The Science of Yoga

Health & Lifestyle
woman rolling a yoga mat

Produced by Uplift TV (source: Documentary)

Four Components of Yoga

  • Physical
    • Postures, stretches, exercises, movements, breathing and relaxation techniques
    • Affects our body’s overall functioning 
  • Self-Regulation
    • Ability to control internal stress and emotional responses 
    • Leads to resilience to stress, self-efficacy and equanimity in the face of emotions
  • Mind-Body Awareness
    • Feeling and experiencing what’s going on in the body and mind (being able to observe the flow of thought)
    • Leads to increased mindfulness that can change behaviours in a positive way
  • Experiencing Deeper States
    • Spiritual, transformative, leads to positive lifestyle and goals, improves and enhances life meaning and purpose 
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Benefits of Yoga

  • Research has shown measures of reduction in:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Psychological distress
    • Frequency of negative experiences 
  • Increase in resiliency and the frequency of positive experiences
  • Improvement in mental health
  • Creates much needed space in the body and mind 
  • Establishes connections by moving energy through the body
  • Yoga stretches the body; meditation empties the mind 
  • Enables management of the stress response system 

Breathing

  • Breath is the most powerful tool that everyone has to bring their stress response under their control 
  • It’s possible to reduce blood pressure by controlling breathing
  • Blood pressure is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system (the messenger of the stress response) 
  • Postures in yoga creates challenge that our mind is constantly dealing with; this can be controlled through breathing
  • Breathing + effort of regulating thought enhance parasympathetic nervous signal and brings sympathetic nervous signal down 
  • Breathing can be practiced within yoga and in daily life 

Mind & Brain

  • Yoga strengthens the power of the mind and how we connect with the world
  • The mind controls our health and biology 
  • 1% of illness is related to genes; 90% of illness is related to stress 
  • Yoga brings the mind into focus and can change brain activity and structure (such as plasticity, resulting in the brain becoming conducive to the benefits that come with yoga and meditation)
  • Can change and enhance gene activity that’s good for you (improved immune response); down-regulates negative gene activity when under chronic stress (inflammation) 
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Barriers to Moving Yoga Forward 

  • Perception and misconceptions about yoga, often created by the media:
    • Yoga viewed as complex exercise forms and postures; requires you to be flexible, thin, young to practice; is difficult, specific and not adaptable to individual circumstances
      • Yoga practices can be adapted to any population, and still train the same properties (mind-body coordination, mindfulness, awareness) 
  • Chair yoga for elders
  • Can be done with young children

Global Benefits 

  • Survival requires the foundation of human behaviours and the way we respond to life and to change
  • Using our individual power for harmony, connection, union
    • First done by the individual through healing themselves, taking back power over their behaviour, becoming in harmony and good health  
    • Establishing awareness, self-regulation, immunity to stress, compassion, high-mindedness, clarity 
    • Our collective nature as individuals becomes stronger and harmonious, leading to a greater influence on the planet 
  • Engaging in yoga is a practice of evolution and transformation on society as a whole 

Ready to get started?

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WEBSITE DISCLAIMER

This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

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