What are the mental and physical benefits of yoga?

Although the mechanisms underlying yoga's observed health benefits are not yet well understood, yoga likely influences mental and physical health in several ways. For example, yoga may enhance both mental and physical health by effecting positive changes in emotional state, in nervous system balance and in brain chemistry and function. This in turn can lead to improvements in mood, sleep, physiological profiles and other measures of well-being.

Yoga can also lead to increased physical activity and overall fitness, promote social interaction (if taking classes), encourage healthy eating and strengthen spiritual beliefs -- all of which may directly or indirectly enhance and protect your health.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Yoga is a full-body conditioning exercise, without the intimidating weights or the even more intimidating trainer. You're using your own body weight to get lean and improve your balance. The fat-burning value of lean muscle and the importance of balance is something to treasure as you age. Some yoga poses are even detoxifying. Think you can't do pushups? You'll think otherwise when you've begun to master the plank pose. While its methods may seem covert, the benefits of yoga are quite evident.

Overall, the entire experience can bring you a whole lot of peace of mind. I guarantee that if you try it, you'll know what I'm talking about. That's why I prefer to do yoga in the morning. It helps you reel it all back in, especially if you're faced with a massive to-do list that you'll have to dash through over the course of the day. The postures are intended to "open your heart," as in stretch your rib cage, expand your lung capacity, and improve the quality of your breathing. If my experience is a testament to the power of yoga, I do believe it actually opens you up to making the most out of your day.
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Yoga has many positive mental and physical benefits. Some physiological effects of yoga include improving strength, muscle tone, flexibility and joint range of motion, boosting immunity, reducing stress and anxiety, improving blood flow, and reducing blood pressure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.