Yoga improves mental clarity and improves fitness but what are some of the other effects you can expect from regularly practicing yoga? As the mind affects the body, so the body affects the mind, thus Yoga has some surprising physical benefits you might not have known about before.
3 Surprising Health Benefits Of Yoga
1. Improves Sleep
Practicing Yoga daily will improve your sleep quality. According to a study carried out by researchers at Harvard, practicing yoga for a period of as little as 8 weeks can enhance sleep quality for people who are struggling with insomnia. Yoga provides people with a way to relax and quieten the mind. It offers many a sanctuary, one that is quite often required today given the hectic world we reside in.
Another study carried out by the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that cancer survivors who were practicing yoga twice a week were sleeping much better and suffered less fatigue. In addition yoga offers people an appropriate and heathy way to deal with stress. Providing people with a way to find some much needed downtime for our nervous system to recoup and induce relaxation.
If these studies aren’t enough, scientists have actually monitored some very advanced yogis raise their hand temperature by 15 degrees Fahrenheit, by inducing unusual heart rhythms, generating specific brain wave patterns and using meditation techniques.
2. Better Eating
Research has indicated that people who practice yoga have a greater tendency to eat healthier. According to Harvard racticing yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week
Researchers from the University of Washington found that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, an awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. By causing breath awareness, regular yoga practice strengthens the mind-body connection, Bleier says. The awareness can help you tune in to emotions involved with certain cravings, and yoga breathing exercises can help you slow down and make better choices when cravings strike.
People who practice yoga and are mindful eaters are more in tune with their bodies. They may be more sensitive to hunger cues and feelings of fullness.
Researchers found that people who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight during middle adulthood. People who were overweight actually lost weight. Overall, those who practiced yoga had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared with those who did not practice yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and eating.
3. Relieve Migraines
After three months of yoga practice, migraine sufferers reported experiencing fewer and less painful migraines. The cause of migraines isn’t fully understood, however leaning over a computer or cell phone with your shoulders up and head forward, pulls the head forward and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines. Symptoms including head pain, nausea, dizziness, lethargy, weakness, and difficulty breathing also often result from tension.
Once a full migraine kicks in, sufferers usually only have the option of retreating to bed and the idea of carrying out a yoga session seems out of the question. However, people that suffer from continual migraines, usually have warning signals such as dizziness, drowsiness, muscle stiffness, or mood swings. If a sufferer can develop a sensitivity to when a migraine is coming on they have time to practice the yoga asanas that will alleviate the migraine.
There’s no definitive list, but below are some poses to consider and their benefits in relieving migraine:
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) slows the release of hormones from the pituitary and adrenal glands, which quiets excited nerves.
- Supported Ardha Halasana (Half Plow Pose) removes tension from the frontal brain.
- Jalandhara Bandha (Chin Lock) restores the circulation of energy and blood to the brain.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) expands the chest muscles and increases oxygen intake.
- Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose) helps relax the mind and nervous system and also increases oxygen intake.