The origin of Yoga
At some point between the first and 5th centuries AD, The Hindu sage, Patanjali, began writing down ancient meditative traditions practiced everywhere in India. Recorded techniques as old as the Indian civilization itself in 196 guides called the Yoga Sutras. These texts define yoga as tackling or restraining the mind from focusing on external matters. Seeking a state of complete mental clarity. With time, yoga came to incorporate physical elements from gymnastics and wrestling.
Today, there are a variety of modern yoga techniques – Although most of them still retain the three foundations of Patanjali’s teachings: Physical postures, breathing exercises, and spiritual meditation. This mix of physical and mental exercise is believed to possess a unique set of health benefits. Such as increased strength and agility, enhancing heart and lung function, and improving psychological well-being. But what recent studies have shown regarding the benefits of this ancient tradition?
Recent studies on Yoga
Despite the attempts of many researchers, it is difficult to make specific claims about the advantages given above. Its unique mixture of activities makes it difficult to define which component produces a particular health benefit. Additionally, these studies are usually made up of small groups that lack diversity, and the heavy reliance on self-reporting makes the results subjective. However, there are some health benefits that have strong scientific support than others.
Let’s start with agility and strength. Flexing your body in different physical postures stretches multiple muscle groups. In the short term, stretching can alter the water content of those muscles, ligaments, and tendons to make them more flexible. Over time, the regular stretching stimulates the stem cells, which later differentiate into new muscle tissue and other cells that produce elastic collagen. Frequent stretching also reduces the body’s natural reflex to constrict muscles, which increases your tolerance to the pain of flexible movements.
Researchers have not found that any style alone improves flexibility more than another, so the effects of specific postures are unclear. But like other low-impact exercises, Yoga significantly improves fitness and flexibility in healthy people. The practice has also been shown to be a potentially powerful therapeutic tool. In studies involving patients with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders, It was most helpful in reducing pain and improving mobility than other forms of low impact exercises.
How Yoga benefits the body
Adding yoga to an existing exercise routine can enhance strength and agility for difficult to treat conditions like chronic lower back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. It is a mix of physical exercise and regimented breathing that have proven similarly therapeutic for lung health. Lung diseases like chronic bronchitis, Emphysema, and asthma, shrink the oxygen-carrying pathways while weakening the membrane that carries oxygen to the blood. But breathing exercises are like those found in yoga relax the muscles that narrow these passageways And improves oxygen diffusion.
Increasing the oxygen content within the blood is especially beneficial for those that suffer from weak heart muscles, those that have difficulty pumping enough oxygen throughout the body. As for those with healthy hearts, this practice can lower blood pressure and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
How Yoga benefits the brain
The foremost well-known good thing about yoga is maybe the foremost difficult to prove: Its psychological effects. Despite the longstanding association with psychological well-being, there is little conclusive evidence on how practices affect mental health. One of the largest claims is that it improves symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. Since the diagnosis of these conditions varies widely as do their origin and severity, it’s difficult to quantify the effects.
However, there is evidence to suggest that it can help reduce symptoms of stress as well as meditation or relaxation. Researches on the effects of yoga are still evolving. In the future, we are going to need larger studies, incorporating diverse participants, which can measure the effects of yoga on heart attacks, cancer rates, cognitive functions, and more. But for now, Yoga will continue its ancient tradition as a way to exercise, reflect, and relax.
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