Benefits of yoga

Conscious TV

September 29, 2020

Benefits of Yoga

Reduced stress

A not so obvious explanation is that yoga helps reduce stress. People with serious worries and who suffer from stress maintain very high levels of the hormone cortisol.Well, this not only stimulates appetite, but also contributes to the extra calories ingested being easily converted into fat. Moreover, because of the influence of the hormone itself, that fat tends to concentrate in the abdomen, a very undesirable location. Excess fat in the abdomen is associated with insulin resistance - the precursor of type 2 diabetes - and heart disease. By reducing stress, yoga helps normalize cortisol levels.

Increased awareness

Regular yoga practice also increases your ability to sense what is going on inside your body. This awareness helps you detect if, for example, your back muscles are tight or if your stomach is already full. Many overweight people have little awareness of their hunger and continue to eat even after they are satiated. In addition to increasing their body awareness, people who practice yoga learn to examine their emotions, such as the fear that prevents them from doing the pine or the loneliness that drives them to visit the refrigerator at night. Yoga teaches not to identify with emotions and to avoid acting on an emotion.

Better concentration

If you are trying to eat less, try to pay attention to your eating habits, even if you are not able to change them at the moment. If you're about to start eating when you're not really hungry, analyze the emotions that might be driving your appetite. It's also helpful to eliminate distractions. Avoid the temptation to read, watch TV, listen to music or chat with a friend while eating. Instead, try to make your lunch a meditation, appreciating the taste, texture and smell of the food. If you find yourself getting caught up in your thoughts, just notice it and refocus your attention on the food and your body's responses to it.

Improve flexibility

Improved flexibility is one of the main and most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class you probably won't be able to touch your toes and you won't be able to arch your back. But if you continue to persevere, you will gradually notice greater flexibility and there will come a time when you will be able to perform poses that seem impossible. You will probably feel the aches and pains begin to disappear. It's no coincidence. Stiffness in the hips can put stress on the knee joints due to incorrect alignment of the thighs and calves. Tension in the hamstrings can lead to stiffness in the lower back, which causes back pain. In addition, lack of flexibility of muscles and connective tissues, such as fasciae and ligaments,

Increases muscle strength

Strong muscles are not just for good looks. They also protect us from ailments such as arthritis and back pain and help prevent falls in the elderly. When we increase our strength with yoga, we also gain flexibility. If you only went to the gym to do weights, you could increase your muscle strength but not gain an ounce of flexibility.

Improve your posture

Your head is like a bowling ball: big, round and heavy. When it is well balanced on a straight spine, your neck and back muscles do much less work to support it. If you move it a few inches forward you will start to tighten those muscles. If you keep it tilted for eight to twelve hours a day, it's normal to feel tired. But tiredness might not be your only problem. Poor posture causes back, neck and joint problems. As you slouch, your body may compensate by flattening the normal curve of your neck and lower back. This can lead to pain and degenerative arthritis in the spine.

Prevents cartilage and joint injuries.

Every time you practice yoga your joints go through the full motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate its malfunction by "pressing and hydrating" the areas of cartilage that are not normally used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge: new nutrients only when it is "squeezed" and the fluids are well absorbed. Without proper nutrition, the unused areas of cartilage can eventually wear away, affecting the bone in much the same way that worn brake pads would eventually damage a disc.

Protects the spine

The vertebral discs serve to absorb the pressure on the vertebrae, preventing the nerves from being compressed and causing a hernia. These discs need movement, as this is the only way for them to get their nutrients. If your yoga practice is well balanced with different asanas, twists and backward and forward bends, you will help the vertebral discs to stay in good condition.

Improve your bone health

Weight-bearing exercises are well known to strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis. Many yoga poses require you to hold your own body weight. Some, such as downward and upward facing dog, add to strengthening the bones in your arms, which are especially vulnerable to osteoporosis fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice was shown to increase the density of vertebrae. Yoga's ability to lower the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, may also contribute to fixing calcium in the bones.

Improves blood circulation

Yoga improves blood circulation. More specifically, release exercises can facilitate circulation, especially in the hands and feet. Yoga also increases oxygenation of the cells, which makes them function better. Twists are intended to draw venous blood away from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to circulate freely once the twist is undone. Inverted postures, such as headstand, handstand and shoulder stand, boost the circulation of venous blood from the legs and pelvis to the heart, where it is pumped to the lungs to be oxygenated. This can help if you have swollen legs due to heart or kidney problems. Yoga also increases levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. It also fluidizes the blood by reducing platelet aggregation and the level of cardiac clot-forming proteins in the blood, which can reduce strokes and seizures.

Improves lymphatic drainage and immunity.

