Many people probably consider yoga as the sole domain of pretentious yuppies appropriating the tenets of another culture in order to seem sophisticated and hip. In reality, the discipline actually boasts an impressive plethora of health benefits suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. Patients suffering from diseases as diverse as cancer to obsessive-compulsive disorder can find some facet of yoga to ease much of their physical, mental and emotional pain. The following list peers into the various ways in which yoga can actually benefit treatment, though it does not intend to replace or reflect professional advice in any way. As with any physical activities, be sure to consult a physician before attempting a yoga regimen in order to understand any limitations that may possibly result in an injury.
1. Loosen up the muscles.
One of the major reasons why people take up yoga to begin with revolves around releasing any pent-up tension in the muscles.
2. Increase the range of motion.
Stretching out muscles regularly not only relieves pent-up stress, but trains them to attain a greater range of motion as well.
3. Keep muscles active.
Anyone who must maintain a sedentary lifestyle can offset muscular atrophy by engaging in regular yoga sessions to keep them active and stimulated.
4. Increase flexibility.
Athletes enjoy yoga for the heightened degree of flexibility that it affords them, which enhances performances through perfectly ethical, natural and safe means.
5. Improve posture.
Maintaining good posture not only radiates an attractive confidence, but it also decreases stress and tension in the shoulders, neck and back as well!
6. Alleviate anxiety and depression.
As yoga relaxes the muscles while simultaneously stimulating them, so too can it do so for the mind. While it might not cure depression with the same competence as talk therapy, it can still provide an excellent conduit for lessening many of the symptoms.
7. Strengthen and tone muscles.
Yoga exercises keep muscles strong and taut using the body’s own weight, making them an excellent solution for anyone seeking a way to stay healthy and fit without struggling against barbells and dumbbells.
8. Increase blood flow.
Some of the more intensive yoga practices really get the blood pumping, keeping the body healthy by circulating oxygen and nutrients to the organs and muscles more efficiently.
9. Alleviate arthritis.
Bikram yoga, which utilizes heat in its intensive sessions, holds numerous benefits for those suffering from arthritis.
10. Improve balance.
Anyone seeking a way to strengthen their center of gravity may want to consider yoga as a possible route towards accomplishing their goals.
11. Un-muddy the mind.
One of the additional positives of yoga’s increased blood flow involves bolstering the brain’s functionality and keeping the mind as clear as possible.
12. Boost metabolism.
Certain yoga positions may help increase the practitioner’s metabolism, making exercise and eating more effective and promoting weight loss.
13. Alleviate gout.
While yoga will not fully cure gout, when combined with heat it can certainly relieve much of the pain associated with uric acid buildup in the extremities.
14. Supplement weight loss.
In and of itself, yoga probably will not let practitioners shed more than a few pounds total - if that. But infusing it into a weight loss regimen can certainly render workouts more effective in the end.
15. Improve complexion.
When combined with a healthy diet and the right medications, yoga can serve as a supplement to clearing up acne breakouts - usually by reducing the stress that leads to splotchy, bumpy skin.
16. Improve lymph circulation.
Along with keeping the blood pumping with a healthy, regular rhythm, yoga also stimulates the lymphatic system and helps the body maintain proper circulation.
17. Reduce pregnancy pain.
Pregnancy places considerable stress on the pelvic region, and yoga strengthens all the related muscles to reduce the incredible physical strain before, during and after childbirth.
18. Align the spine.
Even beyond maintaining proper posture and poise, a properly-aligned spine may prevent injury during workouts and reduces the chances of suffering from general back pain.
19. Lower blood pressure.
Yoga can assist those who suffer from high blood pressure exercise better control over their circulatory system by regularly scheduling time for specific breathing and positioning protocols.
20. Build better self-awareness.
Introducing children to the various yoga techniques makes for excellent lessons in spatial awareness and discovering one’s physical boundaries - both of which involve ultimately understanding at least a few elements of the self.
21. Improve coordination.
No matter one’s age, yoga nurtures better connections between the muscular and skeletal systems and the brain what controls them.
22. Improve lung capacity.
The disciplined breathing exercises that yoga entails can increase a practitioner’s lung capacity, which improves their overall physical performance during workouts and other athletic pursuits.
23. Complement occupational and physical therapy.
No matter a patient’s age, he or she can practice yoga as an excellent way to build upon an occupational or physical therapy regimen in a way that bolsters mind and body alike.
24. Prevent heart disease.
Many properties of yoga - including lowered blood pressure and facilitating weight loss - boast the added benefit of discouraging heart diseases from cropping up and hurting an individual.
