The many benefits of a regular yoga practice may include stress reduction, relaxation, increased strength and balance, firmer muscle tone, increased flexibility, and occasional feelings of well-being and bliss.
Recent studies have demonstrated the benefits of yoga. Boston University School of Medicine compared the impact of walking versus yoga on anxiety and depression. The results suggested that yoga improved mood by increasing the production of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.
The U.S. Department of Defense completed a study on the effectiveness of yoga on soldiers with PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) symptoms. After 8 weeks, all the participants’ symptoms had been reduced.
A British study found that people who practiced yoga during a 12-week program experienced less back pain.
A UCLA study explored the effect of yoga for persons with hyperkyphosis – poor back posture. The findings showed enormous improvement and participants got straighter and taller.
Yoga comes from India where it has been practiced for 5,000 years.
The term “yoga” translates to “yoke” in Sanskrit because the practice of yoga combines the physical body with the mind through breath and postures. While there are eight limbs or stages of yoga, most yoga instruction in North America concentrates on asana or postures, pranayama or breathing , yama or ethics, and niyama or self-discipline. Yoga is a process or journey that can last a lifetime.