Monday, April 18, 2011
Benefits of Yoga on the Immune System
The well known benefits of yoga include:
1. Flexibility: I believe everyone over the age of 35 should be engaging in yoga to keep the body limber and flexible. According to Web.md , "Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. And no matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga. The greatest gains were in shoulder and trunk flexibility."
2. Strength: Yoga is isometric muscle work which is different but just as crucial for the body as more traditional weight lifting. Yoga involves balancing and utilizing one's own body weight and engages the core muscles throughout many of the asanas. Yoga will lean out your body and give the muscles length and definition. This will also improve your body's posture and alignment overall.
3. Breath: through Pranayama (or breath with movement) the lungs are strengthened through deep and slow breathing. This also induces relaxation and combats the body's "adrenaline stress function level" that most of us are in on a day to day basis. With the increase of stimulus and technology all around us our body's are simply more "stressed". More than ever it is not only a privilege but a need that we slow down our body's through purposeful relaxation such as yoga. According to Web.md again, "Among yoga's anti-stress benefits are a host of biochemical responses. For example, there is a decrease in catecholamines, the hormones produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Lowering levels of hormone neurotransmitters -- dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine -- creates a feeling of calm. Some research points to a boost in the hormone oxytocin. This is the so-called "trust" and "bonding" hormone that's associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others." The flow of oxygen to the brain also helps regulate mood and concentration and even help alleviate symptoms related to depression.
4. Heart Disease: People with Celiac Disease have an increased risk of heart disease (we all do nowadays right)..Yoga decreases blood pressure and increases the heart's efficiency. According to Web.md, "On a biochemical level, studies point to a possible anti-oxidant effect of yoga. And yoga has been associated with decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as a boost in immune system function."
5. Immune system: Celiac disease is an auto immune disease which means it must be treated holistically. Basically, immune repair work needs to be done. Yoga help the immune system repair by flushing out unnecessary toxins from the body. Secondly, yoga is a stepping stone towards a healthier lifestyle. People who practice yoga are found to eat healthier and live lifestyles that involve fitness and health. Thirdly, practicing yoga decreases the amounts of stress hormones released in the body. This protects the against viral and bacterial attacks. Finally, yoga assists in healing the immune system by improving circulation and oxygen flow, clearing out mucus and toxins from the lungs and sinuses, increasing lung function, stimulating all of the internal organs and soothing the nervous system (some of these points we explained more above).
Basically, get a yoga book...get a dvd...try a class...incorporate yoga into your lifestyle and it will benefit you greatly.
May you find yoga as enchanting and inviting as I do. Namaste. xo