Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
With the hope of leading a happier life, we all are moving towards a healthier version of us at our own pace. However, amongst the clutter of all sorts of exercises, we are forgetting our own heritage which, in fact, has reached the world. Yoga, originated in India almost 5000 years ago, which is almost always overlooked by us, is evidently benefitting millions of people across the globe. Did this make you wonder how some boring moves and postures can improve our health? Look no further as here we are discussing how yoga helps lifestyle diseases.
Yoga and Our Health
Yoga has been in India’s culture and heritage for over 5000 years. In Sanskrit, it means ‘to unite’ and also has been described as a way to lead a healthier life. However, yoga is associated with spirituality because it ‘unites’ human consciousness with the divine consciousness. Due to this reason we fail to notice that it has a noticeable impact on our health.
Various researches over time have proved the benefits of yoga on our body. Doing yoga for a few hours each week can certainly help you to:
- Sleep better
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Uplift your mood
- Relieve chronic illnesses
- Improve digestion and immunity
- Become flexible and strong
- Enhance respiratory and neurological functions
Yoga and Lifestyle Diseases
Our lifestyle is the biggest risk for our health but it is completely in our hands to prevent lifestyle diseases. Physical activity, undoubtedly, keep us safe from a wide range of lifestyle issues like diabetes, hypertension and stress. Choosing yoga can be a wise choice for you as it can keep you safe from various diseases that hold potential risk to your heart while providing other, already stated, benefits.
Any disease involving blood vessels, heart or both is termed as cardiovascular disease. For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, stress, lack of sleep and high blood cholesterol – all these are risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. Yoga can significantly reduce these risk factors as it includes breathing, physical activity and meditation. All of these positively impacts cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the same has been proved in research where the impact of different types of yoga was reviewed on different individuals (including young, old, healthy and those with health conditions). According to the research, individuals who performed yoga on regular basis showcased comparatively less risk of heart diseases.
Since there are different types of cardiovascular diseases and yoga helps each one of them in a different way, let us look at few of them independently.
Hypertension is the biggest cause of cardiovascular diseases. A prolonged period of high blood pressure can damage the arteries and can also result in heart failures. Moreover, various studies have proved yoga is effective in lowering blood pressure. It happens because yoga includes comfortable postures which do not put pressure on the heart at all. Instead, due to controlled breathing, the requirement of blood and oxygen decreases and every muscle relaxes. This stabilizes the nervous system which in turn normalizes blood pressure.
Few asanas for Hypertension:
- Shishuasana (Child Pose)
- Vajrasana (Diamond Pose)
- Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend Pose)
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
- Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
When diagnosed with diabetes, it can look like you are stuck with the disease for a lifetime. If proper treatment is not provided there is a high risk of damage to other body organs. However, with little modification in lifestyle, complications can be prevented. Including yoga into your routine can be extremely helpful. Yoga has various asanas which contract or relaxes abdominal muscles and stimulates the pancreas. This stimulation results in increased blood and oxygen supply which in turn rejuvenates pancreas’ ability to produce insulin which controls blood sugar.
Few asanas for Diabetes:
- Dhanurasana (bow pose)
- Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
- Padangusthansana (head to toe pose)
- Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
- Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
Stress is inevitable. But, if it stops you from living your life efficiently, then it is the time that you add healthy changes into your life to manage it. Yoga has been known for its calming effect and how it harmonizes our body and mind. With soothing poses and controlled breathing, our body relaxes and relieves stress. A recent study proved that practising yoga on a regular basis reduces cortisol level which is the primary stress of hormone. Clearly, yoga has the ability to calm your body and mind thereby making you stress-free.
Few asanas for Stress:
- Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
- Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) Variation
- Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Benefits of yoga are not limited to what we have mentioned. These benefits are continuously being studied by researches. Although the fact that it is around for more than 5000 years should be enough to prove its efficiency. So, make it a part of your life now but make sure to perform it under expert supervision to avoid any accidents.
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