When you contract and stretch your muscles, you move the organs they protect, and when you move in and out of yoga poses, you improve the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune system cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancer cells and eliminate toxins generated by cellular functioning.

Increases heart rate

When we regularly raise our heart rate to the aerobic exercise range, we can reduce the risk of heart attack and alleviate depression. Although not all variations of yoga are aerobic, if we practice vigorously or take Ashtanga yoga classes, our heart rate can increase considerably. Even yoga exercises that do not raise the heart rate as much can improve cardiovascular health.

Studies indicate that yoga practice lowers resting heart rate, increases endurance and can improve oxygen uptake during exercise, which is a good indicator of improved fitness. One study found that those who practiced only pranayama could exercise more with less oxygen.

Reduced blood pressure

If you have hypertension, yoga can help. Two studies of people with hypertension published in the medical journal The Lancet compared the effects of Savasana (corpse pose) with couch rest. After three months, Savasana posture was associated with a 26-point reduction in systolic pressure (the maximum) and a 15-point drop in diastolic pressure (the minimum). The largest drops were among people with higher blood pressure at the start of the study.

It regulates the adrenal glands.

If you have hypertension, yoga can help. Two studies of people with hypertension published in the medical journal The Lancet compared the effects of Savasana (corpse pose) with couch rest. After three months, Savasana posture was associated with a 26-point reduction in systolic pressure (the maximum) and a 15-point drop in diastolic pressure (the minimum). The largest drops were among people with higher blood pressure at the start of the study.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle

Move more and eat less, is the watchword of dieters. Yoga can help you do both. Regular practice gets you moving and burning calories, and the spiritual and emotional dimensions of yoga may encourage you to more deeply address any issues related to excess weight or food. Of course, yoga can also inspire you to eat more mindfully.

Lower blood sugar

Yoga lowers blood sugar and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and increases HDL ("good") cholesterol. Yoga has been found to lower blood sugar in diabetics in several ways: reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels, promoting weight loss, and improving sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Reduce your blood sugar level and you will also reduce your risk of suffering from the complications associated with diabetes, such as heart attacks, kidney failure and blindness.

Helps you focus

An important part of yoga is focusing on the present. Research indicates that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory and even scores on intelligence tests. People who practice Transcendental Meditation have been shown to be better able to solve problems and acquire and remember information, probably because they are less clinging to their thoughts.

Relax your system

Yoga helps you relax, slow your breathing and focus your attention on the present by enhancing the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system to the detriment of the sympathetic nervous system (or the "fight or flight" response). The former offers a calm, restorative response, slows breathing rate and heart rate, lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs, forming what Dr. Herbert Benson calls the "relaxation response."

Improve your balance

Regular yoga practice increases proprioception, that is, the ability to sense what your body is doing and awareness of your body in space. People with poor posture or dysfunctional movements often have poor proprioception, which has been linked to knee problems and back pain. Better balance could translate into fewer falls. For the elderly, this means more independence and delaying entry into a nursing home or even avoiding it altogether. For everyone else, postures like the Tree pose can make us feel less shaky on and off the mat.

Take care of the nervous system

Some advanced yogis can control their bodies by controlling the nervous system. Scientists have studied yogis who are able to vary their heart rate greatly, generate certain brain waves and, through a meditation technique, increase the temperature of their hands by 15 degrees. If they are able to use yoga to do this, perhaps you could learn to improve blood flow to your pelvis if you are trying to get pregnant or learn to relax if you have trouble sleeping.

Reduce the tension in your body

Have you ever found yourself glued to your phone or behind the wheel like an automaton or with your face scrunched up in front of a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue and pain in your wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and face, which can increase stress and make you depressed. When you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you accumulate tension: it could be in your tongue, in your eyes or in the muscles of your neck and face. By simply becoming aware of it, you will be able to release some tension in your tongue and eyes. As for the large muscles such as the quadriceps, trapezius and gluteus, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.

Helps you sleep better

Stimulation is good but if you overdo it your nervous system will suffer. Yoga can be a great help against the hustle and bustle of modern life. Restorative asanas, yoga nidra (a form of guided relaxation), savasana, pranayama and meditation encourage pratyahara, the inner gaze of the senses, which provides rest for the nervous system. Another effect of regular yoga practice, according to studies, is improved sleep, which would help you to be less tired and stressed.

Improves the functioning of the immune system

Asanas and pranayama are likely to improve the functioning of the immune system although, so far, most research has focused on the beneficial effects of meditation. That improved functioning translates into asanas activating the immune system when needed (e.g., raising the level of antibodies in response to a vaccine) and relaxing it when the body needs it (e.g., mitigating a disproportionate response of the system to an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis).

