Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has both preventative and therapeutic benefits. Yoga asanas (postures) stretch, extend, flex, and exercise the muscles and the joints. When done in addition with pranayama (breathing techniques), yoga stimulates circulation, digestion, and the nervous and endocrine systems.

The 5 most cited reasons Westerners begin practicing Yoga are:
1. Heal an injury
2. Strengthen a weak back
3. Increase flexibility
4. Manage stress
5. Promote relaxation

Other documented health benefits include:•Relieves chronic stress and tension patterns in the body
•Increases lung capacity
•Improves ability to handle stress
•Reduces chronic pain
•Controls cholesterol and blood-sugar levels
•Lengthens, strengthens and tones muscles
•Improves function of breath, digestion, and circulation
•Lengthens spine and corrects posture
•Improves muscular-skeletal conditions (ex.bad knees, tight shoulders and scoliosis)
•Improving the function of the internal organs and endocrine systems thereby relieving pain
•Relaxes the nervous system (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, seizures)
•Improves immune system
•Promotes healthy body awareness
•Improves sleep patterns
•Sharpens concentration
•Quiets the mind

Resources: B.K.S. Iyengar; Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, H. David Coulter; Yoga Journal

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