YOGA is considered a mind-body type of complementary and alternative medicine practice. YOGA brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.
Stress relief: The practice of YOGA is well-demonstrated to reduce the physical effects of stress on the body. The body responds to stress through a fight-or-flight response, which is a combination of the sympathetic nervous system and hormonal pathways activating, releasing cortisol – the stress hormone – from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is often used to measure the stress response. YOGA practice has been demonstrated to reduce the levels of cortisol. Most YOGA classes end with savasana, a relaxation pose, which further reduces the experience of stress.
Pain relief: YOGA can ease pain. Studies have shown that practicing YOGA, meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions.
Flexibility: YOGA can improve flexibility and mobility and increase range of motion. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity.
Increased strength: A regular YOGA practice can also relieve muscular tension throughout the whole body.
Weight management: While most of the evidence for the effects of YOGA on weight loss is anecdotal or experiential, YOGA teachers, students and practitioners across the country find that YOGA helps to support weight loss. Many teachers specialize in yoga programs to promote weight management and find that even gentle YOGA practices help support weight loss. People do not have to practice the most vigorous forms of YOGA to lose weight. YOGA encourages development of a positive self-image, as more attention is paid to nutrition and the body as a whole.
Improved circulation: YOGA helps to improve circulation by efficiently moving oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.
Cardiovascular conditioning: Even a gentle YOGA practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
Presence: YOGA connects us with the present moment. The more we practice, the more aware we become of our surroundings and the world around us. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.
Inner peace: The meditative effects of a consistent YOGA practice help many cultivate inner peace and calm.