Life is full of ups and downs. Let yoga be one of your ups! Yoga in all of its variety of practices including asana, pranayama, relaxation and meditation is such a healthy thing to do and when we are glowing with yoga health we feel great and ready for the world.
While many yoga books and teachers make wild claims about the benefits of yoga over the years many reputable studies have been carried out which tend to corroborate many of these claims. Conclusions have been drawn that yoga asanas performed regularly not only build strength, flexibility and fitness but also help improve many conditions from lower back pain to mental stress and along with other lifestyle practices yoga asanas can help reduce high blood pressure, are helpful in controlling diabetes, obesity and coronary heart disease.
Research has also focused on how simple deep yoga breathing reduces anxiety and depression, lowers or stabilises blood pressure, increases our energy levels, decreases feelings of stress and helps us relax.
Of particular interest is how meditation has been shown to reduce panic disorder, anxiety and depression, increase concentration levels and cognition and help us cope with pain and stress. Studies have also shown that meditation improves our emotional intelligence, resilience and mental strength and fosters our creativity. A Harvard University study discovered that meditation increases the volume of grey matter in the parts of the brain associated with learning and memory while another unrelated study discovered that stress makes those same areas shrink.
In short the whole spectrum of yoga practices bless us with better health, peace of mind and make us feel great!
As the month of June is set aside internationally to celebrate all things yoga it’s good to remind ourselves why we should not only get on the mat and do our asanas, but to add the deeper practices of yoga to our lives also.