It’s common knowledge that yoga relieves stress, but science can explain how.

People have been further acknowledging the deep links between psychological well-being and physical health—in a modern world full of triggers and stressors. Stress can take a terrible toll on the body. Too much of it can lead to headaches, stomach problems, and high blood pressure. It can also suppress the immune system—causing or worsening disease.

Researchers over the years have seen the value of yoga in mitigating and managing stress. Many studies have also concluded that yoga can effectively serve as a complementary treatment for depression and anxiety.

There are a ton of great reasons to incorporate yoga into your fitness routine. It’s an effective form of exercise that combines stretching with bodyweight training—while promoting spinal alignment, muscular balance, and flexibility. Yoga also has positive psychological effects. It can enhance self-awareness, body image satisfaction, and inner strength. While the time-honored practice of yoga has been linked to spirituality for thousands of years, modern versions have evolved to be more inclusive. More people around the world are pursuing yoga to get fit and achieve some much-needed relaxation.

One of the most effective weapons that yoga wields against stress is its use of deep breathing. There’s a reason deep breathing is recommended for those who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Deep breathing is also known as abdominal breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or paced respiration. Shallow breathing fails to deliver oxygen to the lowest parts of the lungs. Deep breathing promotes full oxygen exchange, lowers heart rate, and stabilizes blood pressure to alleviate stress.

A systematic review published by the Health Psychology Review in 2015 summarized both psychological and biological mechanisms through which yoga may reduce stress.

The proposed psychological mechanisms included self-awareness, attitude towards stress, strengthened coping mechanisms, appraisal of control, calmness, spiritual well-being, compassion, self-compassion, mindfulness, and acceptance.

The proposed biological mechanisms included the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), autonomic nervous system or vagus nerve arousal, endothelial function, the release of nitric oxide, endogenous cannabinoids and opiates, inflammatory or endocrine responses, limbic system activity, and immune cell gene expression.

The report narrowed the reviewed articles down to empirical studies, most of which were done on Hatha yoga, and repeated their findings. Yoga was able to cause positive affect, less perceived stress, inhibition of the posterior area of the hypothalamus which decreased blood pressure, and reduced levels of cortisol (a biomarker of stress). Other studies have demonstrated that yoga may reduce inflammation and can assist in the treatment of anxiety and PTSD.

In 2012, a theory published in Health Psychology Review suggested that yoga may positively influence vagus nerve activity to relieve stress. The vagus nerve regulates the body’s cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive processes through parasympathetic control. Not only is it key in rest-and-digest and feed-and-breed functions, but also in the regulation of emotions and social communication.

A common thread that runs throughout the existing body of research is that more vigorous experiments should be conducted. Science can do more to empirically confirm the many benefits of yoga. Researchers agree that there is enough knowledge to support the practice of yoga as an effective way to combat stress. If you have problems with overwhelming stress or anxiety and are looking for a healthy release, consider taking some yoga classes.

For more articles on health and fitness, visit the E-Sports International newsroom.

Photo Credits:

Images are from Men’s Journal, Jidiworkout, Yogapedia, and Longevity.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

08Jul 2014

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup soon coming to a close, it is a guarantee that the diehard fans who stood in line and bought tickets will remember the thrill of the games, the tension between the competing teams, the fierce efforts of the players, and the cacophony of cheers and singing heard throughout the matches. Not a lot of people know that these memories are made possible by creating the perfect stadium atmosphere. Read More

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
17Jul 2014

There’s a lot of debate and discussion about the differences between artificial turf and natural grass. While well-designed and maintained natural grass pitches remain to be the gold standard, artificial pitches are growing in popularity as a result of their reliability, economy, and long-term performance. Read More

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
22Jul 2014

American sports is mostly associated with basketball and baseball. Football has been repeatedly overlooked, despite the numerous leagues formed, the American team’s impressive 3rd the inaugural World Cup in Uruguay, and its constant presence in the school system and in middle-class suburbia. It is good to know that this indifference is slowly disappearing. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
25Jul 2014

wearable tech is fast becoming the most popular trend in wellness

The fitness industry has reached new heights of innovation in the last few years. More than ever, health aficionados are free to pursue their exercise regimens and wellness practices with the right equipment, with all of the information they require, and with minimum inconvenience. One of the most impressive innovations that individuals can take full advantage of is wearable tech and the recently popular and convenient cloud technology.  Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page