It is estimated that nearly 30 million people practice yoga worldwide! The reasons vary but the health benefits can't be ignored. Below you'll find a summary of research articles related to yoga's health benefits. Note, it is recommended that you seek advice from your medical doctor before beginning a yoga practice or any other physical exercise program.
Stress Management & Love Handles
Are you struggling to lose those stubborn inches along your waistline or struggling to sleep at night? It could be linked to stress. When we are stressed we produce excessive cortisol which causes the body to store fat at the belly, called visceral fat. Visceral fat is dangerous and is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes among other things. Physical and mindful activities such as yoga and meditation can be useful tools to help manage stress. At Yogacentric, we learn to use the breath as a tool to manage uncomfortable situations. The postures and breath together calm the mind.
Each year Americans will spend over $50 billion on back pain related treatments. The majority of backpain (non-structural) is caused by weak or tight abdominals, hamstrings and paraspinal muscles. These problems reduce our full range of motion and cause the body to overcompensate in other areas and create pain. Yoga is a non-invasive alternative medicine practice to help build a healthy back.
- Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for anti-depressants. According to the National Mental Health Association, one in three American children suffers from depression.
- 1 in 4 kids is Bullied. The American Justice Department says that this month 1 out of every 4 kids will be abused by another youth. 46% of males, and 26% females have been in physical fights.
- Low self-esteem is the universal common denominator among literally all people suffering from addictions to any and all mind altering substances such as alcohol--not genes. (1996 Candito)
Why Choose Yoga versus Drugs or Therapy?
- Yoga: It is noninvasive and its “side effects,” including improved self-esteem, emotional equilibrium, more energy and the ability to self-calm, are completely benign if not totally beneficial. (Experience of yoga meets experimentation of the West at SYTAR. By Mira Binzen)
- Children who practice yoga may not only be better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, studies now show that they may also choose better foods to eat and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. (Experience of yoga meets experimentation of the West at SYTAR. By Mira Binzen)
- In an era of children acquiring conditions and diseases previously unknown in childhood, proper breathing, exercise and deep relaxation may be the powerful healing force needed. Yoga resonates with children. ”They love the practice, and they love how they feel afterwards. With all of the research and “proof” now available, it may well be just what the doctor orders. Children can gain a direct and physical understanding of calm and relaxation. While learning yoga, children not only exercise, they play and enhance their relationship with the world.
- Sudarshan Kriya yoga (SKY), a sequence of specific breathing techniques (ujjayi, bhastrika, and Sudarshan Kriya) can alleviate anxiety, depression, everyday stress, post-traumatic stress, and stress-related medical illnesses.
Brown, R., Gerbarg, P. (2005). Sudarshan Kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: part two. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(4), 711-717.
- The effects of relaxation therapy (a combination of yoga, massage, and relaxation) were assessed in a population of 40 hospitalized children and adolescents who had a diagnosis of adjustment disorder and depression (Platania-Solazzo, Field, and Blank 1992). The study illustrates yoga's effect on decreases in self-reported anxiety, anxious behavior, and fidgeting as well as increased positive affect. Decreases in cortisol levels were also noted, which have an indirect effect on the cardio-respiratory health of children.
On an emotional level, Yoga shows promise for restoring long-term emotional balance and reducing fear and feelings of helplessness in children (Stueck and Gloeckner 2005). In a study of young adults aged 18-29, decreases in self-reported symptoms of depression emerged midway through the study and continued through the end. Decreases in negative mood and fatigue were reported following the yoga classes as well (Woolery, Myers, Sternlieb, and Zeltzer 2004).
- R. Fridholm concluded from a small sample study that a systematic use of breathing exercises, yoga postures and guided relaxation “provided useful strategies for emotional regulation for children with autism spectrum disorders.” Subjective outcomes included “improved focus, strength, flexibility, and balance; improved sense of self-awareness and pride; and improved ability to calm themselves.”
- The physical act of balancing might improve self-esteem in teens. The positive effects of “balance training” on the subjects’ concentration and attention were “immediately observable,” and she proposed that the effects on self-esteem might become more apparent over time. (submitted by Molly Kenny, MS-CCC of The Samarya Center in Seattle, Washington)