25. Soothe insomnia.
Encourage a good night’s rest with a calming or rigorous yoga session intending to alleviate many of the symptoms and stresses associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
26. Relieve Multiple Sclerosis.
Many yoga positions can be tailored to specifically meet the needs of practitioners suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, helping them stay healthy and alleviate some of the suffering.
27. Alleviate menstrual cramps.
The practice of yoga appeals greatly to women who experience severe cramps during their periods, as it strengthens abdominal muscles and fortifies them against the pain.
28. Massage the internal organs.
Thai yoga (and other similar disciplines) provides organ tissues all over the body with a revitalizing massage to keep them stimulated and operating smoothly.
29. Lubricate joints.
Among the many other skeletal and muscular benefits that pop up during regular yoga sessions, adherents can also enjoy well-lubricated joints, tendons and ligaments as well. This leads to enhanced flexibility and injury prevention.
30. Balance hormones.
During menopause, women may want to get into yoga as a means of strengthening their endocrine system and encouraging hormone production through lessened stress.
Encourage the body to release any harmful chemical buildups or cellular waste by cycling through yoga moves designed specifically for detoxification.
32. Encourage meditation.
Some yoga practitioners enjoy the spiritual element of the discipline, appreciating how the associated deep breathing exercises place them in a viable meditative state.
33. Lower the triglyceride count.
Use yoga techniques to dissolve the triglycerides that float about in the blood stream and pose a serious threat to cardiovascular health.
34. Burn off post-baby fat.
Following a pregnancy, one can slough off a bit of the accumulated baby weight using postnatal yoga - the lesser-known counterpart to prenatal yoga.
35. Improve self-confidence.
Engaging in regular yoga sessions has the potential to facilitate self-confidence and improve upon poor body image and other psychological issues.
36. Lower pulse rate.
For greater cardiovascular health, practice yoga in order to lower the pulse rate and keep the heart running at its greatest possible potential.
37. Kick off migraines.
Migraine sufferers would do well to consider yoga as a possible conduit for ridding themselves of their debilitating pains.
38. Anger management.
Yoga’s calming, stress-relieving properties carry with them the additional benefit of serving as an excellent means of reining in the psychological and physiological damages associated with too much anger.
39. Improved respiration.
All disciplines that fit underneath the broad heading of “yoga” require deep breathing exercises that encourage stronger, healthier lungs.
40. Improved depth perception.
Heavily spatial exercises such as yoga require participants to make note of the people and objects in their vicinity, helping them build stronger depth perception along the way.
41. Relieve constipation.
When the bowels back up and the thought of downing glass after glass of prune juice seems unappealing, try some yoga positions that explicitly help users unbind.
42. Discourage hot flashes.
Menopause patients may want to consider taking up yoga as a means of reducing the risk of suffering from hot flashes that cause sweating and discomfort.
43. Combat osteoporosis.
Individuals predisposed to osteoporosis - or suffering from the condition - benefit greatly from yoga as a discipline that promotes bone density and growth.
44. Reduce the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Yoga exercises improve muscles, joints and bones, which in turn allow anyone suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome to better their grip and suffer less from many symptoms.
45. Relieve diabetes.
There is no cure for diabetes, of course, but anyone suffering from Type 1 or 2 can still stave off the complications by using yoga as a weight loss mechanism, stress reducer and a conduit for zapping triglycerides and cholesterol.
46. Make childbirth easier.
Obviously, there is nothing that will ever make childbirth completely comfortable or painless; though certain yoga breathing exercises can promote relaxation and some degree of suppression to lessen the suffering once the big day descends.
47. Prevent strokes.
Yoga’s amazing cardiovascular benefits make for just one means of helping a body stave off a potentially devastating stroke.
48. Control asthma.
NYU researchers have discovered that regular Hatha yoga sessions can reduce many of the negative symptoms associated with asthma and prevent the risk of suffering from attacks.
49. Improve memory.
Regular yoga and meditation simultaneously relaxes and stimulates the brain, opening it up to more efficient memory and cognitive functions.
50. Quicker reaction time.
All people of all backgrounds must react to stimuli as quickly as their bodies allow, and yoga helps them reach their fullest potential in that area.
51. Supplement cancer treatments.
Cancer patients of all types may want to look to yoga as a great way to stay as healthy as possible while undergoing treatment with a doctor. Because of its calming nature that massages and oxygenates every organ and cell in the body, it makes for an effective complement to traditional curative measures.
52. Galvanize the immune system.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis provides the immune system with plenty of resources to stay strong and fit - hence its popularity in preventing and calming down the terrible diseases that ravish humanity.
