Among its many health benefits, yoga helps you relax, slow down your breathing, and become more aware of your body. This helps you shift your balance from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is calming and restorative. This response slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, among other benefits. It is what Herbert Benson calls the relaxation response.
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Increases body awareness
Yoga has been shown to increase body awareness and improve health in several ways. In one study, participants from a yoga class were more aware of their bodies and less prone to inflammation. Another study examined the effects of yoga on people with chronic neck pain. The participants reported increased body awareness and satisfaction after practicing yoga.
Research has shown that yoga practice reduces stress levels in the body. The practice trains the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates a wide variety of physiological functions. Regular yoga practice also decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases heart rate variability, a measure of the body’s ability to tolerate stress. It has been shown that just a few yoga sessions can significantly improve the tolerance of stress. Yoga also helps to connect the mind and body, which is essential in turning down the stress dial.
Lowers blood pressure
A recent study examining whether yoga lowers blood pressure found that yoga did. The intervention, a combination of breathing and meditation techniques, was associated with a modest reduction in blood pressure. However, there was no significant reduction compared to other types of exercise. The findings suggest that yoga is a valuable adjunct to other forms of treatment, such as exercise.
Slows heart rate
Several researchers have reported that Yoga slows heart rate. One study conducted in 1935 by Shri T. Krishnamacharya, who was 67 at the time, claims that he had controlled his heartbeat. He demonstrated this method by holding his breath and tensing his thoracic and abdominal muscles. The study concluded that while heartbeat was not completely stopped, it was greatly slowed. This was confirmed when the subjects were subjected to variations of yogic poses and pranayama.
Improves reaction time
Reaction time is a highly genetic trait. It can only be improved by 10-20% by external factors. But even a small increase can help an athlete stand out. A number of exercises have been shown to improve reaction time.
Helps regulate emotions
Yoga helps children develop self-regulation skills, which means that they can control their energy, emotions, and behaviors. This skill allows children to calm themselves down in stressful situations and think about their responses before acting on them.