The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is a type of exercise that has been around for thousands of years.
It consists of a series of postures, breathing and meditation and offers excellent health benefits to all who do it.
Here are some physiological benefits that arise out of doing yoga:
Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
Pulse rate decreases
Respiratory rate decreases
Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hypo reactors)
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
EMG activity decreases
Cardiovascular efficiency increases
Respiratory efficiency increases
Gastrointestinal function normalizes
Endocrine function normalizes
Excretory functions improve
Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
Breath-holding time increases
Joint range of motion increase
Grip strength increases
Eye-hand coordination improves
Dexterity skills improve
Reaction time improves
Strength and resiliency increase
Energy level increases
Depth perception improves
Integrated functioning of body parts improves
Yoga originated in India and was practised by the ascetics who lived in the forests in solitude practising this individual art form. The yogic postures and different
stages of yoga were only handed down to some deserving students and as a result, yoga was kept relatively to India and not popularised elsewhere in the world.
It was only in 1918, when the Yoga Institute was founded in Mumbai, that yoga was then made available for everyone else.
Yoga is based on the premise that our physical body is supposed to move and exercise and proper exercise is obtained by carrying out specific yoga postures (also known as "asana"). These postures stretch and tone all parts of the body, including the ligaments and muscles, and in doing so aid with the circulation of blood. The asanas, in particular, are designed to regulate the physical and physiological functions of the body and as a result of this they help rejuvenate the different body parts.
As well as this, Yoga involves a lot of stretching postures which are excellent for the spine and for helping it to gain and maintain flexibility.
Regular yoga sessions are known to have excellent beneficial results for the body. These include relaxing your body, rejuvenating different parts of your body and giving you more strength, energy and greater flexibility.
Yoga is considered more a relaxing and therapeutic way of rejuvenating the body (as opposed to a heavy session at the gym, pounding away in an aerobics class). At a deeper level it works at uniting the mind, body and spirit. It helps you to be more in tune with your body, to be more self aware of your posture, alignment and movement.
In fact, many people now take up yoga because it enables them to have more energy, to be fitter, to be more relaxed and centered - and ultimately, able to handle stress and to be happy! Now that may sound like rather a tall order - but ask anyone who practices yoga regularly, and they will tell you that they have benefited enormously from yoga.
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