53. Slow metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome places individuals at risk for heart disease and premature aging, but yoga routines can help combat many of the symptoms that relate to cholesterol levels, cholesterol, triglycerides and more.
54. Lower blood sugar.
Diabetes is a chronic condition, but practicing yoga on a routine basis serves as one possible route towards keeping blood sugar properly regulated.
55. Control sodium levels.
Salt is awesome, but as with all things it must be consumed in moderation. Individuals looking to change their lifestyle and wean themselves off excessive sodium intake would do well to practice yoga in order to keep levels balanced and healthy during the transition.
56. Increase red blood cell counts.
Red blood cells keep oxygen flowing from the lungs to the rest of the body, and yoga stimulates their production to encourage excellent overall health and wellness.
57. Stave off a cold.
Pesky colds zap energy reserves and leave their victims entrenched in an overall sense of blah, but yoga can step in and save the day with its galvanizing of the immune system!
58. Build endurance.
Athletes enjoy yoga for a plethora of different reasons, chief among them the fact that it builds up their endurance and allows their bodies to compete at their fullest potential.
59. Prevent and control Alzheimer’s.
Because of yoga’s brain-boosting properties, many facilities catering to the needs of Alzheimer’s patients have incorporated the discipline into treatment routines as a means of keeping their minds as healthy as possible.
60. Comfort headaches.
It stands to reason that because yoga benefits those who find themselves plagued by intense migraines, then the practice can take care of their lesser kin as well.
61. Aid digestion.
Not only des yoga serve as a natural colon blow, it also encourages healthy digestion and nutrient absorption before the former meal makes its way to the end of the line.
62. Curb sugar cravings.
Believe it or not, certain yoga moves can actually stave off the body’s desire to consume more sugar than it needs to function. Consider incorporating them into a weight loss regimen!
63. Stop halitosis.
Though information on the claims are rather scarce, many yoga students and teachers insist that certain positions can actually encourage more agreeable breath.
64. Increase Vitamin C production.
The human body uses Vitamin C to turn the immune system into a veritable fortress and as a detoxification agent, and yoga supposedly assists in its production and increases blood flow so that more parts of the body receive its benefits.
65. Reduce bloating.
No matter the source of painful, uncomfortable bloating, there exists a yoga position that can encourage it to settle down.
66. Relieve muscular dystrophy.
Though no cure for the diseases beneath the muscular dystrophy heading exists, many of their victims can find respite and stave off its debilitating effects through yoga’s strengthening exercises.
67. Ease the pain of scoliosis.
Yoga makes for an exceptional workout for scoliosis sufferers because it strengthens and relaxes the spine as well as relieves some of the associated back pain.
68. Engage the autistic.
Exposing individuals on the autism spectrum to yoga poses and practices encourages them to become more comfortable with themselves and immersed in their surroundings, providing them with a relaxed atmosphere to explore their relationships with the spaces they inhabit.
69. Relieve allergies.
Use of the neti pot and its affiliated yoga technique has caught on in the United States recently, providing a natural combatant against seasonal allergies that does not require head-clouding antihistamines.
70. Prepare for conception.
Avoiding certain yoga positions while emphasizing others can help prepare a body to conceive and carry a child in as healthy and strong a manner as possible.
71. Lower cholesterol.
Yet another way that yoga keeps a heart (and brain!) healthy involves reducing cholesterol levels when combined with a nutritious diet.
72. Calm down hyperactive kids.
Rather than pumping Junior full of downers, parents may want to take a more holistic approach to relaxing ADHD and other hyperactivity disorders through yoga instead.
73. Release trapped gas.
In private or in front of very understanding friends and/or family, use yoga to unleash a veritable symphony of gas that simultaneously reduces bloating and eases the pain of having to hold it all in.
74. Help the Obsessive-Compulsive disordered.
Individuals suffering from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder may appreciate yoga for relieving the unfortunate stress and anxiety that lay at its very core.
75. Calm Asperger Syndrome.
Some therapists and parents are encouraging children (and adults!) with Asperger Syndrome to practice yoga and become more comfortable with themselves and their peers - not to mention dissolve their anxieties along the way.
76. Jump-start a sex life.
Put all that new-found flexibility and stamina to good use!
77. Relieve epilepsy.
Many researchers have looked into the impact yoga may or may not have on epilepsy patients, discovering that the improved muscle control holds to potential to reduce the intensity of seizures.
78. Treat bronchitis.
Many yogic positions can assist individuals suffering from bronchitis clear up their breathing blockage and completely fend off the illness. It even works in chronic cases as well!
