Yoga is a moral discipline exercised to acquire peace of mind, body, and soul. If carried out with deep relaxation, it minimizes stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, obesity and heart disease. As yoga can assist bring about better health, certain practices of yoga might target, and eventually enhance specific health concerns. As all workout provides physical benefits, yoga is different. It does not only provide protective mental and physical benefits, but it teaches breath awareness as well as a number of breathing routines to reduce stress, maintain strength and energy. Therefore, yoga can benefit both mental and physical health to people of all ages, and in this discussion, we are going to look at the main mental and physical benefits associated with yoga.
Mental Health Benefits
Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Feeling stressful and nervousness can really bring about mental illness. Feeling worried, frustrated, and nervous can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure. The deep breathing carried out in yoga relieves stress hormones hence feeling relaxed. Besides, the relaxation, fluidity, and calmness of Yoga have shown to relieve stress and anxiety. Research carried out at the University of Utah showed that people with poorly controlled stress responses are more responsive to physical pain as well. While yoga affected the inception of pain, their stress and nervousness declined (O'Brien 58). Lessening of stress leads to lowering the levels of depression through controlled breathing routines.
Carrying out yoga exercises can enhance the functionality of brain with any yoga technique. There certain Yoga practices that have been proven to stimulate the nervous system and brain, hence improving the mental focus and attentiveness. Research done at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champion indicated that yoga enhances focus and cognition. One can process information faster, more precisely and learn as well as retaining and updating information more effectively. Besides, as yoga is well known to relieve anxiety and stress, this in turns sharpens concentration (Johnson and Melody 73).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
This is one of the conditions that people develop once exposed to a traumatic incident. The major symptoms associated with this condition include recurring flashback, high levels of anxiety, numbing the memories of the incident, and avoiding the people or thoughts linked with the event. Physical ones include a severe headache, chest pain, muscle pain and tension, urinary disorders, sleeping problems, and fatigue. Such event includes serious injury, death, violent crime, or victims of natural tragedies. Yoga can really assist in such instances, and the first step should be to connect the body and mind through breathing and bringing recognition to whatever is happening now. Strong emotions and feelings can be felt and relived through emotions as the mind becomes calm and still and the body enables the emotions to pass. A more in-depth level of existence will enable the mind-body complex to be at peace and create positive thoughts and get into a transformative stage. If done severally, the yoga practice will bring long-term comfort as well as a new aspect of life to people with PTSD.
Yoga has also shown to enhance Gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA. GABA is a chemical found in the brain that regulates nerve system. GABA exercise is minimized in people with stress, mood and anxiety disorders. Promising research done by Chris Streeter from Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues showed that Yoga exercises enhanced levels of GABA hence minimized anxiety and improved mood based on mental changes. After a severe yoga session for people who frequently exercised yoga, there was a 27% upsurge in brain GABA levels (Streeter et al. 1147). Yoga stimulates certain brain parts hence giving rise to changes in GABA.
Helps to Gain Self-Confidence and Mindfulness
Chronic and uncontrollable stress have a great impact on self-confidence. Uncontrollable and chronic stress leads to changes in moods and appetite and with time, these signs might lead to overeating and general body discomfort. However, yoga exercises promote the flexibility and strength of the body, and long-term yoga exercises enhance these factors hence increasing self-esteem. Besides, yoga rises mindfulness. Mindfulness is actually a combination of mind and body that enable people to control their feelings and thoughts as well as mental health. Mindfulness plays a significant role in syncing with sensations and is actually a simple meditation exercise that minimizes stress, reinforce the immune system, and enhances social relationships. It also improves self-insight, personal feeling and relieves fear.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Enhance Levels of Respiratory Fitness
This refers to the fitness of lungs, blood vessels, and heart. The healthier the respiratory system, the lower the risks of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart conditions. Therefore, breathing and asana techniques enhances the mechanical efficiency of the lungs through conditioning the breathing tract, which improves the strength and elasticity of the lungs hence reducing g the risks of getting heart diseases. Research conducted by 287 college students at Ball State University showed that there was a significant improvement of the capacity of their lungs through enhancing the elasticity of the rib part, back and shoulders hence enabling the lungs to expand efficiently (Capouya 78-79). Therefore, the body can carry and use oxygen efficiently by doing yoga exercises.
