Yoga: A Mindful Practice for Healthy Living

Looking for a new way to relax and ease stress? Practicing yoga may help. According to research conducted by Harvard Medical School, “yoga is known for its ability to soothe tension and anxiety in the mind and body.” Yoga has proven as a unique way of helping quiet your thoughts after a busy day at the office, or a long day of obligation. Finding the time to incorporate this practice in your everyday routine may help you in more ways than one. Not only can yoga relax you by working on breathing techniques, mindfulness and posture, it can provide a great fitness and cardiovascular benefit. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, one study states, “researchers studied a small group of sedentary individuals who had not practiced yoga before. After eight weeks of practicing yoga at least twice a week for a total of 180 minutes, participants had greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.” Could you squeeze a session in? Adding an evening session before bed or a morning flow could significantly improve your lifestyle and mood. It can be as easy as grabbing a mat and setting up at home. There are several online resources that can get you started. If you find yourself looking for a little more guidance, research a local yoga studio or teacher.

If you aren’t convinced yet, here are a few other findings:

  • Researchers have begun to question if this practice can aide with depression, arthritis, and improve the chance of survival when diagnosed with cancer.
  • “Several small studies have found yoga to have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors: It helped lower blood pressure in people who have hypertension. It’s likely that yoga restores “baroreceptor sensitivity.” This helps the body sense imbalances in blood pressure and maintain balance.”
  • In one study, published in the journal Spine, people with back pain who did two 90-minute sessions of yoga a week for 24 weeks experienced a 56% reduction in pain. They also had less disability and depression than people with back pain who received standard care, such as pain medication. “
  • For individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes yoga has reduced their need for medication.
  • “In a 2014 study of 36 women with knee osteoarthritis, those who did yoga experienced significant improvements in their symptoms compared with women who didn't do yoga.”
  • “In a 2015 study, women with rheumatoid arthritis reported improvements in their physical health, walking ability, pain levels, energy, and mood, and had significantly fewer swollen and tender joints, after doing two hour-long yoga classes a week for eight weeks.”

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat

https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/physical-benefits-of-yoga