Yoga has been known worldwide to increase flexibility, reduce stress, and center balance. However, many use yoga to do more than maintain their wellbeing. Yoga’s health benefits can stretch you into health by easing asthma, boosting your immune system, treating chronic back pain, depression, migraines, and even diabetes.
The word yoga finds its roots in Sanskrit, which means “to yoke” the mind and physical body together into one by intertwining breathing practices and exercises. According to the National Institutes of Health’s division for “>Complementary and Alternative Medicine, yoga is one of the top 10 complementary health practices, and its popularity is rapidly growing.
Currently, in the United States, more than 13 million adults practice yoga. Between 2002 and 2007, two million people joined the meditative practice, which includes breath control and can seamlessly be modified to suit various levels of fitness, each type with its own historical background. Ranging from ,”>ashtanga, which is one of the oldest forms and considered the foundation of modern Westernized yoga.
As a very athletic form of yoga made up of six intensive series of postures, it’s unlike hatha yoga, which ashtanga takes breathing lessons from. Hatha is a holistic path that includes physical postures but bases itself on breathing and meditation, which makes it a great way to gently introduce yoga practices for people new to yoga. The number one reason people use yoga for complementary health practices is to treat back pain. In total, 16 percent of yogis practice for medical conditions, while another 10.5 percent use it as a treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. Meanwhile, 22 percent said they use yoga because their doctors recommended it.
A majority of those who practice yoga in the United States — 58 percent — do it to maintain their health and wellbeing. It’s well-known that yoga provides many stress management and relaxation benefits, and in some medical centers, such as the cardiac center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angelos, Calif., yoga is used as a primary therapy to decrease stress and high blood pressure in patients with heart disease.
Exercise is a great way to set healthy blood flow throughout the valves, but experts believe yoga’s meditative components may give it an extra boost to help stabilize the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. When the endothelium becomes irritated, it becomes a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease; however, yoga’s power to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol can help ease tension on the lining to decrease risk of heart attack or stroke.
Thanks to the breathing techniques that provide a basis for yoga, asthma sufferers can benefit from the chronic inflammation that causes attacks and dangerous swollen airways. The NIH highlights yoga’s true health benefits for those with lower back pains, as it is the number one reasons use it to complement their health treatments.
Those who used yoga as a treatment approach said it had significantly lessened their disability, pain, and depression after six months compared to chronic back pain patients in standard care.Depression is increasingly being treated with yoga, as researchers from Boston University School of Medicine in collaboration with Harvard’s McLean Hospital found the patients who practice yoga for one hour had a 27 percent increase of an important neurotransmitter, GABA. There are low levels of GABA in depression patients, which means an increase of GABA could be treating an unknown underlying factor, according to the Yoga Health Foundation. Continue reading >>