Why You Should Adopt a Yoga Practice

Meditation doesn’t always involve sitting still. Sometimes a mindful movement can be a form of meditation as well. Yoga can be that mindful movement, and at Exhale Studio we offer a selection of yoga classes designed to help you regain your physical and mental clarity. 

Discover some of the benefits of yoga. 

Reduces the Effects of Anxiety and Depression

One study analyzed the use of yoga as a stress management tool by following 34 women who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and who were prescribed to attend a yoga clinic. 

The women participated in a yoga class twice-weekly for two months and at the end of the study, those who practiced reported significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group that didn’t practice. 

Reduces Chronic Pain

Often, yoga is prescribed as a way to reduce the effect of chronic pain. There are a few studies that suggest that it can do just that and improve a patient’s daily life.

One example is a study conducted out of Oregon Health and Science University where, in 2010, some researchers found that yoga exercises may help reduce fibromyalgia pain. The study followed 53 women previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia and put them into two randomly assigned groups. 

The first group participated in an 8-week yoga program that included gentle poses, meditation, and breathing exercises. The second group received the standard medication for fibromyalgia. 

When the program was completed, researchers assessed each subject with questionnaires and physical tests, and compared them to results taken prior to the program’s commencement.

The data collected suggests that yoga appears to assist in combating a number of fibromyalgia symptoms including pain, fatigue, stiffness, poor sleep, depression, anxiety, and balance.

These changes were large enough to have a significant impact on the subject’s daily function with the yoga group reporting a 24 percent reduction in pain, a 30 percent reduction in fatigue, and a 42 percent reduction in depression.

Improves Energy & Executive Brain Function

Exercise can improve your overall energy levels due to the release of endorphins and increased blood flow. One study from the University of Waterloo found that it not only increased energy levels but also improves executive brain function. 

Researchers put 31 participants into randomized groups. Each completed either 25 minutes of Hatha yoga, mindfulness meditation, or quiet reading (the control activity). 

The researchers later tested how the participants improved on executive function tasks.  Those who practiced meditation or yoga performed significantly better. Simultaneously, the study showed that these activities were both effective for improving energy levels, although yoga was more effective.

Reduces the Impact of Stress

Yoga has been prescribed as a way to reduce stress of years, and there is evidence to suggest that it does just that. 

Stress can account for 60 to 80 percent of visits to your primary care doctor, and chronic stress has been linked to biological aging, increased chronic inflammation.

This was the conclusion in a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, showed that twelve weeks of yoga could slow cellular aging. 

The program consisted of 90 minutes of yoga in different physical postures. The result was lower levels of inflammation and significantly lower levels of cortisol.

Improves Sleep

Sleep is essential to living a full and present life, but a good restful night’s sleep can be elusive to many. Fortunately, several studies show that there is an improved quality of sleep with a yoga practice.

For example, a 2005 study followed 69 elderly patients in a nursing home. Half of the subjects were told to practice yoga and the others were told to take an herbal supplement. The group that practiced yoga fell asleep faster, slept longer, and were more well-rested the next morning.  

A 2012 study conducted at Harvard Medical Center found similar results. In this study, researchers evaluated participants with different types of insomnia including primary insomnia and insomnia that resulted from an illness. 

Participants were given some basic yoga instructions and then told to continue the practice for eight weeks and maintain a sleep log. The study reported that in the 410 cancer survivors surveyed, yoga helped reduce fatigue as well as the amount of sleep medication used.

Improves Flexibility and Balance

Often you’ll hear how yoga can improve your flexibility, and a study out of the University of Illinois Chicago found that to be the case. 

The study followed 26 male college athletes over a ten-week period. One group of 14 students took part in bi-weekly yoga sessions. A control group of 12, took part in no additional yoga activities. 

Researchers took performance measures in the form of a sit and reach test, stork stand, joint angles, and shoulder flexibility while the athletes were in three poses: downward dog, chair, and right-foot lunge.

Across the board, the study concluded that the yoga group saw increased gains in their performance suggesting that a regular yoga practice can increase flexibility and balance, and may increase athletic performance. 

Want to Try a Yoga Class?

Ready to try a yoga class that will help you regain your physical and mental clarity? Take a look at our yoga class schedule and find that suits you!

Our classes are all taught by experienced teachers who are dedicated to helping you experience the restorative benefits of meditation and yoga, and providing an inviting and welcoming space where you can focus on yourself and recenter your mind and body.

Further Reading

Yoga and Depression: