At this point, there is no denying: yoga is far from fad. An age-old practice inherited from ancient civilization, the act of yoga permits you to take a moment, notice your breath and simply be still. While there are many disciplines, they tell the same tale: yoga is good for your health. Through flows and sequences, you are quickly reconnected to your mind and body, and subsequently back to source. Wondering what’s happening on the inside? The research continues to mound.
Yoga can help balance hormones
Meditation, a key pillar of the practice, is known for its wide range of benefits. From stress relief to blood pressure regulation, it has long been used to train the mind and body for focus and stability. Our endocrine system, a group of hormone-producing glands, interacts with most parts of the body. From energy to growth, it creates the chemical messengers that travel your bloodstream to communicate change and adjustment. In Ustrasana (the camel pose), for example, we target the thyroid glands, responsible for growth and metabolism, as well as the parathyroid glands, responsible for calcium regulation. Both of these are in play, as this pose places emphasis on the neck.
It can also help with inflammation
Daily struggles are a part of life, but did you know that strain on your psyche can weaken your immune system and can even increase chronic inflammation? Inflammation, the response your immune system has to injury and infection, can be particularly harmful to our health and well-being, especially if it becomes chronic. A recent study in which Hatha yoga asanas were trialed to determine their impact on the body’s swelling found the poses to diminish pro-inflammatory markers in the blood, strengthening the immune system overall! Further studies even found yoga to increase anti-inflammatory cytokines* like IL-10.
It's good for stress and anxiety
Many turn to yoga for this alone, and there is a lot of research to back it up. One study (of many) looked at serum cortisol in depressed outpatients. Researchers compared cortisol levels to find that after a month of active practice, most participants had experienced a decline, supporting the often-touted reputation of yoga as an effective anti-depressant.
Your relationship with your body is a unique one. And while mastering these moves will certainly help get you in touch, a healthy lifestyle incorporating adequate rest, ample hydration and balanced nutrition will help keep you in harmony.