Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a mind-body practice that involves breathing practices, meditation and stretching and strengthening poses. It also promotes physical health and helps alleviate anxiety and depression.

Many people think of yoga as a form of exercise, but it’s much more than that. Yoga is an ancient discipline that fosters health on all levels.


The practice of yoga can help maintain wellness and relieve a wide range of health problems and conditions. It can boost muscular strength and endurance, improve balance, flexibility and posture and reduce chronic back pain. It can also help manage stress, anxiety and depression and improve sleep.

Research has shown that yoga can significantly decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with the fight-or-flight response, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine. In addition, the relaxation and breathing exercises of yoga can help people with insomnia fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer.

Yoga can also improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and improving the ability to exercise at higher intensities. The breathing exercises of yoga can also help ease asthma symptoms and reduce anxiety. In addition, a yogic cleansing routine called jala neti, which involves gently lashing the nasal passages with salt water, can clear out blocked sinuses and alleviate cold symptoms.


Yoga is a mind and body practice that includes physical postures, breath control techniques, meditation or relaxation. It can be done in different styles, including Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga and Bikram yoga.

The practice of yoga can help improve mood by reducing stress, boosting feel-good hormones and increasing oxygenated blood flow to the brain. Yoga also reduces the activity of the limbic system in the brain, which is responsible for triggering emotions, such as anger and frustration.

People who engage in yoga should always speak with their health care providers before starting a new exercise program. They should also ask about the training and experience of any yoga instructor before enrolling in a class. This can ensure that their yoga practice doesn’t interfere with any medical conditions they may have. Yoga can be a safe, effective alternative to other forms of exercise, but it is not meant to replace or postpone health care from your doctor.


Yoga encourages individuals to slow their breath and focus on the present moment, which helps to promote mental balance and calmness. This relaxation and meditation help individuals overcome anxiety, depression, and stress. In addition, the exercises and breathing techniques used in yoga help to reduce blood pressure and lower cortisol levels.

Yoga also strengthens parts of the brain that play key roles in memory, attention, awareness, thought, and language. These benefits are similar to those of weightlifting exercise, which has been shown to improve cognitive function as people age.

Practicing yoga in a group can enhance social connections and boost the immune system through the act of moving and breathing together in unison. This synchronized activity may also promote healthier eating habits by encouraging people to choose wholesome foods. It can also serve as a gateway to other types of physical activity. For example, a common yoga goal is to build core strength by attending regular yoga classes.


Generally, yoga teachers will be able to identify if a student has an overactive or underactive muscle and make manual adjustments as needed. This will depend on their level of education and what other licenses they hold (like physical therapy).

Specialty classes that instructors can lead are: prenatal yoga, trauma informed yoga, chair yoga, yin yoga, water yoga, incarcerated yoga, PTSD yoga, adaptive yoga and ariel yoga. Instructors can also add to their credentials by certifying in yoga for disabilities, nutrition, meditation, Yoga Nidra and yogic philosophy.

Many yoga instructors will identify with a specific tradition or lineage such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, ParaYoga or Ayurveda. Some are renowned worldwide such as Rod Stryker, who founded the ParaYoga method from his deep study of Hatha yoga, Ayurveda and yogic philosophy. He travels the globe teaching students from his ISHTA yoga studios.