Benefits of Yoga


 The health benefits of yoga are grouped under 3 heads:

 i) Physiological ii) psychological iii) Biochemical effects.

Furthermore, scientists have laid these results against the benefits of regular exercise.

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

  •  Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
  •  Pulse rate decreases
  •  Respiratory rate decreases
  •  Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
  •  Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
  •  EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
  •  EMG activity decreases
  •  Cardiovascular efficiency increases
  •  Respiratory efficiency increases
  •  Gastrointestinal function normalizes
  •  Endocrine function normalizes
  •  Excretory functions improve
  •  Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
  •  Breath-holding time increases
  •  Joint range of motion increase
  •  Grip strength increases
  •  Eye-hand coordination improves
  •  Dexterity skills improve
  •  Reaction time improves
  •  Posture improves
  •  Strength and resiliency increase
  •  Endurance increases
  •  Energy level increases
  •  Weight normalizes
  •  Sleep improves
  •  Immunity increases
  •  Pain decreases
  •  Steadiness improves
  •  Depth perception improves
  •  Balance improves
  •  Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga

  •  Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
  •  Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
  •  Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
  •  Social adjustment increases
  •  Anxiety and Depression decrease
  •  Hostility decreases
  •  Concentration improves
  •  Memory improves
  •  Attention improves
  •  Learning efficiency improves
  •  Mood improves
  •  Self-actualization increase
  •  Social skills increases
  •  Well-being increases
  •  Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
  •  Self-acceptance increase
  •  Attention improves
  •  Concentration improves
  •  Memory improves
  •  Learning efficiency improves
  •  Symbol coding improves
  •  Depth perception improves
  •  Flicker fusion frequency improves

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga

  •  Glucose decreases
  •  Sodium decreases
  •  Total cholesterol decreases
  •  Triglycerides decrease
  •  HDL cholesterol increases
  •  LDL cholesterol decreases
  •  VLDL cholesterol decreases
  •  Cholinesterase increases
  •  Catecholamines decrease
  •  ATPase increases
  •  Hematocrit increases
  •  Hemoglobin increases
  •  Lymphocyte count increases
  •  Total white blood cell count decreases
  •  Thyroxin increases
  •  Vitamin C increases
  •  Total serum protein increases

Yoga Health Benefits versus Exercise Benefits

  •  Yoga Benefits

       Parasympathetic Nervous System dominates

       Subcortical regions of brain dominate

       Slow dynamic and static movements

       Normalization of muscle tone

       Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments

       Low caloric consumption

       Effort is minimized, relaxed

       Energizing (breathing is natural or controlled)

       Balanced activity of opposing muscle groups

       Noncompetitive, process-oriented

       Awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite)

       Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness

  • Exercise Benefits

       Sympathetic Nervous System dominates

       Cortical regions of brain dominate

       Rapid forceful movements

       Increased muscle tension

       Higher risk of injury

       Moderate to high caloric consumption

       Effort is maximized

       Fatiguing (breathing is taxed)

       Imbalance activity of opposing groups

       Competitive, goal-oriented

       Awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)

       Boredom factor




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