So, did you hear that Yoga can reduce stress, help you lose weight, and increase your mindfulness?
And you want to discover if all of these are true?
Well, in this article, you’re about to find out why is Yoga good for you and see 13 evidence-based health benefits of Yoga.
1. Yoga Can Decrease Stress
Everybody’s stressed out nowadays (at least for a little), including you.
So, every tool that can help you reduce and cope with stress better can be helpful.
Thankfully, Yoga can release stress and promote relaxation.
How does it do it?
Well, Yoga decreases cortisol secretion (the primary stress hormone), leading to profound relaxation and helping you feel less tensed.
One study shows that after following a three-month program, the women in the study significantly reduced their levels of cortisol.
More than that, they also had lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
It seems like the effects of Yoga are so beneficial and powerful, that they may be even better than some anti-depressants.
And this claim is backed up by a 131-people study showing that ten weeks of Yoga helped them reduce stress and anxiety. Even more, they improved their quality of life and mental health too.
So, if you pair Yoga with other methods of alleviating stress (like meditation), it can be a powerful tool to keep stress at minimum levels.
2. Yoga Relieves Anxiety
Feeling anxious is your natural state?
I’ve got good news for you.
You see, practicing Yoga is one of the best ways to cope with feelings of anxiety. I know how this feels is because I had panic attacks for years …
And I can tell you that (besides other routine changes), Yoga helped me reduce anxiety levels.
A 34-women study back up my claims, showing that most women (diagnosed with an anxiety disorder) significantly lowered feelings of anxiety.
How did they do it?
They practiced Yoga twice a week for two months.
Interestingly, another 64-women study with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who practiced Yoga once a week had fewer symptoms of PTSD. Even more, 52% of them no longer met the criteria for PTSD at all.
So you know, PTSD characterizes by severe anxiety and fear of following exposure to a traumatic event.
How does Yoga reduce anxiety?
You can’t know it for sure …
Since it’s not entirely clear.
However, Yoga promotes the importance of being present and finding a sense of peace, leading to reduced levels of anxiety.
But let’s go further and discuss #3 of the health benefits of Yoga.
3. Yoga May Reduce Inflammation
Why is Yoga good for you?
Besides the facts discussed above, Yoga helps you reduce inflammation too.
You see, inflammation is usually a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation contributes to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases (like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer).
One study shows the health effects of Yoga by discovering that people who practiced it lowered their inflammatory markers levels than those who didn’t.
In almost the same way, a 2014 study shows that 12 weeks of Yoga can reduce inflammatory markers in breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue.
Even if scientists need to do more research to confirm the beneficial effects of Yoga on inflammation, several studies show the fact that this practice can help against some diseases caused by chronic inflammation.
4. Yoga Could Improve Heart Health
Protecting your heart should be one of your main priorities …
And Yoga can be a powerful tool to help you with that.
Well, Yoga improves your heart health and reduces several risk factors for heart disease by helping you pump more blood throughout your body to supply tissues with nutrients.
And this claim is backed up by studies showing that most participants who practiced Yoga for five years significantly reduced their blood pressure and pulse rate than those who didn’t.
So you know, high blood pressure is one of the main causes of heart disease (like heart attacks and stroke), and lowering it can help reduce the risk of these problems.
More than that, research suggests that introducing Yoga into a healthy lifestyle helps you slow heart disease progression.
Besides lowering blood pressure, practicing Yoga reduces cholesterol (especially “bad” LDL cholesterol) and stops the progression of heart disease.
So, why is Yoga good for you?
Because it regulates blood pressure and helps you prevent heart disease.
5. Yoga Improves Quality Of Life
Who wants to live a better life?
“I do, I do!”
Everybody wants to improve their quality of life, including you.
You may know some tools to help you with that, but let’s discuss a bit about an efficient way to improve your life. And that’s Yoga.
A 135-people study shows that practicing Yoga can significantly improve quality of life, as well as mood and fatigue.
Besides improving your quality of life, Yoga can reduce symptoms if you have cancer.
How do you know it?
One particular study following women with breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy shows that Yoga decreases symptoms of this treatment. It can reduce nausea and vomiting while improving your quality of life.
Even more, one study shows that eight weeks of Yoga reduced pain and fatigue to the participants. Their form of cancer was breast cancer and Yoga improved their invigoration, acceptance and relaxation.
So, the effects of Yoga may include the following: improve sleep quality, enhance spiritual well-being, improve social function, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially if you have rough times.
But let’s go further and discuss #6 of the health benefits of Yoga.
6. Yoga May Fight Depression
Suffering from depression can be hard …
I know it because I’ve been there.
But the good thing is, you can use Yoga as a natural anti-depressant to reduce symptoms of this condition.
It worked well for me, and I’m sure it can do wonders for you too. But not in the short term …
How does Yoga fight depression?
Well, Yoga decreases levels of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone). And by reducing it, your levels of serotonin rise, improving your overall mood.
Studies back up these claims by showing that some alcohol-dependent participants that practiced Sudarshan Kriya (a specific type of Yoga) significantly reduced their symptoms of depression and lowered cortisol levels.
More than that, they lowered the ACTH (the hormone responsible for releasing cortisol) levels too.
So, then …
Why is Yoga important?
Because it helps you fight depression. Alone or in combination with other traditional treatments.
7. Yoga Could Reduce Chronic Pain
So you know, chronic pain is a common problem that affects millions of people. And can have multiple ranges of causes (from injuries to arthritis).
