Yoga is a discipline originating in India where meditation practices of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism converge. There are many types of yoga and also many reasons to practice it. Some do it for a spiritual commitment or personal enhancement and others for personal benefit. In fact, most people in the West practice it for its physical benefits.
It is an ancient practice, to the point that no one exactly knows when it was formed. But the adoption of yoga as a practice in the Western world has occurred in a much more recent period. Above all, since it’s linkage to the spiritual well being and health benefits, it was adopted by the rest of the world.
Although it is very likely that you can find Yoga schools near your locality, thanks to its globalization, many prefer to take yoga courses in India. In India, one will find the best yoga practitioner and master’s. Those who wish to practice it professionally, or adopt it as a lifestyle, take the idea of learning the discipline from its foundations seriously. For more information, visit kavaalya.com.
Much is said about the benefits of yoga. However, many still relate it to religious practices and dismiss their positive aspects as a challenge to their beliefs. Reality is that yoga is taken by many as a purely physical practice. Many of the best courses in India are suitable for those who are not religiously involved with the practice.
Many of the yoga positions require muscular endurance. Positioning the body to rest on certain parts for long periods puts stress onto the muscles that generate an increase in muscle mass and strengthens them. Of course, this is not equivalent to lifting weights in a gym, but just enough to support one’s weight and help maintain a healthy muscle mass index.
Bones and Spine
It improves posture, which has repercussions on the spine since the main cause of problems in that area is terrible posture. Just as it helps improve muscle mass, it does so with bone mass, preventing diseases such as arthritis.
One of the most amazing things about yoga is seeing people in their 70s with the flexibility of children. It may seem an exaggerated statement, and not everyone may achieve such a feat, but if anything, yoga increases one’s flexibility. Increased mobility is one of the most noticeable benefits. Although it is progressive, the person must adapt to movements within their capacity until they generate greater strength and flexibility.
Prevents cardiovascular disease
If one hasn’t practised yoga before one wouldn’t be aware that it is an activity that puts a lot of work physically onto the body.
This helps in burning calories and lowers cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease, so reducing its levels and the fat in the arteries is a preventive measure to curb cardiovascular disease.
Prevents degenerative diseases
Different studies (among which are those carried out by the Harvard University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts General Hospital) have shown that yoga and meditation contribute to increasing the size of the telomeres.
Telomeres are structures located at the ends of chromosomes and are directly related to aging, as well as different pathologies or even premature death.
These studies concluded that there was a positive correlation between healthy and large telomeres and the increase in years lived, the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and the general health of people.
Just as yoga has proven physical benefits, it has psychological benefits as well. These are not mystical ideas of healing, but direct consequences of the practices carried out those influence humans and benefited them mentally.
Improves memory and concentration
One of the main techniques of yoga is breathing. One learns to breathe and perform diaphragmatic breathing, which begins in the abdomen and ends in the clavicle. This type of breathing is done by being aware.
This is achieved by concentrating on the fact that you are breathing and how you are doing it and by inertia, as is the custom. The correct way to breathe is to be aware of inhalation and exhalation to control both the way you breathe and the rhythm.
This process allows for better oxygenation of the body, including the brain. Brain oxygenation has notable benefits in memory and concentration, although it actually helps with most processes by contributing to the better functioning of the brain.
Yoga employs many exercises that reduce the production of cortisol, the hormone that produces stress, thereby allowing people who practice it to have better control in stressful situations. Cortisol not only causes stress but also contributes to diseases by weakening the immune system.
It has been demonstrated that yoga helps increase serotonin levels and that this leads to improved sleep. The doctor Murali Doraiswam carried out a review of more than 100 research papers on yoga and found that yoga helped to sleep better thanks to its ability to increase serotonin levels.
However, we have also talked about how serotonin contributes to improving humor and appetite.
Low serotonin levels have been shown to contribute to depressive and obsessive behaviors. In a 2011 research by Cabral, Meyer, and Ames, it was found that practicing yoga on a regular basis significantly reduced depression and anxiety.
Why? For the same reason, sleep levels were improved: increased serotonin. It should be noted, however, that yoga is not the only practice that contributes to increasing serotonin levels. Exercise, for example, also does it.
The neurotransmitter GABA also influences, which has also been shown to be increased among yoga practitioners.
There are different types of yoga for different people, including individual yoga therapies for cancer patients, the elderly, children, and others because each person requires a different approach to enjoy its benefits. If you practice it frequently, you will soon notice these benefits, so do not hesitate to dedicate a part of your time to it.