Derived from the Sanskrit` word “Yuji,” meaning yoke or union, yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body. It incorporates breathing exercises, meditation and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Practicing yoga is said to come with many benefits for both mental and physical health, though not all of these benefits have been backed by science. This article takes a look at 10 evidence-based benefits of yoga.
1. Can decrease stress: Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation. In fact, multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
2. Relieves Anxiety: Yoga emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and finding a sense of peace, which could help treat anxiety.
3. May Reduce Inflammation: In addition to improving your mental health, some studies suggest that practicing yoga may reduce inflammation as well.
4. Could Improve Heart Health: From pumping blood throughout the body to supplying tissues with important nutrients, the health of your heart is an essential component of overall health.
5. May Fight Depression: Some studies show that yoga may have an anti-depressant effect and could help decrease symptoms of depression.
6. Could Reduce Chronic Pain: Chronic pain is a persistent problem that affects millions of people and has a range of possible causes, from injuries to arthritis.
7. Could Promote Sleep Quality: Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders.
8. Improves Flexibility and Balance: Many people add yoga to their fitness routine to improve flexibility and balance.
9. Could Help Improve Breathing: Pranayama, or yogic breathing, is a practice in yoga that focuses on controlling the breath through breathing exercises and techniques.
10. Promotes Healthy Eating Habits: Mindful eating, also known as intuitive eating, is a concept that encourages being present in the moment while eating.

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