by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
Yoga is a set of practices that involve the mind, body and spirit in a quest to find permanent peace or equilibrium. Originating in Ancient India and practiced in several Eastern Asian religions, yoga was brought to the West by Hindu monks in the late 19th century. In the 1980s, Hatha yoga became popular in the West as it was introduced as a form of exercise. Many surveys and studies have shown that practicing yoga, correctly, has many health benefits, physically and mentally. In fact yoga benefits can be grouped into categories: physiological, biochemical and psychological.
Practicing yoga helps to relax and cleanse your body. The muscles and bones in your body are strengthened. Your muscles get toned while your organs and glands improve their efficiency in secreting hormones needed by the body. The lymphatic system in your body gets stimulated such that more toxics in your body are removed. Injuries can be lessened due to increased blood flow in your articulations. Your nervous system will be more equilibrated and more responsive. The lungs will be able to get more oxygen from each breath and your gastrointestinal system will be better at digesting and extracting the nutrients and vitamins from the body.
Doing yoga stretching will release tension in our muscles and relax them, reducing body aches. As a result you will experience less stress and feel with more energy, as yoga will increase energy flow within the body. Your skin will look better and younger. Other benefits of yoga include improved agility and improved hand to eye coordination, which come handy with sports.
From these physiological improvements in our bodies, we can expect to prevent and control many illnesses that result from excessive chemicals in our bodies. These chemicals, either natural or synthetic, come in our foods, drinks and medicine or from the environment itself. For instance, we can expect unwanted levels of sugar and sodium to be removed from the body, thus reducing our chances of diabetes. If you already have it, you can have a better control over the sugar levels. Yoga can help in the reduction of total cholesterol and triglycerides from our bodies as well. A friend of mine had triglycerides levels over 500mg/dL about two months ago and feels that ever since starting yoga. She does not take any medicine, but with a healthier diet and yoga exercise her level went down to 240mg/dL. Still has some way to go but she feels it works for her.
If you fear getting anemia, yoga might be able to help your out as it helps to increase your hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin is the protein that carries iron and oxygen in our blood to areas where it is needed. It also helps to remove harmful gases from our bodies. If you are prone to injuries or planning to get surgery yoga can help get you ready. Not only will relax your body but also increase your white blood cell count and the lymphocyte count. Both cell types are part of the immune system and help defend the body against harmful bacteria, viruses and other contagions.
Your capability to concentrate more and your mental development area increased with yoga. It is possible to get a better grip and control of your mind. Stress and depression can be reduced drastically as more positive thinking is pumped into your mind. This positive thinking will prevent the brain from entangling itself in stress-creating thoughts and also reduce the production of stress-related hormones from being pumped into the body. Thus, there our minds and bodies will be calmer to make decisions, such that feelings of hostility and anxiety will be reduced drastically. Positive thinking will also reduce worrying over past unchangeable events. It can help us forgive and forget with ease. It can help us forgive and forget. Our moods will be better and mood swings will be reduced.
Another benefit of yoga is an improvement in attention and concentration, as well as better retention and improved learning. In some studies, people with ADD and some learning disabilities have shown significant results in academia as a result of practicing yoga.
You can imagine yoga is a big can of worms as it involves many exercises/practices to different areas our bodies and minds. In this article just brushed on a few of the benefits that yoga can bring to our bodies and minds. So expect more articles targeting specific areas where yoga can be very helpful. After all, we will be trying to help you reach your inner peace. As you practice more aspects of yoga you will be closer to your goal. For now, get your mat ready to relax and started.