Yoga, originally Sanskrit for “joinery” or “hesion”, is an ancient holistic discipline or philosophies that originated in India. In its most common form, yoga is one of the seven orthodox (school) religions practiced by millions of people in the world. Yoga has been known to promote flexibility and well-being. In addition, it has been known to be an effective means of achieving inner peace and enlightenment. There are many different forms of yoga, however, the most common among these are Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.
Yoga consists of a set of physical exercises, which are collectively referred to as yoga postures. These postures are intended to enhance the body and to promote relaxation. Most of the basic postures are suitable for beginners who wish to improve their physical well-being. Yoga helps in the development of mental and spiritual balance. It also helps in the relief of stress and in achieving psychological wellness.
Anxiety is known to be a common symptom of several physical and mental disorders. In fact, it has been found that a majority of people suffer from some type of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Studies have shown that yoga has significant effects in the reduction of stress and depression. Regular yoga practice helps in the relaxation of the muscles and the improvement of the immune system. It also promotes the better functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems, leading to an overall sense of well-being. Regular yoga practice reduces the symptoms of headaches, insomnia, asthma, migraines, and weight gain, as well as improving the skin condition.
In addition, yoga has significant effects in reducing the risks of heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic degenerative diseases. These studies show that regular yoga practice not only reduces stress, but it also improves cardiovascular health and decreases the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The improvements seen in these diseases are due to the ability of yoga to regulate cardiovascular responses to stressors, according to the study conducted by the Department of Human Services Research Institute at the University of Minnesota. Yoga also regulates blood glucose levels and reduces cholesterol. It also increases the synthesis of “feel good” hormones such as serotonin, which has a positive effect on mood and anxiety.
In another study followed by the American Heart Association, researchers found that the use of yoga was beneficial in controlling coronary artery disease and blood pressure. Yoga is also known to be effective in lowering the risk of stroke, while increasing cardiac output. A recent study followed by the British Heart Foundation showed that yoga is useful in improving blood flow to the brain in people with mild hypertension. The participants of this study had an average age of 75, and they were instructed to follow a yoga program for four hours a day.
The participants had an average of three experiences of low back pain, with three of them being severe. They were instructed to continue practicing yoga for ten weeks. During this ten-week period, the participants had an average of eighteen percent less low back pain than they had before they began the program. Yoga can reduce stress by reducing muscle tension, increasing circulation and relaxation. It has also been shown to increase flexibility, strength and muscle tone.