is research out of the Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation that offered pregnant women a daily health program: either one hour of yoga or two 30 minute walks.
The results were surprising.
The yoga group showed significant increases in birth weight and had lower numbers of preterm labor.
Yoga Helps You Sleep Better to Live Better
Sleep is important. Good sleep is even more important. If you’ve ever tossed and turned, try adding yoga to your routine.
The study Impact of Long Term Yoga Practice on Sleep Quality and Quality of Life in the Elderly looked at the effect of six months of yoga. Seniors who practiced daily showed great improvement in their sleep quality. Anyone who’s has a bad night’s sleep knows it can affect your day. As you’d expect, the research showed that yoga also improved their quality of life.
Spine Health & Posture
Yoga Improves Your Spine’s Flexibility
Does your back feel tight?
Scientists at Poland’s University of Physical Education investigated how best to help you loosen up. A study program consisted of 90 minutes of hatha yoga once a week for 13 weeks.
For both men and women, there was a significant increase in spine flexibility for both forward and lateral movements plus an increased range of motion when twisting. Researchers also found a noted improvement in the men’s ability to bend backward (what a nice surprise!).
Yoga’s Got Your (Lower) Back
Adults who suffered from chronic or recurrent lower back pain participated in a 12-week yoga program. The UK study compared their results to the back pain usual treatments. The yoga practice yielded better improvements in back function.
What’s even better?
The improvement lasted for up to 12 months following the program. Swapping long-term pain for long-term gains with yoga!
Yoga Improves Your Posture
Are you sitting up straight right now?
If you’re like most people, probably not. Modern life (and cell phones!) shift our bodies into bad posture habits. Yet, a good yoga practice can help you stand tall.
A review from Texas A&M University showed that yoga strengthens important muscles for posture. Yoga poses build up the muscles of around your neck and spine. These stronger muscles sooth the aches caused by bad posture.
Stress & Well-Being
Destress with Yoga: It Works!
Are your shoulders tight? Is your mind racing?
You just might be stressed! Stress can sneak into all parts of modern life. Fortunately, yoga is a valuable antidote.
The Role of Yoga in Stress Management investigates the links between your physical and mental state and stress. The report shows that yoga’s postures boost your system’s natural processes, including blood circulation and hormone function. The meditation helps stabilize the autonomic nervous system.
These physical benefits make yogis more resilient to stress and long-term health conditions.
Yoga Increases Your Feeling of Well-being
Feeling well, with some yogic help.
A research review from Anton de Kom University of Suriname compiled studies that looked at the impact of yoga on mental health. In particular, they were interested in how it affects the general population outside of clinical treatment.
They found that yoga caused a significant increase in psychological well-being compared to no intervention at all.
Yoga Improves Overall Mood
When you’re feeling stressed or down, a physical outlet is important. But, which one is the most useful to change your mood?
Research from Boston University compared two very common physical activities: yoga and walking. For twelve weeks, participants did an hour of their activity three times weekly.
So, which activity is best?
The yoga participants reported a greater improvement in mood and decrease in anxiety than their walking counterparts.
Feel Better at Work with Yoga
Stressed at work?
You’re not alone. Research is showing that yoga can significantly improve your well-being at work.
A study out of the UK tested a six-week yoga program on university staff. At the end of the program, employees felt seriously better. The yoga participants felt less anxious, confused, depressed and tired. They also felt more satisfied, self-confident and had a great sense of life purpose.
So, the next time work has you got you down: try a downward-facing dog!
Yoga Gives Children an Emotional Toolkit
Patience is a virtue, they say. It’s one of the many virtues yoga can teach children. To understand its influence, a doctor compiled the research on youth yoga.
Yoga teaches breathing and awareness. These skills assist the child’s ability to step back and manage stress calmly (what a treat!). As children grow, yoga helps them be accepting of their body. Yoga can even help with teen angst. Yes, yoga’s mindfulness gives teens the tools to be less impulsive and navigate challenges.
