As yoga has become an increasingly integral part of 21st-century life, scientists, armed with new tools that allow them to look ever deeper into the body, have been turning their attention to what happens physiologically when we practice yoga—not just asana but also pranayama and meditation.
These physicians, neuroscientists, psychologists, and other researchers are uncovering fascinating evidence of how the practice affects us mentally and physically and may help to prevent and assist in the treatment of a number of the most common ailments that jeopardize our vitality and shorten our lives.
Practicing Yoga can have a number of number of benefacting results both physically and mentally.
- Anti – aging function. While the fountain of youth remains a myth, recent studies suggest that yoga and meditation may be associated with cellular changes that affect the body's aging process. Each of our cells includes structures called telomeres, bits of DNA at the end of chromosomes that get shorter each time a cell divides. When telomeres get too short, the cells can no longer divide and they die. Yoga, it seems, may help to preserve their length.
- Fighting depression and other chronic psychological conditions. In a small study in 2007, UCLA researchers examined how yoga affected people who were clinically depressed and for whom antidepressants provided only partial relief. After eight weeks of practicing Yoga three times a week, the patients reported significant decreases in both anxiety and depression.
- Can be used as pain reliever. Yoga shows promise as a treatment for relieving certain kinds of chronic pain.
- Can help controlling blood pressure. One-fifth of those who have high blood pressure don't know it. And many who do struggle with the side effects of long-term medication. Yoga and meditation, by slowing the heart rate and inducing the relaxation response, may help bring blood pressure down to safer levels