79. Slow the aging process.
With all the amazing health benefits that yoga has to offer practitioners, it probably comes as little shock that it can push back the aging process and keep bodies feeling healthy and fit for much longer.
80. Relieving sciatica.
Yoga provides individuals suffering from sciatica an opportunity to quell the torment and lead more active, productive lives with the subsequently deadened pain.
81. Better breathing control.
Not only does yoga offer an expanded lung capacity, it also trains practitioners how to breathe more effectively and efficiently to ensure tranquility and health alike.
82. Reduce the risk of injury.
One of the many reasons why athletes turn to yoga revolves around its ability to strengthen muscles to the point it actively prevents injuries during their intensive sporting.
83. Keep a fetus healthy.
Prenatal yoga is an extremely common way for the pregnant to stay in shape during the nine months of agony, but the increased blood and nutrient flow also benefits the unborn spawn as well.
84. Stimulate the subcortex.
When yoga instructors state that their teachings stimulate the mind, they do not mean it in only a spiritual sense. Yoga actually nurtures the subcortical region of the brain that helps process sensory data.
85. Fight eating disorders.
Yoga builds confidence and eases depression and anxiety, and because of this many instructors have begun offering classes to those suffering from eating disorders in order to guide them through their trying obstacles safely.
86. Improve dexterity.
Seniors and athletes especially benefit from yoga’s ability to promote dexterity in different joints - which alleviates arthritis and prevents injuries in 2 groups very prone to both.
87. Relieve fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia patients use yoga to alleviate tension and reduce their risk of injury, making it a great, healthy pastime and treatment option.
88. Ease chronic fatigue syndrome.
Less severe cases of chronic fatigue syndrome can find relief with yoga, which revitalizes them without resulting in a severe physical and mental crash.
89. Help kick addictive behaviors.
Many individuals who grapple against debilitating addictions may want to take advantage of yogic practices as an excellent, holistic supplement to their mental health treatment.
90. Ease Tourette’s Syndrome.
While yoga cannot definitively cure Tourette’s and other tic disorders, it can alleviate any accompanying depression and anxiety that may result from belonging to a misunderstood and marginalized demographic.
91. Make room for a baby.
A breeding female (or male in some cases) of the species concerned about allowing a fetus room to grow and expand will appreciate prenatal yoga’s encouragement of flexibility to make a pregnancy go as smoothly as possible.
92. Strengthen the core.
Anyone looking to build up his or her core muscles for athletic pursuits may want to consider yoga as an excellent supplement to regular workout sessions.
93. Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.
Most, if not all, yogic cycles provide a boon for the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for maintaining proper digestion and sleep - among others.
94. Relieve a slipped or herniated disc.
Given yoga’s popularity in healing generalized back pain, it probably comes as little surprise that many people enjoy taking it up to heal some of the issues related to slipped and herniated discs.
95. Have a social life.
The non-competitive nature of yoga means that friends and family interested in its teachings have a low-pressure way to build their relationships. Anyone new in town or looking to meet like-minded new people will also appreciate the social applications of the discipline as well.
96. Lessen the pain of irritable bowel syndrome.
Yoga simultaneously relieves physical torment and facilitates proper, healthy digestion, rendering it an ideal choice for victims of irritable bowel syndrome looking to reduce the associated stresses.
97. Prevent dementia.
Beyond Alzheimer’s, the mental benefits of yoga also extend to alleviating the symptoms of other dementia-related conditions as well. Younger people who engage in the discipline can stimulate their brains and prevent these illnesses from settling during their twilight years.
98. Prevent and fight off the flu.
As a stress inhibitor, yoga inspires the body to take arms against common invaders as the cold and flu in addition to relieving the symptoms in the event of a breach.
99. Improve the lives of stroke victims.
When an instructor finds the proper positions that suit the needs of a specific case, yoga brings at least some degree of comfort and clarity to stroke victims.
100. Control hypertension.
Because yoga lowers blood pressure, it makes for an ideal way to quell some of the physical issues associated with hypertension - a great supplement to any medication or dietary restrictions prescribed by a doctor.
101. Improve concentration.
Many yoga practitioners find the discipline so attractive as a meditative process because of how competently it promotes strong concentration skills.
Anyone suffering from the aforementioned problems may very well find something to either solve their problems or damper their intensity. Yoga extends far beyond the trendy - it has been proven time and time again to provide great relief for athletes, seniors, the pregnant, kids and everyday men and women who find themselves saddled with temporary or chronic conditions. Consider it an option to see if the appropriate positions genuinely assist in solving or partly relieving certain issues.