Just a few decades ago, yoga and modern medicine seemed to exist on different planets, but change is under way. Yoga’s increasing popularity has attracted the attention of scientists and medical professionals. An ever-growing body of research examines how yoga can affect every aspect of your health; and some of the findings will surprise you.
A 2013 Norwegian study found that practicing gentle yoga and meditation can affect the gene expression of immune cells in a positive way. And it doesn’t take long years of practice to get an immunity boost. You’ll notice the effects almost immediately after your session (within two hours). So if you’re looking for new natural tools to get you through the cold-and-flu season, definitely consider adding yoga to your toolbox.
Modern medicine has come a long way in heart disease prevention and treatment, yet, heart disease is still one of Australia’s largest health problems. Yoga can help. A review of yoga-related research reveals that yoga is an effective way to improve cardio-metabolic health. While other types of exercise are also effective, yoga is often more inclusive. Your practice doesn’t have to be strenuous. You can choose to make it as gentle as your body demands. Poses can be modified to suit beginners or people with limitations and disabilities, which makes yoga accessible to anyone.
If you’re tempted to skip yoga, because you’re too busy at work, here’s a study that will encourage you to change your mind. Researchers from the University of Illinois found that regular yoga practice leads to better memory and faster, more accurate performance of cognitive tasks. Your time investment in yoga will not only make you healthier; you’ll also be able to do your work better and faster.
Mindfulness and meditation have long been known to reduce stress levels, but seated meditation can be challenging for people prone to depression and anxiety. If your mind is going out of control during meditation, yoga could be an easier way to achieve peace of mind. The movement in yoga requires that you focus on what you’re doing, and it takes your thoughts away from worrying about the future or regretting the past. Research confirms that yoga has positive effect on depression symptoms, and the benefits accumulate over time.
Comminication with Your Body
Your yoga practice is not just exercise. You’re also learning to listen to your body and do what’s right for you in each moment on the mat. This is a valuable skill to take with you into your everyday life. When an illness starts, your body sends you a signal. At first, it might be just mild discomfort, which is easy to miss, but then the signal gets louder and louder until you can no longer ignore it. When you’re listening to your body and acting on its signals early, it takes less time and effort to get back to your healthy, energetic self.