Yoga combines mental focus and physical exercise to help its practitioners achieve peace of both mind and body. Its stress- and anxiety-reducing properties are well-documented. In India, as well as in many other places in the world, yoga is studied using scientific methods and used to treat many mental and physical ailments. Yogic science seeks to authenticate cause and effect and develop principles based upon impartial observations. Yogic masters with credibility must have an extensive scientific education in the biological sciences and physics, among other disciplines.
Practicing yoga involves learning a series of postures to hold and meditate through, while at the same time paying special attention to one’s breathing – inhaling during specific movements and exhaling with others. From a physical perspective, yoga improves flexibility, strength and endurance while the carefully studied positions develop and promote lubrication of various ligaments and tendons in the body. Besides the mental benefit of stress reduction, many view it as a way to enhance one’s spirituality.
Yoga is also considered a body-mind kind of alternative and complementary medicine, enhancing the practitioner’s overall health and providing numerous other possible health benefits including:
* Stress reduction: Using quiet, precise movements causes the person to focus on the movement and poses that require concentration and balance and can draw one’s focus from a chaotic busy day.
* Improved fitness: Learning and refining yoga poses helps improve flexibility, balance, strength, and range of motion, which makes it less likely that one will injure him or herself while performing routine daily activities or other physical endeavors.
* Managing chronic health conditions: This form of exercise often relieves fatigue, mood, and sleep problems which in turn can help relieve some health problems such as pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and some studies suggest it can reduce discomfort in those suffering from diseases such as cancer. It can also help reduce one’s heart rate and blood pressure.
* Weight loss: Through deep stretching, yoga detoxifies the muscles which can, in turn, cleanse the body and promote weight loss. The toning of muscles through poses can also reduce inches on the waistline and increase muscle mass, which assists in weight loss. Through its stress reduction benefits, yoga can also help someone hoping to reduce stress-related eating.
It has become clear, even in western medicine, that physical and mental health go hand in hand, and a calm and a harmonious mind is said to be one of the greatest health benefits of Yoga.
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