Yoga is not just about doing a few joint, muscle or stretching exercises every day. It is a combination of three things: different postures, breathing patterns and meditation.
A few minutes of yoga during the day can relax both your body and your mind, by releasing tension that accumulates in the muscles, and pacifying your overworked brain.
Yoga exercises not only keep the joints healthy, but also bring relief to people suffering from arthritis. Keep in mind that you should always listen to your body during yoga, and modify poses based on your own physical conditions.
There are eight energy centers or “chakras” in the body through which humans absorb cosmic energy. Yoga can purify these and keep the positive life energy flowing. From the base of the spine up to the crown, these chakras are named mooladhara, svadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddha, anja, bindu, and sahasrara, respectively.
According to a Norwegian study, yoga boosts the immune system on a genetic level.
The regular practice of yoga can reduce food cravings, and subsequently, the habit of overeating. A University of Washington study claims that this happens because yoga increases the awareness of the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.
Practicing yoga has proved to improve relationships. A relaxed, happy and contented mind is better equipped to deal with relationships of every kind—professional and personal.
Yoga improves cardiovascular health, which reduces the risk of heart disease. People suffering from heart ailments, however, should consult a doctor before practicing yoga, and should tell their yoga instructor about their condition.
Started in New York in 2002, it is a type of yoga by which people establish harmony with their dogs. The pets are either used as props for their owners, or they can do light stretching exercises themselves.
Lose the flab
Yoga is an ideal and risk-free way for losing those extra pounds. Sun salutations (surya namaskar) and kapalbhati pranayama are especially effective for weight loss.
A 2013 study claims that yoga therapy could benefit people living with depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions. Other research has demonstrated the efficacy of yoga as an add-on therapy to improve withdrawal symptoms and social cognition.
Helpful in OCD
A study at the Institute for Nonlinear Science, University of California, has shown that people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder saw a significant reduction in symptoms when they practiced Kundalini yoga regularly.
Regular yoga is a good antidote to sleep disorders. A Harvard Medical School study found that eight weeks of daily yoga practice improved the quality of sleep in many people suffering from insomnia.
As yoga exercises involve controlling muscle movements and stretching the body, the postures rush more blood to different organs. This results in improved sexual performance and confidence in both men and women.