5 Secret Health Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga is truly a beautiful art form and exercise, as it both improves flexibility and reduces stress. Even more, yoga carries hidden health benefits that can aid you in a multitude of different everyday activities. Check out five reasons why yoga does more than just allow you to get a light workout into your day below.
One recent Norwegian study discovered that practicing yoga results in gene expression changes that help to bolster your immunity at the cellular level. The same researchers even believe that these noticeable changes materialized while participants were still in mid-pose-- and the changes were more apparent than in a control group who walked along a nature trail while listening to relaxing music. Yoga also helps your immunity by just improving overall health, says Mitchel Bleier, yoga teacher and owner of Yogapata-- whose motto is “Heaven Is Earth.”
"As you breathe better, move better and circulate better, all the other organs function better," Bleier says.
Research indicates that migraine sufferers display less frequent and less painful migraines after only three months of yoga involvement. Though the root of migraines isn't fully understood, Bleier believes it could be a mixture of mental stressors and physical impairments that could bring on migraines and other physical issues. For example, hunching over a computer with your shoulders up and your head sticking forward can create tension of your trapezius, while also over-straining your neck. This often brings about muscle imbalances that could contribute to migraines.
Researchers from Harvard realized that after eight weeks of daily yoga, people with insomnia experienced significantly improved sleep quality. An additional study found that bi-weekly yoga sessions helped cancer survivors sleep more soundly while feeling less fatigued. This can most likely be associated with yoga's ability to help people handle stress, Bleier says.
"Sleep issues are like anxiety. Your head can't stop spinning, you don't know how to relax," he says. "Breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down, so you're going to start to see yourself sleep better."
Fight Food Cravings
Researchers from the University of Washington discovered that mindful eating, defined as an awareness of physical and emotional sensations regarding eating, was linked with consistent yoga practice.
Through breath awareness, regular yoga practice improves mind-body connection, Bleier says. This improved awareness can lead to a better understanding of your own emotions, particularly those involved with certain cravings. Yoga breathing exercises can also get you to slow down and remember to make healthy choices when you get a craving.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.