The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to "attach, join, harness, yoke." While there are no specific history on its chronology or specific origin other than the fact that yoga developed in ancient India, one cannot deny that yoga as a form of practice as innumerable mental and physical health benefits.
Following a speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations on December 11, 2014, the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131. The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practising yoga.
Here are the health benefits of practising yoga:
1.It can decrease stress
According to studies, yoga can help ease stress and lower levels of stress hormone cortisol in body.
2.May reduce inflammation
Some studies show that yoga may reduce inflammatory markers in the body. They further help prevent pro-inflammatory diseases.
3.May improve heart health
Studies show that yoga may help improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease.
4.May fight depression
Studies indicate yoga may be able to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with depression.
5.Promotes better sleep:
Studies show that incorporating yoga into daily life can help promote better sleep. This is because of its effects on melatonin and its impact on several common contributors to sleep problems.
6.Improves flexibility and balance
A recent study looked at the impact of 10 weeks of yoga on 26 male college athletes. Doing yoga significantly increased several measures of flexibility and balance, compared to the control group.
7.Helps improve breathing
Most types of yoga incorporate these breathing exercises, and several studies have found that practising yoga could help improve breathing. In one study, 287 college students took a 15-week class where they were taught various yoga poses and breathing exercises. At the end of the study, they had a significant increase in vital capacity.
8.It relieves anxiety
Several studies show that practising yoga can lead to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety. In one study, 34 women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder participated in yoga classes twice weekly for two months, following which they found that those who practised yoga had significantly lower levels of anxiety.
9.Can reduce chronic pain
A study on 42 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome for 8 weeks found that yoga was more effective in reducing pain and improving grip strength than wrist splinting.
10.May relieve migraines
A 2007 study divided 72 patients with migraines into either a yoga therapy or self-care group for three months. Practising yoga led to reductions in headache intensity, frequency and pain compared to the self-care group. Studies show that yoga may stimulate the vagus nerve and reduce migraine intensity and frequency, alone or in combination with conventional care.