We all know that yoga is good for our health and body, but many people don’t know about its benefits more than its ability to increase flexibility and reduce stress. In fact, yoga benefits extend far beyond this. If you are a passionate yoga practitioner, you’ve probably noticed the benefits mentioned below, but if you have not practiced yoga before, the following benefits will give you a good push to show off your yoga skills.
1. Deep Sleep: Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. And another study found that twice-weekly yoga sessions helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. Restorative asana, yoga nidra (a form of guided relaxation), Savasana, pranayama, and meditation encourage pratyahara, a turning inward of the senses, which provides downtime for the nervous system.
2. Improved Immunity: Asana and pranayama probably improve immune function, but, so far, meditation has the strongest scientific support in this area. It appears to have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system, boosting it when needed (for example, raising antibody levels in response to a vaccine) and lowering it when needed (for instance, mitigating an inappropriately aggressive immune function in an autoimmune disease like psoriasis).
3. Removal of Toxins: Yoga stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps to flush the toxins out. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your practice to ensure that those toxins that start moving get pushed all the way out of your body. Along with your regiment of digestive probiotics, your body will always feel lean and clean.
4. Lower Blood Pressure: If you’ve got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga. Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch. After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number—and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.
5. Eases Your Pain: Yoga can ease your pain. According to several studies, asana, meditation, or a combination of the two, reduced pain in people with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions. When you relieve your pain, your mood improves, you’re more inclined to be active, and you don’t need as much medication.