Expand lung capacity

Yogis often inhale fewer times and capture more air on each inhalation, which is more efficient and relaxing. A study published in 1998 in The Lancet documented the effects of teaching a yogic technique known as "full cardiac breathing" to people with lung disease due to insufficiency. After one month, the average number of breaths of these patients was reduced from 13.4 to 7.6 times per minute. In addition, their physical fitness improved considerably, as did their blood oxygen level. Yoga has been shown to improve several parameters of lung function, such as maximum inhaled air volume and exhalation efficiency.

Yoga also promotes nasal breathing, which filters the air, warms it (cold, dry air is more likely to trigger an asthma attack in sensitive people) and humidifies it, removing pollen and other unhealthy parts that do not enter the lungs.

Benefits of Yoga Prevents irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems

Stress can aggravate ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. If you stress less you will suffer less. Yoga, like any physical exercise, can relieve constipation - and, in theory, reduce the risk of colon cancer - because moving the body speeds the transport of food and waste products through the intestines. Although it has not been scientifically studied, yogis believe that twisting can help the transit of waste substances through the digestive system.

Provides peace of mind

Yoga dispels fluctuations of the mind, according to the Yogasutras of Patanjali. In other words, it quells recurring thoughts of frustration, regret, anger, fear and desire that generate stress. Since stress is associated with numerous health problems - from migraines and insomnia, to lupus, eczema, hypertension and heart attacks - if you learn to calm your mind you will probably live longer and healthier.

Boost your self-esteem

Many people suffer from low self-esteem. If you deal with this problem in a negative way - by taking drugs, overeating, overworking, seeking easy sex - the price you will pay will be a worsening of your physical, mental and spiritual health. If you adopt a positive attitude and practice yoga, you will feel (at first, briefly and then permanently) that your life is worth living or, as yogic philosophy teaches, that you are a manifestation of the Divine. If you practice with the intention to examine and improve - not just as a substitute for some aerobic exercise - you will learn new aspects of yourself. You will experience feelings of gratitude, empathy and forgiveness, as well as a sense of being part of something greater. Although health improvement is not the goal of spirituality,

Pain Relief

Yoga can relieve pain. According to several studies, asanas and meditation, or a combination of both, reduce pain in people with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic ailments. When you free yourself from pain, your mood improves, you become more active and you stop taking so many medications.

Provides inner strength

Yoga can help you make changes in your life. In fact, this may be its greatest benefit. Tapas, the Sanskrit word for "heat," is the discipline that drives the practice of yoga and is developed through regular exercise. The tapas you develop can extend to the rest of your life to overcome inertia and change dysfunctional habits. You will find that, without special effort, you begin to eat better, exercise more, or finally manage to quit smoking after years of failed attempts.

Helps you stay away from over-medication If your medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy, maybe it's time to give yoga a try. Studies show that yoga has helped people with asthma, hypertension, type II diabetes and obsessive-compulsive disorders reduce their dosage of medications or even stop them completely. The benefits of taking fewer drugs? You'll spend less and reduce the likelihood of side effects or dangerous interactions.

Raise your level of awareness to transform yourself.

Yoga and meditation worked on your level of awareness. The more conscious you are, the easier it is to free yourself from destructive emotions like anger. Studies show that chronic anger and hostility are as closely related to heart attacks as diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol. Yoga reduces anger by increasing feelings of compassion and interconnectedness and relaxing the nervous system and mind. It also increases your ability to dispassionately observe your problems and remain calm in the face of bad news or stressful events. You can continue to react quickly when you need to - and there is evidence that yoga decreases response time - but you can take a few seconds to act more reflectively, which will reduce your suffering and that of others.

Improve your relationships

Love doesn't get everything but it certainly contributes to healing. Emotional support from friends, family and community has been shown to be helpful for health and healing. Regular yoga practice contributes to the development of friendship, compassion and equanimity. Along with the yogic philosophy of not harming others, telling the truth and taking only what you need will improve many of your relationships.

Using sound to soothe the sinuses

Yoga and meditation worked on the level of awareness. The more conscious you are, the easier it will be to free yourself from destructive emotions such as anger. Studies point out that chronic anger and hostility are as closely related to heart attacks as diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol. Yoga reduces anger by increasing feelings of compassion and interconnectedness and relaxing the nervous system and mind. It also increases your ability to dispassionately observe your problems and remain calm in the face of bad news or stressful events. You can continue to react quickly when you need to - and there is evidence that yoga decreases response time - but you can take a few seconds to act more reflectively, which will reduce your suffering and that of others.

Visualizations have an impact on healing the body.

If you visualize an image in your mind as is done in yoga nidra and other practices, you can bring about changes in your body. Studies show that guided visualization reduces postoperative pain, decreases the incidence of migraines and improves the quality of life of people with cancer and AIDS.

