Yoga is known for stress reduction and the promotion of relaxation. Many studies have shown that yoga decreases the release of cortisol, which is the hormone primarily responsible for stress. One study followed 24 women who were emotionally distressed. After 3 months of regular yoga practice, they had lower levels of cortisol and felt less stress, anxiety and depression.
Yoga is a wonderful way to cope with anxiety. Studies have shown this to be true, as well. In fact, one study of women diagnosed with anxiety disorder took classes for 3 months. The practitioners of yoga had lower levels of anxiety than the control group. Another study looked at post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After 10 weeks of yoga, 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PSTD. That is impressive.
Heart health is necessary for the health of your entire body. Studies have shown that yoga can help promote heart health. One study found that one year of yoga plus dietary modifications and stress management helped heart-disease participants lower their cholesterol and the progression of their heart disease had stopped in nearly half of them.
Studies also show that yoga can decrease symptoms of depression. One study found that after practicing Sudarshan Kriya, a type of yoga that focuses on breathing, for just two weeks, participants had fewer symptoms of depression. Yoga is helpful combined with traditional methods of treatment.
Yoga is often practiced before bed, and for good reason. One study found that elderly patients who practiced yoga, instead of taking herbal supplements or the control group, fell asleep faster, slept longer and felt more well-rested.
Many people take up yoga to gain flexibility and perfect their balance. A recent study found that after just 10 weeks of yoga college athletes were much more flexible than their control group counterparts. That’s one good reason to take it up!
You know that yoga can help with flexibility, but you should also know it can help with strength as well. One study showed that adults who performed 24 Sun Salutations six days a week for 24 weeks significantly increased their upper body strength, endurance and lost weight. Those are amazing results.