You’ve heard this before, Yoga can help you to create strength and greater flexibility. Yoga can help you de-stress and welcome more relaxation. But Yoga also has a hidden superpower. Science has shown that a regular Yoga practice can seriously impact the body’s inflammation levels (Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., et al., 2010). Now, why should you care about your inflammation levels? Well, when inflammation decides to overstay its welcome, it can stir up all sorts of health troubles.
Excessive, chronic inflammation in the body can lead to various health issues. It’s important to understand that inflammation itself is not inherently bad. In fact, it’s a crucial part of the body’s immune response to injury or infection. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to damaging effects on the body.
Here are some conditions that can arise from chronic inflammation:
Inflammation contributes to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease or a stroke.
Inflammation affects insulin resistance, contributing to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Chronic inflammation plays a significant role in various autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
There’s growing evidence that chronic inflammation may contribute to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Mental Health Issues
Recent research has started to explore the link between chronic inflammation and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
Over time, chronic inflammation may result in damage to DNA, which can, in turn, serve as a catalyst for the onset of cancer.
We don’t mean to share this to create fear, our goal is to create inspiration for you to roll out your Yoga mat. You see, we can do all the ‘right things’, eat the healthiest of diets, exercise regularly, drink enough water and manage our stress… and still get sick.
If you search for the ‘best diet’, you’ll find compelling arguments for vegan, carnivore, ketogenic, and Mediterranean diets, each supported by ‘evidence’ claiming it to be the ‘best’. Similarly, for exercise, all kinds of studies prove that certain forms of exercise are superior for health and longevity.
We believe in striking a healthy balance. Why? We’ve come to understand (from experience) that the stress and anxiety linked to maintaining a heavily restrictive diet or adhering to a stringent exercise routine can often do more harm than benefit.
It can lead to an obsessive pursuit of health, that sucks all the joy and spontaneity out of life. This obsession with longevity – gulping down handfuls of supplements, completely avoiding alcohol, sugar, and carbs, abstaining from eating after 5 pm, keeping track of sleep and glucose, and so on.
We understand the drive.
Of course, it’s better to be healthy than not, but we can’t help but notice how this overload of information creates some kind of self-imposed cage.
In the strive for health and longevity, you might forget to actually enjoy all the good things in life – a late-night meal shared with a loved one, savouring a glass of wine with bread and cheese, enjoying a slice of your kid’s birthday cake, or taking a leisurely lie-in with no guilt.
There is no denying that regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and stress management are all essential to manage inflammation levels in your body and maintain good health. But how we go about this is important!
And this gets us to the whole point of this article… that Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise to reduce inflammation and create great health (in our opinions hehe)! Not only are there many benefits but it’s also a method of exercise that does not deplete you like a high-intensity workout might do. Plus, it’s not just a physical practice, it’s a practice that also looks after your mental and emotional health.
What are the benefits of Yoga?
There are so many benefits you can experience from Yoga. The best part is that it’s a practice that is so easy to add to your life. You can even do a class right now!
Improved Flexibility and Balance
Regular Yoga practice can enhance flexibility and balance, this is crucial for maintaining mobility and reducing the risk of injury, especially as you age.
Yoga poses require you to bear your body weight in different ways, including balancing on one leg, static holds and supporting yourself with your arms. The repetition of these movements create overall strength.
The mindful practice of Yoga is connected with deep breathing and meditation. This combination of movement with breath can significantly alleviate stress, activate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote a sense of calm.
Yoga includes breath control practices, known as Pranayama, which can improve lung capacity, enhance endurance, and increase oxygen flow to the body.
Improved Heart Health
Yoga can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, making it an excellent way to support overall heart health.
Studies have shown that practising Yoga can help reduce pain and increase mobility in people with conditions like arthritis and chronic back pain.
Enhanced Mental Health
By helping to reduce stress and anxiety, Yoga can also improve mental health, helping practitioners to feel more balanced and centred.
Even just 10 minutes of Yoga each day can provide a much-needed energy boost in our busy lives and keep us fresh for longer. This is why with our MerryBody Online Yoga classes we share many shorter classes to make sure you have no trouble in scheduling a daily Yoga class!
The combination of physical exertion and mindful relaxation in a Yoga session can contribute to improved sleep quality.
Research indicates that Yoga can decrease levels of inflammation in the body, which can prevent the onset of chronic diseases.
Boosted Immune System
Yoga can help improve immune function and bolster the body’s defences against illness by reducing stress and inflammation.
The list really does go on! And really we missed our favourite benefit… that it’s an instant mood lifter! You can go from a bad mood to a good mood in 5 minutes with Yoga. That alone is worth rolling out the mat and doing a class!
If you’re feeling inspired, perhaps it’s time to start your Yoga journey! You can try one of our free classes over here!
Emma + Carla
Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Christian, L., Preston, H., Houts, C.R., Malarkey, W.B., Emery, C.F., & Glaser, R. (2010). Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 33(1), 88–94.