Top 10 Health Benefits of Yoga

It’s a growing trend that everyone’s talking about and doesn’t seem it’s going to disappear anytime soon! With so many different styles to explore: Bikram, Ashtanga, Sivananda….it’s no wonder that yoga is becoming increasingly popular. But what about the health benefits of yoga? Here’s a list of top 10 health benefits of yoga, let’s see what the ancient, holistic art of posture and relaxation has to offer.   

  1. One of the most widely known health benefits of yoga is that it reduces stress. Researchers from Ohio State University have found that yoga reduces an inflammatory protein involved in stress, which also plays a key role in ageing. The researchers’ next mission is to see if yoga reduces inflammation and fatigue in breast cancer survivors – so watch this space.
  2. Beating the blues. Research has shown that yoga increases positive mood in people with depression, and also reduces negative emotions such as anger and anxiety. The mind and body have always been connected, so it’s no surprise that yoga can work absolute wonders on mental well-being.
  3. It’s a way of promoting flexibility and strength, without damaging bones and muscles. Because yoga is a gentle form of exercise, it doesn’t carry the risk that many high contact sports do, and it increases muscle strength gradually and safely. In fact, research has shown that it is really beneficial for people with arthritis.
  4. Yoga benefits breathing. That’s right – the mindful breathing techniques in yoga actually improve lung capacity, leaving you feeling better physically. It works by making the breath deeper and longer, which is how it plays a part in relaxation.
  5. It can help improve back pain. Scientific research has revealed that participants with chronic back pain who practised viniyoga (a series of yoga postures given in a holistic, therapeutic way) in conventional back exercise classes showed greater improvement in back function at the end of a 12-week programme.
  6. It burns fat and helps reduce calories. Because yoga involves staying still for a long time, some people might question how it can help lose weight. But if it is practised regularly and correctly, yoga helps tone and build up your muscles instead of fat.
  7. Improves posture. When learning yoga, you will progress through a series of different postures as you develop coordination, balance and greater flexibility. This can make you feel more refreshed, and give your confidence a big boost in the process.
  8. It may help boost female fertility. Classes known as “fertility yoga” are becoming increasingly popular amongst women seeking to get pregnant. These particular classes are aimed at opening up the hips and pelvis. As yoga reduces stress, this plays a role in preparing the body for a healthy pregnancy.
  9. Yoga improves concentration and helps you to focus. The “mindful meditation” aspect of yoga actually improves your ability to attend to details. All of this can lead to advantages in your working life.
  10. And finally… helps boost overall health and immunity. Research on gene expression has shown that yoga increases long term immunity, leading to better overall health. This can help you fight off all those nasty colds -another fantastic reason roll out your yoga mat and start stretching!
Victoria McAnerney

Victoria is a keen health enthusiast with a passion for understanding how behaviour can be adapted to live a better, healthier lifestyle. Studying a degree in Health Psychology has helped her to understand the importance of psychology in healthy living and motivational behaviours. In her spare time she enjoys swimming and has recently taken up ballet. At Southampton University she was also part of the ballroom and Latin Dance Society.

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