It’s well documented that yoga is very beneficial not only for our mental health but also our physical well being. However, many people do not realize the diverse and somewhat surprising array of benefits yoga can provide. Regular doses of yoga can be a crucial component to attaining the positivity, acceptance, peace and serenity needed for a truly fulfilling life. Not only does yoga benefit you in a spiritual way, but there is also the physical health benefits that you can derive from this ancient Indian practice.
Most of the benefits which are associated with yoga are very well known but some less so. Here are some five benefits of yoga that you may not have heard of:
Yoga as a natural anti-depressant
With the negative side effects of anti-depressant medications becoming more of a worry for people suffering from depression, natural, chemical free alternatives are becoming increasingly attractive.
One particular study involving 90 patients suffering from lower back pain found that after 6 months of yoga, not only was there a positive impact on their pain, but that those with depression experienced significantly less depressive mood swings. Yoga as a holistic approach to treating anxiety and depression must still be overseen by a doctor; particularly in severe cases.
Yoga as a bone strengthener
Once again the fact that yoga strengthens bones has been proven through research by several medical institutes and practitioners. Several studies carried out have indicated that practicing yoga yields great results when it comes to the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
How is this possible?
When you consider that yoga focuses primarily on balance and posture, it teaches participants to correctly distribute their weight throughout their bodies. Yoga allows one to correct joint movement during normal everyday functioning such as walking, sitting and standing. This combined with the fact that yoga has been shown to be an effective way to build bone mineral density.
As an alternative therapy yoga is ideal for anyone who currently has osteoporosis or has a history of the disease in their family.
Yoga as a motivator
Ever heard of the old excuse “My body was willing but my mind was weak?” Many people who make the decision to change their lives in someway invariably end up getting distracted and loosing focus.
Yoga, when practiced for 20 minutes a day, has been shown to improve concentration, cognitive abilities and even memory. The ancient practice was found to be more effective at boosting brain power than conventional aerobic exercise. Mind over matter is certainly achievable with yoga added to your daily routine!
Yoga as complementary medicine
Drugs and alcohol are renowned for never mixing! But what does mix perfectly with all types of medication (even powerful treatments such as chemotherapy) is yoga!
Researchers from Harvard found in an 8 week study that the efficacy of medication used to combat insomnia improved with a few basic yoga exercises while cancer patients who did a bi-weekly yoga session slept much better and were energized through the day.
Breathing exercises taught in yoga are able to relieve stress and anxiety without over-stressing the body or mind, so if you’re currently under medication, and want a natural way to relax, give it a shot!
Yoga as a disease fighter
Our world is full of incurable disease and most individuals who have been diagnosed with any one of these diseases will know how helpless it can feel. A particularly well known fitness expert who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS found that the benefits of switching from regular aerobic exercises to yoga helped her deal with her illness.
Overall yoga is a positive approach to dealing with all of life’s many knocks and bruises.