Yoga Health Benefits
Yoga and meditation are becoming increasingly popular among people of all ages, as individuals and science discover the many physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits of regular practice
From increased fitness, mobility and strength to an improved mood and a strong immune system, yoga offers you a wealth of health benefits to help you feel and be healthy and happy
Scroll down to discover the many yoga health benefits
The Health Benefits Of Yoga
From pain relief to improving your cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive health and improving your mood and brain function, science has shown that regular yoga practice can improve every aspect of your health
Yoga reduces cortisol levels in the body, the hormone responsible for stress. It encourages mindfulness and emotional regulation, helping you cultivate a deeper awareness of your breath, bodily sensations, and emotions
Whether you practice once a week or every day, yoga is an excellent way to nurture your body and enjoy peace and well-being.
Though originally intended to treat the cranium, modern cranial osteopathy refers to a treatment modality and can be applied to all body parts
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient Indian system for integrating mind and body to achieve personal growth, inner harmony and health. Meaning union, the goal of yoga is to achieve mind – body unity. To become whole – and happy. Historically yoga comes in four flavours
- yoga of inquiry & wisdom – jñana
- yoga of love and devotion – bhakti
- yoga of selfless action – karma
- yoga of structure & method – raja (kingly) or 8-limbed (ashta-anga) yoga
Hatha is what we in the modern world understand by yoga, and likely derived from the eight-limbed Raja yoga. Hatha yoga works with the body to bring about integration, health and happiness
The majority of modern-day schools of yoga are hatha. From hot, dynamic and vinyasa flow to yin, functional and kundalini yoga, all are hatha traditions emphasizing different aspects and styles of practice
- Hatha brings awareness to your movement to release tension and help you use your body optimally
- Hatha directs attention to your breath to calm your mind, soothe anxiety and stress and help you enjoy health, tranquility and happiness
Science & Yoga
With decades of rigorous scientific scrutiny demonstrating yoga health benefits in virtually every area of your wellbeing, it’s no wonder yoga has enjoyed worldwide popularity with people of all ages, fitness levels and walks of life. Click the tabs to see how you can enjoy the fantastic health benefits of yoga
Yoga Benefits: Structural Health
Low Back Pain
A catch all for pain in the absence of serious signs such as trapped nerve, mechanical low back pain is the commonest form
It resolves withing 2-3 weeks, or can persist to become chronic
Yoga has been shown to be helpful with this type of back pain, particularly in its chronic form (R Singh 2016, Cramer et al 2013, A.M.Diaz et al 2013)
Though neck pain has been less extensively studied than low-back-pain two systematic reviews have established a positive link between yoga and reduction in pain and disability (Sang-Dol Kim 2016, Sang-Dol Kim 2016)
Tension type headache is the most common form with a world-wide prevalence of 50%
Systematic reviews have yielded positive results from yoga practice, with improvements in pain severity, frequency and duration (Kim, Sang Dol. 2015, Anheyer D et al 2019)
Osteo-arthritis is joint pain from wear-and-tear. Associated with age, it can affect younger people, eg. after injury
Though wear is not significantly reversible pain and stiffness decrease with improved joint function
Systematic reviews have found yoga helps with osteoarthritis related pain, stiffness and function (L Kan et al 2016, Lauche et al 2019)
Yoga Benefits: Internal Health
Yoga has been found to reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular health at levels comparable to aerobic exercise (Chu 2014, Cramer 2014, Barrows 2016)
yoga decreases physiological arousal leading to a reduction in circulating stress hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, moderation of the breathing pattern and pain perception
A systematic review focusing on yoga for blood pressure has also reached positive conclusions
Asthma is a respiratory disease with symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing
It can be triggered by allergens, exercise or following a common cold
Reviews have found moderate evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in asthma sufferers and be considered an ancillatory intervention (cramer 2014, Yang 2016)
Yoga is also helpful in managing two common stress-related conditions: breathing pattern disorders and hyperventilation syndrome (Jones et al, 2013)
IBS is a common condition of unknown cause affecting the digestive system, with symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. It affects 11 of 26 people globally
A 2016 systematic review (Schumann 2016) concludes that ” yoga might be a feasible and safe adjunctive treatment for people with IBS”
Fibromyalgia is a disease of unkown origin characterized by muscle & joint pain, fatigue, insomina, brain-fog
and feeling, anxious or depressed
A 2013 systematic review (Langhorst et al) found that yoga and other mindfulness-based movement therapies (Qigong & Tai Chi) demonstrated improvements in sleep. fatigue, depression & health-related quality of life. Yoga provided additional pain relief