Thankfully, there’s a lot of research showing that practicing Yoga can help you reduce many types of chronic pain.
One 42-people study shows the effects of Yoga on participants with carpal tunnel syndrome who either received a wrist splint or did Yoga for eight weeks.
And, surprise …
The end of the study showed that Yoga is more effective than wrist splinting in reducing pain and improving grip strength.
Even more, a 2005 study shows that Yoga could help decrease pain and improve physical function if you suffer from osteoarthritis of the knees.
However, more research is needed to back up these claims for 100%.
But adding Yoga to your daily routine can be extremely beneficial, especially if you suffer from chronic pain.
8. Yoga Could Promote Sleep Quality
So you know, sleep quality is one of the key aspects of living a healthy life. Alongside diet and exercise, healthy sleep patterns can do wonders for your daily activity.
Poor sleep quality is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, and depression. And, thankfully, introducing Yoga into your daily routine could help you sleep better.
A 2005 study backs up these claims and shows that participants who practiced Yoga fell asleep faster, sleep longer, and feel more well-rested in the morning.
Even more, another study shows that Yoga can improve your sleep quality if you have lymphoma. Practicing Yoga decreases sleep disturbances, improves sleep quality and duration, and reduces the need for sleep medications.
How does it do it?
It stimulates the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness).
As you know by now, Yoga significantly reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, chronic disease, and lowers stress, all of them leading to improved sleeping patterns.
9. Yoga Improves Flexibility And Balance
One of the most important benefits of Yoga is it improves your flexibility and balance.
So, if you want to be more agile and have more fluid movements, adding Yoga to your routine is a great option.
And these claims are backed up by studies showing that Yoga optimizes performance by using specific poses that help you have better flexibility and balance.
One study shows that practicing either Yoga or calisthenics (a type of bodyweight exercise) can make you more agile and flexible.
How much can your flexibility increase?
Well, in this study, the flexibility of participants increased by four times after practicing Yoga or calisthenics.
More than that, a 2013 study shows that Yoga is very efficient if you’re older too. And you can improve balance and mobility just by practicing 15-30 minutes of Yoga daily, especially if you want to increase your flexibility and balance.
So, the effects of Yoga are very beneficial and direct, helping you achieve increased mobility.
10. Yoga Could Help Improve Breathing
Yogic breathing, also known as Pranayama, is a practice that makes you focus on controlling your breath through breathing exercises and techniques.
You release stress, tensions, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, not all types of Yoga incorporate these breathing exercises, so you should always check the practices when you attend a Yoga class.
More than that, by doing these breathing exercises, your vital capacity increases significantly, and you can be better at sports too.
What’s a vital capacity?
Vital capacity is the measure of the maximum amount of air that you can expel from the lungs. And it’s essential if you have conditions like lung disease, heart problems, and asthma.
Luckily, a 2009 study shows that yogic breathing can improve symptoms and lung function in patients with mild-to-moderate asthma.
So, if you have breathing problems, the effects of Yoga can be extremely beneficial for you, especially the Pranayama part of it.
Even more, when you improve your breathing, your endurance improves, and your performance optimizes.
Add a more healthy heart and lungs to that, and you can call yourself Superman!
11. Yoga May Relieve Migraines
Having a migraine can ruin your whole day …
Or even the entire weak.
So you know, 1 out of 7 Americans have recurring headaches (migraines) each year.
Mostly, doctors prescribe medications to relieve and manage symptoms. But most times, these medications only heal the symptoms and not the cause.
And that’s why you should always look for ways to heal the root of the problem.
Thankfully, studies show that Yoga is a useful tool to help you reduce migraine frequency.
To be more precise, a 2007 study shows that practicing Yoga reduces headache intensity, frequency, and pain. The study involved 72 patients with migraines that either practiced Yoga or were into a self-care group for three months. And the results were in favor of those who practiced Yoga.
Even more, researches show that practicing Yoga stimulates the vagus nerve, decreasing the pain intensity of migraines.
So, is Yoga good for you?
12. Yoga Promotes Healthy Eating Habits
How does it do it?
You see, Yoga promotes mindful eating, also known as intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating is the concept that encourages you to be present in the moment while you eat.
It’s all about paying attention to the taste, smell, and texture of your food …
While you notice your thoughts, feelings, or sensations that you experience when you eat.
More than that, Yoga promotes healthy eating habits that help you control blood sugar, increase weight loss, and treat disordered eating patterns.
Studies back up these claims …
And one research involving 54 patients with eating disorders shows that Yoga helped them reduce both eating disorder symptoms and preoccupation with food.
Even more, Yoga can help you decrease episodes of binge eating, increase your physical activity, and help you lose weight too.
As you can see, the effects of Yoga are numerous and very beneficial.
If you’re looking for a complete at-home Yoga workout program, I highly suggest Yoga Burn Challenge by Zoe Bray-Cotton.
Why do I consider this program useful?
Because it helped me lose 30 pounds in 8 weeks. And reduced my anxiety and depression symptoms too.
More than that, Yoga Burn Challenge improved my mobility and flexibility while inducing me a good night’s sleep.
Practically, Yoga Burn Challenge is your how-to manual and step-by-step guide that helps you discover all Yoga poses.
Even if you want to discover advanced Yoga techniques, or you’re a beginner, Yoga Burn Challenge should be your go-to option.