How Practicing Yoga Can Actually Fight Disease

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Do you know one of those people who do yoga regularly and, let’s be honest here, although you admire their flexibility, you don’t consider their yoga routine to be a ‘real’ workout? Yoga simply can’t give you the health protection that perhaps running or a gym workout does, right?

Wrong!  Once thought of as almost useless other than to improve flexibility, yoga is now known to have numerous health benefits, and can protect us from various diseases. Studies show that all forms of yoga increase levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, while lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Unused triglycerides are stored by our bodies as fat, so this is a good thing! This could lead to weight loss and overall improved body composition. Weight loss means less stress on your heart and less pressure on your joints.

Recent research looked at 42 studies that investigated yoga in relation to a cardio-vagal response. The vagus nerve has the ability to lower your heart rate. One conclusion of this study was that for those who practice yoga regularly had lower heart rates, respiratory rates, and lower concentrations of cortisol. This report takes studies that have been performed over the past 34 years.

Out of 37 studies, it was shown that 28 of these reported improvements in blood pressure, especially those with hypertension who practiced Raja yoga.

All groups in these studies, whether they had hypertension or not, had improvements in their adrenal gland secretion which, in turn, lead to a drop in blood pressure. The chemicals and hormones that are associated with a physical and mental sense of well-being and happiness, along with an increase in antioxidants, were also increased in all subjects.

Subjects also reported that their sleep quality and energy levels were improved, along with improved posture. If you are chronically ill, injured, or disabled, this is good news for you as many yoga postures as simple to do but have multiple health benefits. Yoga will give you some of those feel good endorphins that will help you feel better. Find out how to choose yoga poses for you.

One of the most encouraging pieces of information to come out of these studies is in the area of stress. Stress is a major cause of heart disease, and a lowered immune system, which leaves the body open to numerous chronic health issues, along with cold and flu viruses. Stress is a silent killer, often leading to continued high blood pressure, heart attacks, and heart disease.

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