What are the physical benefits of yoga?

One of the reasons that year after year attracts thousands of people towards the practice of yoga are the numerous physical benefits that this millenary discipline provides. Many of these benefits that yoga gives us are backed by scientific studies and, consequently, doctors and therapists of various disciplines recommend a habitual and progressive practice, adapted to each person and to each moment of their life.
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Obviously, yoga is not a magic potion or the solution to all our health problems, but there is a general consensus about its positive effects on the human organism, which contributes to achieving a better quality and life expectancy. Below we summarize some of the most important:

Strengthens muscles and bones

Yoga helps strengthen muscles but prevents lactic acid from accumulating in the body and does not reduce flexibility. Having a defined musculature protects bones, prevents injuries and prevents diseases such as arthritis.

As for the bones, it has been shown that yoga helps reinforce them and stop the loss of bone mass. Besides, it is essential to prevent injuries and fractures. With yoga, you can also improve body posture, something that directly affects the health of the spine.

Increase flexibility

Beyond advancing in postures, flexibility helps us greatly to avoid injuries. When starting in yoga, the lack of flexibility is one of the aspects that cause more headaches in the practitioner, especially among men. But with constancy and progressively increasing the presence in the postures, we will improve in a very remarkable way. As flexibility increases, many of the muscle aches caused by tensions and poor postures disappear.

Alleviate the pain
With a well-adapted practice, yoga is very effective in relieving most chronic pain such as neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, knee pain, low back pain, chronic back pain, sciatica or fibromyalgia, among others.

It keeps us young

There are recent studies that suggest that yoga and meditation can affect DNA, protecting it from damage and also avoiding and reversing the negative changes that affect the aging process of the body, since it has a direct impact on the activity of the enzyme telomerase, the key to protect telomeres in each cell division. These benefits could also prevent age-related cognitive impairment, especially when combined with meditation.

Burn calories


This is probably one of the benefits of yoga that most appeals to the general public. But beyond aesthetics, what interests us most is that in a healthy lifestyle it is important to maintain a body free of overweight. Some research has agreed that the practice of Vinyasa Yoga involves an average caloric expenditure of 7 kcal/min, which is equivalent to burning about 507 calories per hour.

Improves breathing


One of the fundamental points of yoga is that it teaches us to breathe, more than correctly, consciously. Without the various techniques presented by pranayama, only the practice of asanas already implies a permanent control of breathing and, consequently, a substantial improvement in the oxygenation of the whole organism. Breathing known as abdominal or diaphragmatic, which in the inspiration starts in the abdomen to continue in the intercostal area and end in the clavicle, and in the expiration, it follows the path in reverse, increases the oxygenation of the cells. Besides, breathing deeply and at a leisurely pace slows the heart rate and relaxes the muscles.

Strengthens the immune system and balances the nervous system


Yoga helps reduce the level of cortisol, the stress-related hormone, which as we know is closely linked to health problems of all kinds. By directly affecting this hormone, the practice of yoga increases our resistance to diseases and infections.

One of the secrets of yoga documented in numerous studies is that, by combining dynamic postures with relaxation, it is much more effective as a tool to combat stress than any relaxation exercise that is not accompanied by any other dynamic practice. In this way, besides, it is possible to maintain a balance in the nervous system.

Promotes cardiovascular health


Several studies argue that yoga fights hypertension and lowers blood cholesterol levels, which eventually decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also decreases the accumulation of fat in the arteries and reduces the blood concentration of interleukin-6, a molecule linked to the inflammatory response of the organism and that seems to be involved in heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, artr

The 6 psychological benefits of yoga


We present to you the psychological benefits of basic millenary practice for health, yoga.

Yoga is a very old physical and mental practice that has been spreading throughout the world because of its benefits and because it guarantees a firm body, a stable mind, and a benevolent spirit.

It is an ancient art that has shown extensively that it can improve our quality of life, not only physically but also mentally and spiritually.
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Psychology and yoga


It consists of postures (asanas), relaxation (savasana), meditation (dhyana), breathing (pranayama), kriyas (cleanings), mudras (energetic seals), kirtan (songs), mantra or rituals. In addition to an exercise, for many, it is a way of life that seeks well-being, inner peace and implies a lifestyle that commits to the observation of ethical guidelines, principles of life and adequate food.

Yoga achieves the integration of the movement with the breath until these cease to be two separate entities and become one. His practice becomes an extremely powerful transformation agent that causes profound changes in our health. In fact, its use is seen as preventive or rehabilitative medicine because it stimulates metabolic and anabolic processes and improves the circulation of energy, oxygenating the body. When we talk about yoga, we can not only refer to the physiological benefits (for example, increased flexibility, decreased muscle stiffness, etc.), but we have to mention the positive consequences of emotional well-being on the mind. and the brain

Next, from Psychology and Mind, we present the six psychological benefits of practicing yoga.

1. Reduce stress


The lifestyle of Western societies can lead many people to suffer stress, causing psychological health problems such as depression, anxiety, etc. A study by Thirthalli and Naveen (2013) shows that treatment with yoga reduces cortisol levels, a hormone that is released in response to stress.

Cortisol is necessary for the body since it regulates and mobilizes energy in stressful situations, but if we have too much or it increases in situations that we don't need it, it produces many side effects. By practicing yoga we can lower the levels of this hormone, and therefore, reduce stress.

2. Improves sleep


Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter that is derived from an amino acid called tryptophan. Send messages within the brain and through the nervous system, and participate in many processes such as regulating mood or appetite. Besides, one of its main tasks is to increase the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.

To achieve a peaceful rest, serotonin also intervenes in the control of stress and body temperature. "The practice of yoga increases serotonin levels so it helps you sleep better," explains Dr. Murali Doraiswam, author of a Duke University study that included the review of more than 100 research papers on yoga.

3. It improves the mood


As we have commented in the previous point, serotonin (5-HT) also regulates mood. Low levels of 5-HT are associated with depressive and obsessive behaviors. An investigation by Cabral, Meyer, and Ames (2011) found that regular yoga practice produces significant improvements in patients with depression and anxiety similar to physical exercise, due to the increase in serotonin.

Another neurotransmitter that seems to influence this aspect is GABA. A recent study from Boston University and the University of Utah has shown that there is also an increase in this neurotransmitter in yoga practitioners.

4. Extends the life and prevents degenerative diseases


American researchers from the Harvard University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts General Hospital have shown, after a study, that yoga and meditation increase the size of telomeres, structures that are located at the ends of chromosomes and which are directly related to aging, the development of certain pathologies and even premature death.

The study concludes that there seems to be a positive correlation between healthy and large telomeres, and the increase in longevity, the prevention of degenerative diseases and the health of people. Doing yoga only 15 minutes a day is enough to produce biochemical changes in the brain and neurons.

5. Improve concentration


Yoga practitioners improve concentration, coordination, reaction time, memory, learning and show a greater ability to solve problems according to a study by Neha Gothe, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. According to his research, published in The Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 20 minutes of yoga a day is more beneficial at a cognitive level than a session of intense physical activity.

6. Improves the relationship and sexual relations

According to Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer for the American Exercise Council: "Yoga can result in better sex because it will help your flexibility and strengthen your pelvic muscles." A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that yoga can treat premature ejaculation and improve sexual satisfaction.

Besides, as other research from British Columbia University mentions, stress reduction thanks to the practice of yoga increase libido and sexual vitality. Therefore, by improving sex life in different ways, it is possible that the relationship also benefits.

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