A growing body of research has been showing many health benefits of integrative yoga practice. Today we’re going to learn about the top 5 yoga benefits, the main reasons I practice yoga on my active recovery days.
Top 5 Yoga benefits
- Quality of Life. Yoga is associated with health-related quality of life improvements (HRQOL). Different practice components, such as meditation and postures, are associated with different benefits. In a cross-sectional analysis of 309 healthy adults, people who practiced meditation and breathing exercises showed higher scores in mental-health life quality. On the other hand, people with more years of postural practice scored highest on physical aspects of HRQOL (Birdee, Ayala & Wallston 2017).
- Lower-back pain and arthritis. Yoga may be as effective as physical therapy for chronic lower-back pain (Saper et al. 2017). It may also help people with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis (Cheung, Park & Wyman 2016).
- Heart disease and diabetes. Yoga may reduce heart disease risks. Heart health improves as a preventative measure or after a cardiac arrest (AHA 2013). Yoga practice may also help people with type 2 diabetes. A study of yoga and people with type 2 diabetes found that yoga is effective in lowering blood-glucose levels. Yoga can also help glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, blood pressure and cholesterol levels (Cui et al. 2017).
- Anxiety, depression and PTSD. Yoga practice may benefit those with anxiety, depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yoga practice that includes breathing, movement and deep relaxation appears to modulate stress response systems and, as a result, helps people regulate stress and pain responses (Harvard Health Publications 2009).
- Inflammation and immunity. Yoga practice reduces inflammation and boosts immunity. Research shows that people who regularly practice yoga exhibit decreases in inflammation, increases in chemicals that fight inflammation, and higher levels of antibodies in the blood. These all indicate immune system health (Stephens 2017).
Do you practice yoga?