Yoga is a science that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is consists of Ancient Theories, observations and principles about the mind and body connection which is now being proven by modern medicine. Substantial research has been conducted to look at the Health Benefits of Yoga - from the Yoga Postures (Asanas), Yoga Breathing (Pranayama), and Meditation. The information is grouped into three categories-physiological, psychological, biochemical effects. Furthermore, scientists have laid these results against the benefits of regular exercise.
(1) Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium.
(2) Pulse rate decreases.
(3) Respiratory rate decreases.
(4) Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors).
(5) Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases.
(6) EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation).
(7) EMG activity decreases.
(8) Cardiovascular efficiency increases.
(9) Respiratory efficiency increases.
(10) Gastrointestinal function normalizes.
(11) Endocrine function normalizes.
(12) Excretory functions improve.
(13) Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase.
(14) Breath-holding time increases.
(15) Joint range of motion increase.
(16) Grip strength increases.
(17) Eye-hand coordination improves.
(18) Dexterity skills improve.
(19) Reaction time improves.
(20) Posture improves.
(21) Strength and resiliency increase.
(22) Endurance increases.
(23) Energy level increases.
(24) Weight normalizes.
(25) Sleep improves.
(26) Immunity increases.
(27) Pain decreases.
(28) Steadiness improves.
(29) Depth perception improves.
(30) Balance improves.
(31) Integrated functioning of body parts improves.
Psychological Benefits of Yoga
(1) Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
(2) Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
(3) Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
(4) Social adjustment increases
(5) Anxiety and Depression decrease
(6) Hostility decreases
(7) Concentration improves
(8) Memory improves
(9) Attention improves
(10) Learning efficiency improves
(11) Mood improves
(12) Self-actualization increase
(13) Social skills increases
(14) Well-being increases
(15) Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
(16) Self-acceptance increase
(17) Attention improves
(18) Concentration improves
(19) Memory improves
(20) Learning efficiency improves
(21) Symbol coding improves
(22) Depth perception improves
(23)Flicker fusion frequency improves
Biochemical Benefits of Yoga
(1) Glucose decreases
(2) Sodium decreases
(3) Total cholesterol decreases
(4) Triglycerides decrease
(5) HDL cholesterol increases
(6) LDL cholesterol decreases
(7) VLDL cholesterol decreases
(8) Cholinesterase increases
(9) Catecholamines decrease
(10) ATPase increases
(11) Hematocrit increases
(12) Hemoglobin increases
(13) Lymphocyte count increases
(14) Total white blood cell count decreases
(15) Thyroxin increases
(16) Vitamin C increases
(17) Total serum protein increases
Yoga Benefits versus Exercise Benefits
(1) Yoga Benefits
(2) Parasympathetic Nervous System dominates
(3) Subcortical regions of brain dominate
(4) Slow dynamic and static movements
(5) Normalization of muscle tone
(6) Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments
(7) Low caloric consumption
(8) Effort is minimized, relaxed
(9) Energizing (breathing is natural or controlled)
(10) Balanced activity of opposing muscle groups
(11) Noncompetitive, process-oriented
(12) Awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite)
(13) Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness
(1) Sympathetic Nervous System dominates
(2) Cortical regions of brain dominate
(3) Rapid forceful movements
(4) Increased muscle tension
(5) Higher risk of injury
(6) Moderate to high caloric consumption
(7) Effort is maximized
(8) Fatiguing (breathing is taxed)
(9) Imbalance activity of opposing groups
(10) Competitive, goal-oriented
(11) Awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)
(12) Boredom factor