This may sound strange, but if you’re feeling a little sluggish and cranky, do some yoga!
With gyms and fitness activities halted, many of us have struggled to maintain our fitness goals during the pandemic. Even our daily commute is now limited to the bedroom and the living room. We have fewer opportunities to get our heart rate up and get those feel-good endorphins going.
However, just one session of online yoga at home will leave you feeling brighter and revitalised.
The Immediate Health Benefits of Yoga
Contemporary studies have shown that yoga is good for:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving heart health
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing flexibility
- Better sleep
- Reduced anxiety and better mood
- Improving physical fitness
- Reduced chronic pain
Whether it’s high-energy ashtanga or restorative Hatha, it doesn’t matter what style of yoga you do. Scientific research shows that yoga pays off the second you start warming up with a downward dog. The other great thing about yoga is that you don’t need to leave the house.
How Does Yoga Work?
It is not fully understood why yoga is so immediately beneficial for health.
This ancient system is a blend of physical exercise, breathing exercises, and spiritual contemplation:
- Physical exercise improves cardiovascular health.
- Breathing exercises slow the heart rate and calm the mind
- Spiritual contemplation helps us to frame our thoughts in a more positive light
Because yoga combines three aspects, it’s hard for science to specify exactly why certain poses work.
The breathing exercises found in yoga relax the muscles that constrict the lung’s passageways which improves blood and oxygen flow in the body. Increased oxygenation of the blood is beneficial for people with weaker heart muscles, which lowers blood pressure and reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease.
Because yoga has such a powerful effect on the body’s systemic inflammation and stress, it has a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
Yoga is highly recommended for people who suffer from cardiovascular disease as it lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, and relieves the central nervous system.
This claim is backed by scientific studies. A 2019 study showed that the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga improved the lives of heart failure patients.
A review of nineteen scientific studies on the effect of yoga on sleep shows that it can help to relieve insomnia. In most cases, yoga helped people get to sleep better when they typically struggle.
Another 2020 study examined the effects of an 11-minute yoga Nidra meditation on 341 people compared to a control group of 430 people. The results of the study found that the people who meditated experienced better quality sleep and lower stress than the control group.
Economic threat and uncertainty are fuelling rates of stress and anxiety. Continuous stress triggers an inflammatory response in the body which can lead to mental and physical health problems. Many studies show that yoga successfully reduces stress, even if it’s not completely understood.
Doing an online yoga session could be more beneficial for stress than the gym session you’re missing.
Interestingly, by reducing stress, yoga immediately wakes up the genes that reduce inflammation. A 2013 study by the University of Oslo discovered that after just two hours of yoga practice changes happen within the body at a cellular level which improves immunity. This change is referred to as gene expression.
The reduction in stress and the ‘fight or flight’ response from yoga means the body is protected from stress-induced inflammation. One study of pregnant women in Japan showed that cortisol and subjective stress levels reduced drastically after one yoga session. Hot yoga for beginners can have even greater benefits to your health.
Improved Flexibility and Mobility
Moving through various postures stretches and lengthens multiple muscle groups and internal organs. This movement changes the water content of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which enhances elasticity. Regular stretching over time stimulates stem cells generating new muscle tissue and collagen.
Yoga improves fitness, musculoskeletal conditions, mobility, and flexibility. People who start doing yoga regularly find they can bend down to pick things up, tie their shoelaces, and experience less back pain. We may not realise it, but tension can build up in our body and mind, particularly if we sit in the same position for long periods. The less we move around, the more likely we are to stiffen up.
Yoga stretches release the tension and stress sitting in your system. For example, if you’re suffering from neck and shoulder pain, you can experience immediate relief from poses such as the twisted cobra pose or low cobra pose.
Get Some Instant Yoga Relief
You can experience the soothing and nurturing effects of yoga practice right now even though we’re still in lockdown. Why not try our free online yoga class here. This is a really quick and easy way to start and you’ll feel the health benefits right away.
Hot yoga for beginners
We look forward to seeing you!