Yoga Promotes Positive Self-perception
As the wise James Brown said, “I feel good! I knew that I would, now.”
You too can know that you’ll feel good, with just a bit of yoga.
A pilot study in Brazil tested personal well-being before and after a yoga program. Post-program, participants self-reported improvements in their well-being. In particular, there was improvement in self-control, self-perception and body awareness.
Yoga Can Build Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is an essential part of our emotional intelligence. It can be difficult to build self-esteem at any ages, but students can have it particularly tough. A study from Islamic Azad University highlights a new tool for supporting mental health.
Researchers studied the difference between university students who took part in a two-month yoga training program and those who did not. The yogi students showed a significant reduction in stress and an enhanced self-esteem.
Avoid Burn-out with Yoga
Burn-out can take the best people out of important roles. Nurses are a key group who face continuous emotional and physical challenges.
How can we take care of our caretakers?
Research published in Workplace Health and Safety piloted a study on yoga for nurses. Participants completed eight-weeks of practice. Compared to the control group, the yogi nurses reported significantly higher self-care, mindfulness and less emotional exhaustion.
Yoga Can Strengthen Morality and Spirituality
What’s the difference between college students and yoga students?
Surprise! There’s no punchline, but actual research from Old Dominion University. Sociologists compared survey results between the two groups.
The yoga practitioners reported having strong morals and values. In addition, they were more able to express their feelings and be considerate of others. While college students surprisingly reported more mental wellness, yoga students were more connected to their spirituality and how it can impact quality of life.
Weight Loss, Fitness and Physical Performance
Lose Weight and Keep it Off with Yoga
Stepping on the bathroom scale doesn’t need to be scary. A study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine revealed that long-term yoga practice can help with weight management.
Researchers looked at the physical activity and weight of over 15,000 adults. When yoga was practiced for four years or more, it was responsible for shedding over 3 pounds for people with normal weight. For overweight participants, yoga shed over 18 pounds! Plus, regular yoga practice can help maintain weight.
Yoga Builds Healthy Eating Habits and Fights Cravings
Food can be a joy. It can also be an enemy. Yoga helps turn it back into a friend. A study published in Qualitative Health Research discovered a shift in just three months.
Researchers studied yoga as a treatment for binge-eating. A 12-week yoga program was offered to obese women. Their personal journals revealed a healthier relationship with food and decreased the quantity consumed. In addition, the yoga treatment increased their feelings of self-empowerment and positivity towards their physical well-being.
Lower Your BMI with Yoga
Isn’t it just a number?
Yes, but an important one. Your body mass index or BMI can be an important indicator of physical well-being.
To maintain a healthy number, scientists at Northcentral University found clear link between healthy BMI and yoga. It turns out that the longer someone has been practicing yoga, the lower their BMI.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a lifer to see a positive impact. Researchers found a dose-effect: for each increase in yoga, there was a decrease in BMI.
Yoga Breathing for Better Abs
How many crunches does it take to get great abs? Alternatively, how many yoga breaths does it take?
A study out of Lomo Linda University compared the activity of the abdominal and oblique muscles during two exercises: ab crunches and yoga breathing. Participants completing the breathing exercise showed comparable performance to the abdominal crunches.
And that’s not all:
With longer duration, the yogic breathing increased the ab muscle work up to 5 times greater than the crunches.
While this reaction to stress is an important part of our evolutionary background, this reaction can cause long-term harm at the genetic level. This response produced a molecule that causes cellular inflammation. While helpful during stress, it has been linked to cancer and accelerated aging.
So, what’s the good news?
Yoga Increases Your Vitality
Nothing beats that feeling of vitality. Now scientists are investigating how to bring vitality to people even in the most trying times.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology looked at the impact of yoga practice on breast cancer survivors.
Survivors practiced hatha yoga twice weekly for 12 weeks. At the end of the program, vitality was higher than the control group. Three months after treatment, the yoga group reported lower fatigue and higher vitality.
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