At this point everyone has heard of yoga, but too many people think that it’s just a good way to increase flexibility and relax. In reality, yoga can encompass a lot more than a few stretches and deep breathing exercises.
There are many styles of yoga, and some of them are more focused on relaxation.
Vinyasa yoga, on the other hand, focuses on finding relaxation and endurance within more rigorous movement sequences.
Vinyasa yoga can get you sweating just as much as if you were in a sauna, get your heart pumping as though you were hiking up a hill, and make your muscles work as much as any weight lifting sequence.
Scientists are just starting to catch on to the potential health benefits of a regular yoga practice, and they are finally beginning to publish studies that prove what yogis have known all along: Yoga has extensive health benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.
Keep reading to find out 5 benefits of vinyasa yoga that scientists have proven in recent years:
1. Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
A 2010 study published in Behavior Modification showed that people with depression had an overall positive response when they began practicing yoga.
Almost all of the participants exhibited a significant decrease in depressive symptoms after 8 weeks.
A more recent study, published in 2014 The Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine consisted of systematic review of 17 studies from 2009 to 2014. All 17 of these studies evaluated whether of not yoga is effective at reducing stress and anxiety after 8 weeks.
In the end, 16 of the 17 studies showed that yoga does, in fact, effectively reduce stress and anxiety when practiced regularly.
2. Quit Bad Habits
A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women smokers who practiced vinyasa yoga were more likely to abstain from smoking than their non-yoga-practicing counterparts.
The women who participated in the yoga program also showed reduced anxiety and perceived improvements in their overall health and well-being.
3. Increase Energy
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Nursing Research showed that after 8 weeks of yoga, female cancer patients experienced a significant reduction in their fatigue levels.
While further research is needed, I think it’s safe to assume that if some of the most health-compromised people were able to boost their energy with yoga, the rest of us can find similar energy-enhancing benefits from yoga as well.
4. Reduce Migraine Headaches
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Yoga showed that adding a yoga practice to conventional care for migraines helped patients significantly.
Participants experienced a reduction in both the frequency and intensity of headaches after practicing yoga 5 days a week for 6 weeks.
5. Cardiovascular Conditioning
Another 2014 study published in the International Journal of Yoga showed that after 11 months of sun-salutations (a movement sequence that is the back-bone of any vinyasa yoga practice), participants had significant improvements in their cardiovascular health measures. This demonstrates that yoga provides long-term health benefits to those who practice.
Chances are you’ll discover even more benefits than I’ve listed here.
Already practicing yoga? How has it impacted your life? Leave a comment below!