Yoga : the benefits for the health

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Yoga means « union » in Sanskrit. It’s a body practice that involves a combination of physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation or relaxation. Yoga is practice to promote improved control of mind and body and to enhance well-being.

Yoga has several benefits: reduction of stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure, there is also an improvement of back pain (chronic low back pain), migraines, sleep ans general physical fitness. And we gain flexibility of course 🙂

Smal minute culture, which will surely give you want to practice :

B.K.S. (for Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja) Iyengar, is a yoga master. When he was young, he suffered from several illnesses, so much so that his doctors thought he would not live until he was 21 years old. But yoga changed his life. He started at the age of 16 with Śri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and practiced until the end of these days. B.K.S. died on August 20, 2014, aged 95.


Some effects of yoga on health:

1) Anxiety and depression :

Cortisol is the stress hormone. The researchers found that people who suffer of depression have a high level of this hormone. The practice of yoga would relieve an important secretion of cortisol and reduce the other parameters related to stress. A study on the effects of yoga on cortisol and depression has shown that yoga can act on the hypothalamus to create an ‘anti-stress’ by reducing cortisol levels, thus helping to relieve depression.


2) Hypertension – High blood pressure : 

According to researchers:

Twelve weeks of Iyengar yoga (see below) produce clinically significant improvements in systolic blood pressure* and diastoblic blood pressure* over 24 hours.

3) Arthritis:

The studies that have been conducted on this subject have not all been conducted in the same way, some did not have enough participants, etc … But despite these limitations, they concluded that yoga seemed to be promising for arthritis .

4) Low back pain:

Several studies suggest that yoga may be more effective than usual care in reducing pain and medication use.

5) Cardiovascular diseases:

According to the researchers:

« Yoga practice incorporating sun salutation postures beyond the 10-minute minimum can contribute to some of the physical activity that is intense enough to improve cardiorespiratory fitness in unsuitable or sedentary individuals. « 

More :

Some research has also found the benefits of yoga about : asthma, breast cancer cognitive problems and disability, cancer-related fatigue, cardiovascular disease, bipolar disorder, chronic neck pain, chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), balance and falls, menopause, mental health, metabolic syndrome, oxidative stress, and restless legs syndrome. There are also a better management of stress and incontinence.


The benefits of Iyengar yoga

Iyengar yoga is based on the extensive practice of yoga postures and yogic breathing. Particular attention is paid to the alignment of the different parts of the body in space and to the organization of postures in sequences. We can also have to use supports such as straps, bricks, chairs …. etc.

‘Asanas’ refer to standing postures. They give power to the legs, increase overall vitality and improve coordination and balance. They also develop strength and flexibility. These standing postures relieve especially back pain, promote digestion and blood circulation. They are beneficial against stress and fatigue and promote better relaxation.


Some precautions :

Yoga is safe for healthy people when practiced appropriately, and why not, under the guidance of a teacher. « Anyone who is pregnant or who has an ongoing medical condition, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma or sciatica, should talk to their health care practiotioner before to practicing yoga as they may need to modify or avoid certain yoga poses. Also, beginners should avoid extreme practices such as headstand, lotus position and forceful breathing. »

* Systolic and diastolic pressure: 

According to Very well health « When the heart is actively beating (an event called “systole”), it is ejecting blood out into the arteries. This dynamic ejection of blood into the arteries causes the pressure within the arteries to rise. The peak blood pressure reached during active cardiac contraction is called the systolic blood pressure. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure the blood exerts within the arteries in between heartbeats, that is, when the heart is not actively ejecting blood into the arteries. »


Sources :

MNT : What is yoga ? How does it works ?
MNT : yoga, yoga, blood pressure, and health
MNT : Asthma
Pages santé bien être
Le journal du Yoga – BKS Iyengar
B.K.S, sa vie, son oeuvre
Le yoga Iyengar, c’est quoi ?

What are Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure ?


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