Derived from the Sanskrit word “yuji,” meaning yoke or union, yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body.
Practicing yoga is said to come with many benefits for both mental and physical health, though not all of these benefits have been backed by science.
This article takes a look at evidence-based benefits of yoga.
Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation.
In fact, multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
One study demonstrated the powerful effect of yoga on stress by following 24 women who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed.
Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety.
Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research showing that yoga can help reduce anxiety.
In one study, 34 women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder participated in yoga classes twice weekly for two months.
In addition to improving your mental health, some studies suggest that practicing yoga may reduce inflammation as well.
Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
A 2015 study divided 218 participants into two groups: those who practiced yoga regularly and those who didn’t. Both groups then performed moderate and strenuous exercises to induce stress.