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The Health Benefits Of Yoga

By Adriana Noton

There was a time when yoga was considered, in the United States, something that was only practiced by flower children and sun worshipers. The general association with yoga was a woman sitting in the lotus position and meditating. People who didn’t understand the discipline looked at it as not much more than a way for people to try to relax. And they probably doubted the success of even that.

Today, though, it is a completely different story. Nowadays people are coming to realize all the health benefits it can provide. There are classes popping up all over the country that are attended by women and men of all ages seeking to improve their physical and mental well being.

What are these benefits? For starters, yoga does help one relax. There are some classes that are taught and attended for the sole purpose of relaxation. Not only is relaxation important in reducing stress, it can lead to other improvements as well. The relaxing effect is shown in reduced heart rate and blood pressure.

Of course that is part of the relaxation. But reduced blood pressure also means reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. This increased heart health has also sparked interest in studies directly linking the exercises to lowered cholesterol and boosts in the immune system.

Another benefit to be had is increased muscle flexibility. One purpose of the exercises is to stretch muscles and make them less taut and more limber. More limber muscles are more prone to growth. More taut muscles also tend to hold tension as well as toxins found in the body. The stretching exercises help release these impurities as well as stress. Stretching also improves circulation of the blood.

What is so good about better blood circulation? It means more oxygen is delivered to the various body parts. This includes the brain. More blood and oxygen flow to the brain leads to improvements in memory and the ability to concentrate. General mood is also usually better and the risk of depression is lessened. Perhaps that is the reason why those who practice yoga claim to feel better emotionally.

One of the main areas of focus is breathing. This is heavy emphasis placed on breathing correctly and taking deep breaths so that all the air taken in is used efficiently. Proper breathing also plays a major role in the improved circulation and eases stress. And believe it or not, by controlling breathing, a person can actually get into an aerobic state without jogging or doing jumping jacks. It is in an aerobic state that they body turns to stores of fat to burn as energy. So, a little weight loss is also feasible.

One can do only have an aerobic “workout” but can also have a strength training routine. Yoga positions are all geared toward targeting certain areas of the body, such as arms, upper torso, lower body and legs. These poses build muscle strength and endurance. There are poses to target every single muscle in the body. And, if done correctly, just about every one of these poses will strengthen the abs. This is very important in alleviating back and neck pain.

So you see, yoga is not just for relaxing. It is actually an entire routine that improved well being, inside and out.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Noton, Adriana "The Health Benefits Of Yoga." The Health Benefits Of Yoga. 22 Aug. 2010. 3 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Noton, A (2010, August 22). The Health Benefits Of Yoga. Retrieved August 3, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Noton, Adriana "The Health Benefits Of Yoga"

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