Saturday, January 16, 2010

Benefits of Yoga 7

The benefits of yoga are endless. Check out the additions below. The info below comes from "Count on Yoga" in Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners.

- Feeling sad? Sit in Lotus. Better yet, rise up into a backbend or soar royally into Lord of the Dance Pose. While it's not as simple as that, one study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. At the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, PhD, found that the left prefrontal cortex showed heightened activity in meditators, a finding that has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function. More dramatic left-sided activation was found among dedicated, long-term practitioners.

Immune System-It's likely that both asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing) improve immune function, but meditation has the strongest scientific support in this area. It appears to have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the immune system, boosting it when needed (for example, raising antibody levels in response to a vaccine) and lowering it when needed (for instance, migrating an overly aggressive immune function in an autoimmune disease like psoriasis).

Breathing - Yogis tend to take fewer breaths of greater volume, which is both calming and more efficient. A 1998 study published in The Lancet taught a yogic technique known a "complete breathing" to people with lung problems due to congestive heart failure. After one month, their average respiratory rate decreased from 13.4 breaths per minute to 7.6. Meanwhile, their exercise capacity increased significantly, as did the oxygen saturation of their blood. In addition, yoga has been shown to improve various measures of lung function, including the maximum volume of breath and the efficiency of the exhalation.

Come out to yoga and feel the benefits of yoga for yourself. Namaste.

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