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August 20, 2011

The many other benefits of Yoga

by yogamaistro

Yoga, an age-old Indian practice, is associated with integrated physical, mental and spiritual awakening. In terms of modern interpretations, it generally refers to the asanas as forms of exercise and meditation. As an alternative medicine, Yoga has reached new heights of popularity in West and East alike. As of today, Yoga instructors all over the world are successfully guiding masses towards physical and mental improvement through the various low-impact physical exercises of Hatha Yoga, or the more strenuous Bikram Yoga or Power Yoga.

Musculoskeletal Benefits

All forms of yoga require the body to hold posture and balance, thereby strengthening muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. People suffering from back and neck pain, stiffness in muscles have been benefited from the less demanding Hatha Yoga. Power Yoga, which keeps the body in constant movement, has been conclusively proven to increase athletic agility and core strength. Researchers are of the opinion that yoga actually increases bone density. This is a significant finding that can help millions of people suffering from osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Like all other fitness regimes, yoga helps in weight loss as well and not merely by burning calories during workouts. Yoga includes breathing exercises that increase lung capacity and metabolic processes, thus mobilizing fat stores faster. The various postures help reduce local fats that are otherwise difficult to eliminate.

Often, physicians prescribe Yoga to heal minor skeletal injuries and muscle sprains. Even minor skin burns are healed by Yoga which increases blood circulation in the injured area.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Many patients suffering from high blood pressure have opted for Yoga and found it beneficial. Hatha Yoga, especially, lowers heart rate and blood pressure by helping even circulation of blood throughout the body. Power Yoga is an effective form of cardio workout that increases strength of heart muscles. Yoga is one of the few types of exercises that help massaging all the internal organs and glands. This natural stimulus helps fighting diseases and keeping the body in sound order.

Yoga and Mental Health

Physical benefits aside, Yoga is a popular form of psychological therapy. The breathing exercises help people focus their energies and concentrate. Children suffering from attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity have been able to relax and concentrate after extensive yoga meditation routines. Generally, yoga practitioners are easily able to cope with anxiety, stress, depression and erratic mood swings. Many victims of trauma have turned to yoga to find inner peace and spiritual calm.

Other Benefits

Fatigue and insomnia are two major problems plaguing people all over the world; Yoga has been found beneficial to people suffering from either. Regular Yoga controls erratic sleep patterns, resulting in deeper sleep. In women, symptoms of menopause have been minimized by specific Yoga postures like the Mountain pose, the Warrior pose, the Triangle pose and the Standing Side Stretch pose. By increasing flexibility, Power Yoga helps minimize injury among athletes. Increased endurance and will power is another benefit of this practice. By stretching different visceral organs and the digestive tract, Yoga stimulates the body to flush out toxins.

Although there are countless benefits of Yoga, it is advised to consult a physician before starting the workout.

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