Yoga Benefits: Mental Health
Together with being sedentary, stress is one of the biggest killers of adults worldwide
Perceived stress creates arousal with effects including a rise in blood pressure, systemic inflammation, anxiety and a lowering of your mood and energy
Studies show that many movement therapies, including yoga, dance, Tai ‘Chi and others are effective means of managing stress
Studies have found yoga is effective for managing anxiety and is a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy in dealing with anxiety disorder
The multiplicity of yoga practices provide a way to offer you activities that are suitable for you needs
2 systematic reviews conclude that yoga is an effective tool for individuals with elevated levels of depression and those diagnosed with major depressive disorder (Hanson 2016, Cramer 2013)
The evidence for yoga and other mind-body systems improving cognitive function is strong
Reviews conclude that yoga improves executive function, memory, attention and processing speed
Effects of Yoga Therapy on Pain, Quality of Life, and Functional Ability in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients: A Systematic Review. Singh Rupali (2016). Ann Yoga Phys Ther. 2016; 1(2): 1010.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, Dobos G (2013). Clin J Pain 29: 450-460
Yoga As A Treatment For Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review Of Randomized Controlled Trials. Alison M. Diaz, BS, Morey J. Kolber, PT, PhD, Chetan K. Patel, MD, et al. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2013;7(6):418-430.
Effects of yoga on chronic neck pain: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sang-Dol Kim. Journal List J Phys Ther Sciv.28(7); 2016
Effectiveness of Iyengar yoga in treating spinal (back and neck) pain: A systematic review. Crow EM, Jeannot E, Trewhela A. Int J Yoga. 2015 Jan;8(1):3-14.
Yoga for Treating Headaches: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Anheyer D, Klose P, Lauche R, et al. Med. 2020 Mar;35(3):846-854. doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05413-9. Epub 2019 Oct 30.
Effects of yoga exercises for headaches: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Kim, Sang Dol. (2015). Journal of physical therapy science. 27. 2377-80. 10.1589/jpts.27.2377.
The Effects of Yoga on Pain, Mobility, and Quality of Life in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review. Kan L, Zhang J, Yang Y, et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016: 6016532
Systematic Review of Yoga Interventions to Promote Cardiovascular Health in Older Adults. Barrows JL, Fleury J. West J Nurs Res. 2016 Jun
A systematic review of yoga for heart disease. Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, et al. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Mar
Yoga for asthma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cramer H, Posadzki P, Dobos G, Langhorst J. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014 Jun;112(6):503-510.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2014.03.014. Epub 2014 Apr 13
Yoga for asthma. Yang ZY, Zhong HB, Mao C, et al Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD010346. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010346.pub2
Breathing exercises for dysfunctional breathing/hyperventilation syndrome in adults. Jones M, Harvey A, Marston L, O'Connell NE. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;5:CD009041. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009041.pub2. Review.
Schumann D, Anheyer D, Lauche R et al. 2016 Dec. Effect of Yoga in the Therapy of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol.
Langhorst J1, Klose P, Dobos GJ, et al. Rheumatol Int. 2013 Jan. Efficacy and safety of meditative movement therapies in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Chong CS1, Tsunaka M, Tsang HW, et al. Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Jan-Feb. Effects of yoga on stress management in healthy adults: A systematic review.
Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Tuffrey Vet al. Yoga for anxiety: a systematic review of the research evidence. Br J Sports Med. 2005
Yoga for Depression and Anxiety: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW (2016). Hanson, Rachel, Social Work Master’s Clinical Research Papers. 693
Cramer H, Lauche R, Anheyer D et al. Yoga for anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depress Anxiety. 2018 Sep
Hanson, Rachel (2016). Yoga for Depression and Anxiety: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. Social Work Master’s Clinical Research Papers. 693
Cramer H, Lauche R, Langhorst J, Dobos G. Yoga for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Depress Anxiety. 2013 Nov
Bhattacharyya KK, Andel R, Small BJ. 2021 Mar-Apr. Effects of yoga-related mind-body therapies on cognitive function in older adults: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Arch Gerontol Geriatr
Farhang, M., Miranda-Castillo, C., Rubio et al (2019). Impact of mind-body interventions in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: A systematic review. International Psychogeriatrics
Gothe, Neha & Mcauley, Edward. (2015). Yoga and Cognition: A Meta-Analysis of Chronic and Acute Effects. Psychosomatic medicine. 77. 10.1097
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