Keeps allergies and viruses at bay

Kriyas, or purification practices, are another element of yoga. They range from quick breathing exercises to elaborate bowel cleansing techniques. Jala neti, the cleansing of the nasal passages with salt water, removes pollen and viruses from the nose, prevents the development of mucus and helps empty the sinuses.


When you were a child you did activities that tested your balance: walking on curbs or riding a skateboard. But now that you spend more time driving or sitting at a table than in activities that challenge your balance, your body may lose that ability to lean back and forth and remain upright. Balance postures are a fundamental part of yogic practice and for older people they are even more important. Improving balance can be essential to maintaining independence and can even be life-saving, as falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 65.

Helps you to put yourself at the service of others

Karma yoga (service to others) is a fundamental part of yoga philosophy. Even if your tendency is not to help others your health may improve if you do. A University of Michigan study found that older people who did volunteer work for just under an hour a week were three times more likely to be alive seven years later. Service to others can give your life meaning, and your problems won't seem so serious when you see the difficulties other people face.

Encourage self-care

In general, in conventional medicine most patients are passive recipients of care. In yoga what matters is what you do for yourself, so it offers you tools that will help you personally and you can start feeling better from the first time you practice. You will also find that the more you commit to the practice the more you benefit. This has three results: you begin to take charge of your own care, you discover that your involvement gives you the power to effect change, and by seeing that you can make changes, you feel hopeful. And hope, as you know, can be healing.

Take care of your connective tissues

As you read about all the benefits of yoga to improve your health you will probably notice quite a bit of overlap between them. The reason? They are all deeply interrelated. Change your posture and you'll change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system. In fact, this is one of the great lessons of yoga: everything is connected. Your hip bone is connected to your ankle bone; you yourself are connected to your community and your community is connected to the world. This interconnectedness is fundamental to understanding yoga. Its holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have additive or even multiplicative effects. Such synergies may even be yoga's main contribution to the overall improvement of your health.

Improve your sex life

In India, women who participated in a 12-week yoga retreat experienced improvements in different areas of their sexuality, such as desire, orgasm and overall satisfaction. Yoga (like other exercises) increases blood flow and improves circulation throughout the body, including the genitals. Some researchers believe that yoga may also boost sexual desire by helping practitioners better connect with their own bodies.

Use the placebo effect to bring about change

Just believing that you'll get better can actually make you feel better. Unfortunately, many conventional standards believe that if something works through the placebo effect it should not be considered valid. However, patients just want to be cured, so if chanting a mantra - as you might do at the beginning or end of a yoga class, in a meditation, or throughout the day - facilitates healing, even if it is just the placebo effect, why not do it?

How many calories do you burn doing yoga?

In a yoga session the amount of calories burned can vary greatly. More vigorous yoga modalities such as Ashtanga, Bikram or Power yoga will undoubtedly burn more calories than gentler practices such as Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga. The amount of effort required for each practice can also vary greatly.

The Harvard Health Journal estimates that a 57 kg person will burn an average of 240 calories in a one-hour session of Hatha yoga. If you weigh approximately 85 kg, you will lose about 250 calories in the same session. More calories are burned than in weight lifting but considerably less than in cardiovascular activities such as running or cycling.

However, yoga increases muscle mass which speeds up the metabolism and, for the reasons mentioned above, can contribute greatly to weight loss.

Which asanas are good for weight loss?

For the reasons already all forms of yoga can be good for weight loss.

However, the following asanas or sequences can be especially beneficial for reducing excess love handles.

Sun Salutation: These are 12 yoga postures combined in a sequence called Sun Salutation. It includes some of the best yoga postures. It works on the whole body especially on the large muscle chains. Beginners can start with a few sets and gradually increase the number of repetitions. It helps to lose weight and is also known as the queen of asanas.

Warrior pose: Warrior pose strengthens the hamstrings, as well as the leg and ankle muscles, as the weight of the body is transferred to the thighs with the torso bent. It helps stimulate the abdominal organs, which can help increase endurance and prolong the time you can hold this pose.

Cobra pose: This pose activates the chest and back area and helps tone the buttocks. The cobra pose also helps to open the heart and inhale more deeply, so the blood reaches the different parts of the body more oxygenated, contributing, in turn, to burn fat. Bow pose: This is an advanced posture that not only helps to burn fat but also to strengthen the arms and legs. In this posture you can feel the stretching of the abdominal region, extremely beneficial for dissolving fat in that area.

Lateral stretches: It is important to work the abdominal muscles as often as other parts of the body. After a certain age the body stops growing and fat begins to accumulate in the abdomen. Lateral stretches are necessary to dissolve those love handles. These stretches will not burn a lot of calories, but they help to lose inches from the waist. Don't be surprised if you soon have to start wearing a belt because your pants fall down.