Yoga is a physical and mental wellbeing practice, dating back thousands of years from Indian culture, which has become increasingly popular recently here in America. With many different branches and applications, you are probably familiar with the physical exercise and flexibility component, but it extends largely beyond that. At CVC our very own Dr. Emily endured strict training in order to become yoga teacher certified, so it is an activity that comes highly recommended from us. But what areas of health does yoga help with? In short almost all of them, but for this blog post we are going to dive into some researched backed areas of health benefitting from yoga that you might not have considered.
Yoga has Been Shown to Help with Insomnia
Sleep is a highly important aspect of life, and an area of health that is frequently overlooked. A journal entry in BMC Psychiatry investigated a systematic review of the effect of sleep quality on women who practiced yoga compared to those did not. It also further evaluated how this was impacted with women who were actively battling breast cancer. The results were fascinating, stating that there was a significant improvement in sleep quality from non-cancer patient’s compared to the control, but there was an even greater improvement in sleep with the breast cancer group compared to their control group. Because yoga has never been shown to have serious adverse effects, clearly shows that it would be an excellent choice to improve sleep quality or all of us.
Yoga Improves the Health of Your Joints
We do not think that it comes as much of a surprise that yoga helps with joint health, but what we think our readers might not understand is the extent of benefit that yoga provides for arthritic changes of our joints. From a physical side our joints enjoy the benefits of poses that have been perfected over 5,000 years to be designed to facilitate how our body moves. However, there is also a psychological aspect to joint health. Following an injury, or with chronic arthritis our bodies develop anxiety and fear avoidance about painful joints. Yoga has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety, increase blood flow, and even reduce blood pressure as it relates to arthritis. A study specifically as it pertains to the knee joint is very insightful into the benefits of joint health and yoga. Again with the history of no adverse effects yoga should be one of the first choices of anyone suffering from arthritis.
Beneficial for Pediatrics
Exercise is an irreplaceable aspect of healthy wellbeing, and our patients who are parents ask us frequently what exercises are appropriate for their children. Children’s bodies are developing rapidly, and have different advantages and limitations compared to adult bodies. With that being said, yoga is an excellent form habit for all ages. Yoga is associated with: an improvement in cognitive function, attention span, mood enhancement, cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and mobility. This coupled with the fact that the likelihood of injury is almost zero when performed properly and no major adverse health reactions shows leads us to believe that yoga would be an excellent form of physical exercise for you to do with your children.
Practicing Yoga Changes the Anatomy of Your Brain
While yoga is a practice that some sources say is over 10,000 years old, it was not until relatively recently that it became thoroughly studied in evidence based research. With recent research it has become increasingly more popular to examine effects as they relate to mental and neurological health. An article published in 2019, in the journal of brain plasticity, demonstrated anatomical changes in the brains of yoga practices compared to those who didn’t. Diagnostic imaging showed changes in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex and insula. The study also examined brain function suggesting across the board positive impacts of neurological function following yoga practice.
If we wanted to discuss all the areas that yoga helps with this blog could be easily 20 pages long. Yoga has shown to help with a massive array of other issues, including: quitting smoking, relieving menopause symptoms, weight loss, improved birth outcomes, helping irritable bowels, and managing chronic terminal diseases. Following a deep dive into a multitude of scientific articles the only adverse effect worth mentioning was that participants who attempted yoga poses that were too advanced for them, ran the chance of minor injury. In reality yoga is an excellent use of time for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Be on the lookout for when we start to offer in person yoga sessions here at Concho Valley Chiropractic and we would love for you to join us!