Updated: Jun 8, 2021
This month, we dedicate our blog to yoga, as on 21 June Yoga Day is being globally celebrated.
This follows the December 2014 United Nations proclamation in order to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practising yoga.
What is yoga?
Yoga, which in Sanskrit means "union, yoke, method, is the practice of a set of postures and breathing exercises aimed at providing physical and mental well-being. This ancient art of living, as it is explained in the texts, is revealed as an initiatory path which transcends physical discipline.
The earliest references to yoga are found in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali written about 200 years BC. In this book we understand the basis of the philosophy of yoga and its possible application in all spheres of our life.
Yoga has many benefits, but let’s review here eight of them.
Reduces stress and anxiety
It is no secret that yoga is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. A study shows that yoga lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. However, high levels of cortisol are commonly seen in depression or chronic stress.
Helps with overcoming insomnia
In addition to reducing stress and anxiety states, yoga would also have positive effects on insomnia. Studies show that yoga relaxes its practitioners to the point of promoting the secretion of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness.
Remember that yoga also has a significant effect on anxiety, depression and stress - three major factors contributing to sleep problems.
Boosters the immune system
Did you know that regular yoga practice will boost our immunity? While stress is now known to over-stimulate the immune system (making it less effective against external aggressions), yoga, on the other hand, decreases this stress, allowing our immune system to function properly.
Promotes healthy joints
Another benefit of yoga is that it allows you to work on your flexibility by correctly stretching the muscles and, at the same time, releasing tension. Our ankles, knees, wrists move better and are more mobile, which limits the risk of fractures and long-term pain.
Improves overall health
Stress, anxiety, fatigue linked to insomnia or a weakened immune system are all factors that make us more vulnerable to disease. Practicing yoga for the long term would thus help protect our general health.
According to research, people with migraines may feel the effect less after eight weeks of yoga practice.
Better body awareness
A study found that regular yoga practice is associated with a better understanding and control of the physical and mental sensations associated with hunger. The breathing exercises carried out during yoga classes allow you to channel the small hunger pangs and make better choices when the cravings strike.
Rejuvenate your body and mind
Yoga may have the ability to slow down the aging of our body. This makes sense when we know that stress and anxiety promote the production of free radicals, molecules that promote oxidative stress.
As a reminder, oxidative stress is one of the main causes of cancer and is thought to play an important role in dementia or Alzheimer's disease, or in other pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular accidents, rheumatoid arthritis or cataracts. In other words, yoga would amount to preventing us from these diseases.