The mind-body practice is frequently touted for its ability to reduce stress and boost well-being, but it also offers wide-ranging physical health benefits that rival other forms of exercise.
Improved Brain Function. Just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga — an ancient form of the practice that emphasizes physical postures rather than flow or sequences — can improve cognitive function, boosting focus and working memory.
Lower Stress Levels. Yoga’s stress-busting powers may come from its ability to lessen the activity of proteins that are known to play a role in inflammation.
Alter Gene Expression. A small Norwegian study suggested that yoga’s many healthy benefits might come from its ability to alter gene expression in immune cells.
Increased Flexibility. A recent Colorado State University study found that Bikram yoga — a form of yoga in which a series of 26 postures are performed for 90 minutes in a heated room — is linked with increased shoulder, lower back and hamstring flexibility, as well as greater deadlift strength and decreased body fat, compared with a control group.
After a Few Months
Lower Blood Pressure. People with mild to moderate hypertension might benefit from a yoga practice, as a study from the University of Pennsylvania researchers found that it could help to lower their blood pressure levels. Researchers found that people who practiced yoga had greater drops in blood pressure compared with those who participated in a walking/nutrition/weight counseling program.
Improved Lung Capacity. A small 2000 Ball State University study found that practicing Hatha yoga for 15 weeks could significantly increase vital lung capacity, which is the maximum amount of air exhaled after taking a deep breath. Vital lung capacity is one of the components of lung capacity.
Improved Sexual Function. A 2009 Harvard study published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that yoga could boost arousal, desire, orgasm and general sexual satisfaction for women. Yoga can also improve women’s sex lives by helping them to become more familiar with their own bodies, according to a review of studies published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, as reported by CNN.
Reduced Chronic Neck Pain. A German study published in The Journal of Pain showed that four weeks of practicing Iyengar yoga (a type of Hatha yoga that stresses proper alignment and the use of props) is effective in reducing pain intensity in adults suffering from chronic neck pain.
Anxiety Relief. A 2010 Boston University study showed that 12 weeks of yoga could help to reduce anxiety and increase gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels in the brain (low levels of GABA have been linked with depression and anxiety disorders).
Relief from Chronic Back Pain. Researchers at West Virginia University found Iyengar Yoga to be more effective in reducing pain and improving mood than standard medical treatment among those with chronic lower back problems.
Steady Blood Sugar Levels in People with Diabetes. Adding yoga to a typical diabetes care regimen could result in steady blood sugar levels, according to a 2011 Diabetes Care study. Reuters reported that just three months of yoga in addition to diabetes care resulted in a decrease in body mass index, as well as no increases in blood sugar levels.
Improved Sense of Balance. Practicing an Iyengar yoga program designed for older adults was found to improve balance and help prevent falls in women over 65, according to a 2008 Temple University study.
Article from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/body-on-yoga_n_4109595
Photo from: https://www.gildshire.com/yoga-for-women-over-60s-why-how/