Health Benefits of Yoga

I came across this phenomenal piece at http://www.caeyc.org. (California Association of Education of Young Children) It lists the physiological, biochemical and psychological benefits of yoga based on regular practice. This is truly incredible information and explains why I’ve been feeling fantastic lately. I’ve been practicing for one hour at least 3 times a week. Even once a week will provide many of the health benefits below. To view the article online visit: http://caeyc.org/main/caeyc/proposals-2011/pdfs/KellyPinzak.pdf

Health Benefits of Yoga

This information is grouped into three categories—physiological benefits, psychological benefits, biochemical effects—and is based on the regular practice
of traditional âsana, prânâyâma, and meditation. Please note that while pulse rate, etc., may increase during the practice of various âsanas, some forms of
prânâyâma, and some stages of meditation, but overall benefits to general health are as listed below. For information on the physiological changes that occur
during the practice of specific âsanas, etc., please see James Funderburk’s Science Studies Yoga and other resources cited at the end of this article.

Physiological Benefits

􀂃 Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium, with a tendency toward parasympathetic nervous system dominance rather than the usual stressinduced
sympathetic nervous system dominance

􀂃 Pulse rate decreases

􀂃 Respiratory rate decreases

􀂃 Blood pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)

􀂃 Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases

􀂃 EEG – alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)

􀂃 EMG activity decreases

􀂃 Cardiovascular efficiency increases

􀂃 Respiratory efficiency increases (respiratory amplitude and smoothness increase, tidal volume increases, vital capacity increases, breath-holding time increases)

􀂃 Gastrointestinal function normalizes

􀂃 Endocrine function normalizes

􀂃 Excretory functions improve

􀂃 Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase

􀂃 Posture improves

􀂃 Strength and resiliency increase

􀂃 Endurance increases

􀂃 Energy level increases

􀂃 Weight normalizes

􀂃 Sleep improves

􀂃 Immunity increases

􀂃 Pain decreases

Psychological Benefits

􀂃 Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase

􀂃 Mood improves and subjective well-being increases

􀂃 Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase

􀂃 Social adjustment increases

􀂃 Anxiety and depression decrease

􀂃 Hostility decreases

􀂃 Psychomotor functions improve:

       o Grip strength increases

       o Dexterity and fine skills improve

       o Eye-hand coordination improves

       o Choice reaction time improves

       o Steadiness improves

       o Depth perception improves

       o Balance improves

       o Integrated functioning of body parts improves

􀂃 Cognitive function improves:

       o Attention improves

       o Concentration improves

       o Memory improves

       o Learning efficiency improves

       o Symbol coding improves

       o Depth perception improves

       o Flicker fusion frequency improves

Biochemical Effects

The biochemical profile improves, indicating an antistress and antioxidant effect, important in the prevention of degenerative diseases.

􀂃 Glucose decreases

􀂃 Sodium decreases

􀂃 Total cholesterol decreases

􀂃 Triglycerides decrease

􀂃 HDL cholesterol increases

􀂃 LDL cholesterol decreases

􀂃 VLDL cholesterol decreases

􀂃 Cholinesterase increases

􀂃 Catecholamines decrease

􀂃 ATPase increases

􀂃 Hematocrit increases

􀂃 Hemoglobin increases

􀂃 Lymphocyte count increases

􀂃 Total white blood cell count decreases

􀂃 Thyroxin increases

􀂃 Vitamin C increases

􀂃 Total serum protein increases

􀂃 Oxytocin increases

􀂃 Prolactin increases

􀂃 Oxygen levels in the brain increase

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