Yoga benefits everyone. It doesn’t matter what your physical condition, or your age–if you’re breathing you can do yoga. In fact, one of the quickest ways to attain a fitter body is to do yoga.
Yoga also increases an individual’s physical coordination and promotes better posture. And it does all this without potentially hazard negative effects that are often incurred in high-impact forms of exercise.
Yoga is also one of the best exercises to do if you are not in the physical shape you used to be in. It’s a great way to introduce your body to subtle gentle movement performed at your own pace. If you are considering an overall exercise program but feel that you don’t have the energy at the moment, dive into yoga first.
You’ll find that, ironically, the gentle movements and relaxed tone of this ancient practice reinvigorates the body to provide more energy. At the same time, your body is refreshed and renewed, giving you a clear-headed feeling.
When performed properly in conjunction with proper related breathing techniques yoga also helps stimulate the circulatory system. Yoga benefits the digestive process as well as the nervous and endocrine system.
Yoga appears to have an influence in reducing an individual’s risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. A three-month study in Germany treated cardiovascular patients with a combination of yoga, meditation and a vegetarian diet. The researchers at Hanover Medical Center discovered a “substantial reduction” in risk factors for heart disease which included the lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine yoga seemed to have improved the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hands. The group which received the yoga therapy discovered less pain during activity as well as less tenderness. Additionally, the participants’ experienced a greater range of motion in their fingers. The results were published in the Journal of Rheumatology.
Surprisingly, some fibromyalgia patients have been helped by the daily practice of yoga. Patrick Randolph, Ph.D., director of psychological services at the Pain Center of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, studied yoga’s effects on this often elusive disorder. While difficult to diagnose, fibromyalgia is often debilitating. The wide range of symptoms make it difficult to treat.
The study consisted of a very small group of only six women, but the results are exceedingly encouraging. The women discovered that the practice of yoga benefits circulation to the arms and legs which in turn helped the individuals to relax.
But yoga had a second, unexpected benefit. It helps to lift the irrelevant “mind chatter” that frequently turns chronic pain into pure misery. The mind very often refuses to quiet which only produces more anxiety about the problem itself.
And in the view of some health care practitioners, this ability to quiet the mind and help it to live with our chronic problems may be one of the greatest assets of yoga.