The many health benefits of yoga are crystal-clear. No matter which specific discipline of yoga you choose, following a regular routine puts you in control of several quality-of-life issues that plague many of us. Let's examine some of the more common ones and how the practice of yoga can help.
Sleep is the great restorer, yet many people suffer from some degree of insomnia or other sleep disorder. Since neither the mind nor the body is able to relax enough to enter a deep, restorative sleep, the consequences are numerous. Personality changes, such as irritability, often occur, affecting both personal and work relationships. You are often unable to maintain mental sharpness and focus, interfering with your work performance and completion of daily tasks. A Harvard study shows those afflicted with insomnia who performed a daily yoga routine for a period of approximately eight weeks fell asleep 30% faster and awakened during the night 35% less than they had prior to beginning the regimen.
Likewise, the quality of life for those suffering from cancer can also be improved through the use of yoga. Excessive fatigue is a common side effect of those undergoing treatments for cancer. A study at the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that cancer patients who participated in Hatha yoga exercises reported much improved sleep quality and less fatigue. These same patients were able to significantly reduce their reliance on sleep medications.
Reduce Intensity of Migraines
Migraine sufferers know how debilitating the condition can be. Multiple studies have shown that through the use of yoga breathing and relaxation techniques, a person can have some success limiting the frequency and intensity of the headaches. Certain techniques and poses can prevent tight restriction of blood vessels, which is believed to be one of the causes of migraines. It should be noted that yoga positions placing your head lower than your heart for any length of time are not recommended for this purpose.
Helps With Joint Pain
The most common complaints of arthritis sufferers are pain and stiffness. A routine of yoga stretches and poses, combined with its breathing techniques, have been shown to dramatically improve one's flexibility and muscle tone. Another possible benefit is that yoga exercises help to lubricate joints where inflammation most often occurs.
Clears Your Mind
Lastly is the spiritual component of yoga. This should not be overlooked when discussing quality-of-life enhancements. Yoga meditations allow the mind to clear and recuperate emotionally to help you get through difficult situations. Many people like to end their yoga routine with a meditation as this can help obtain a state of deep relaxation.
As you can see there a lot of ways that practicing yoga can help improve your overall quality of life. It is not only a good exercise for your agility and balance, but it also improves your sleep, energy levels and gives you inner strength during those stressful situations that life throws your way. One of the biggest supporters of yoga, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, explains, “Yoga is a great mechanism for relieving stress because it puts you in tune with your inner self both physically and mentally. It gives time and space away from outside stress and focuses you."