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Therapeutic benefits of Yoga

by Sarah Ayoub

Yoga is extensively recognized as a form of mind-body exercise that integrates an individual’s physical, mental, and spiritual components to improve aspects of health and stress-related illnesses. Evidence shows that stress contributes to the etiology of heart disease, cancer, and stroke as well as other chronic health conditions and diseases. Viewed as a holistic stress management method, yoga induces a physiological sequence of events in the body reducing the stress response. The scientific study of yoga has increased substantially in recent years and many clinical trials have been designed to prove its therapeutic effects and benefits.

Yoga in front of taj mahal

It is important for every individual to be informed about the nature of yoga and the evidence of its many therapeutic effects. 

One who is stable and is at peace with oneself is healthy. That is to say that identifying a healthy person doesn’t only entail physical fitness, but one’s mental fitness is also equally crucial. 

Yoga is an integral part of our lifestyle. It eradicates the impurities from the level of mind and combines everything with the spirit. For instance, insomnia could be related to stress, anxiety, or depression. You have to directly address that issue instead of merely taking medication. This way, you have a wider perception of your own mind, body, thoughts, and emotions and there’s more clarity and you are able to guide your life force in a positive way to progress in life.

One can start practicing the art of Yoga at any given moment of time and you may start with meditation or directly with pranayama without even doing the asanas (postures). Ensure that when you practice yoga asanas, you don’t just stretch the body because the mind has to be in sync with the body. You cannot be watching television or reading the newspaper because if your awareness isn’t present, the asanas won’t have much effect on you. But if each stretch is synchronized with the breath and awareness like in Surya Namaskar, your practice will become a yogic practice.

The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can reduce chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia for some individuals.

Other physical benefits of yoga include:

  • Improved flexibility
  • increased muscle strength and tone
  • improved respiration, energy and intensity
  • sustaining a balanced metabolism
  • weight reduction
  • cardio and circulatory health
  • improved athletic performance
  • protection from injuries

Mental benefits

Apart from the numerous physical benefits, one of the plus points of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have destructive effects on the body and mind. Stress can be disguised in many ways, such as back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches/migraines, and an inability to concentrate, and then Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.

Yoga’s combination of meditation and breathing can help improve an individual’s mental well-being. Constant yoga practice like that of Surya Namaskar Aasanas creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, eases the mind, centers attention, and sharpens our concentration. Awareness of one’s self with their body is particularly beneficial as well because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action. 

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