Yoga for Weight Loss
When it comes to calorie-burning, yoga is actually not the best as compared to the standard ways of cardio like running and cycling. However, yoga can help lose weight through relaxation. As one practice yoga, there is a deep sense of relaxation to the mind and body hence relieving stress, and weight loss start to occur naturally. Yoga is renowned for its stress-relieving benefits, and a relaxed body is a healthy body (O'Brien 88). Therefore, the levels of stress hormone will decrease, and cortisol is diminished in the body hence encouraging weight loss. Besides, some yoga poses like power yoga can help lose weight if combined with other cardio practices through burning calorie. Yoga generally helps lose weight through the efficient and successful management of stress that minimizes the chances of stress eating, increase mindfulness hence planning for healthy eating habits and enhanced body awareness precisely in regards to hunger and satiety.
Improves Muscular Strength
The levels of muscular fitness refer to the muscular strength that is, how heavy one can lift an object, as well as muscular stamina, that is, for how long one can lift an object. Improved muscular fitness improves the stability and coordination of the body and keeps it stronger and fit. Yoga poses especially standing poses, balancing and inversions poses builds more strength since they need sustained contractions of small and large muscles (Capouya 155). These yoga techniques hold more time that enhances this training impact. Therefore, the more one practices yoga, the more the person can maintain the procedure with less effort hence improving the muscular strength.
Improves Flexibility and Balance
Flexibility is a crucial indicator of levels of fitness and health. It enhances the range of motion, prevent the stiffness of connective tissue and lengthens the muscles. Loss of flexibility is mostly associated with more chances of getting injured and pain while improved flexibility promotes the movement of the spine, elbows, shoulders, knees as well as other joints. Yoga stretches the muscles and is suitable for enhancing flexibility and develops the upper body strength rapidly. Besides, the muscles respond by being larger and able to carry and hold more oxygen hence improving the strength and endurance of the muscle.
Minimizes the Risk of Injury
Practicing yoga is an excellent way of warming up during sports and more specifically an ideal tool for post-injury recovery. During such instances, a yoga therapist and physician are of importance for better guidance. If properly exercised, the risk of injury during yoga session is very minimal as compared to other kinds of exercises. While the injured muscles cure, they become tighter where scar tissue forms, lessening flexibility as well as limiting the movement in the injured part. Yoga exercises encourage flexibility since the stretching posture enable the scar tissue to break down quickly without any hindrance as it heals. Also, the gentle movement improves the flow of blood to the injured part that transports nutrients and eliminates toxins to and from the injured area hence improving the healing procedure (O'Brien 120). Therefore, yoga exercises reduce risk injury with the help of a physician and yoga therapist for better advise on the best and fast techniques.
Regular and proper yoga practice keeps the body healthy and flexible irrespective of the age or level of fitness. It enables one to remain calm, mindful and present even during the time of hardship or pain. Yoga can also be applied to prevent and cure debilitating diseases that might else hinder someone from doing regular life activity. Yoga can also have a great effect on the mental health and well-being of a human as one can manage anxiety and stress, involve meditation, focus on breath, increase self-confidence and feel psychologically and physically better. Therefore, yoga is of benefit in the human body and to ultimately benefit from yoga and increase levels of fitness, practice yoga regularly.
O'brien, Elizabeth. Turning Stress into Success: Understanding, Managing, and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Panic Disorder. CreateSpace Independent Publishers. 2012.
Johnson, Brad, and Melody Jones. Learning on Your Feet: Incorporating Physical Activity Into the K-8 Classroom. Routledge, 2016.
Streeter, Chris C., et al. "Effects of yoga versus walking on mood, anxiety, and brain GABA levels: a randomized controlled MRS study." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 16.11 (2010): 1145-1152.
Capouya, John. Real Men Do Yoga: 21 Star Athletes Reveal Their Secrets for Strength, Flexibility and Peak Performance. Health Communications, Inc., 2010.
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Essay on Yoga for Overall Good Health. (2022, May 22). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-on-yoga-for-overall-good-health
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