The Mayo Clinic points to the large number of studies that link regular yoga to lower levels of stress and anxiety. For example, yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, a counterbalance to the fight or flight response to stress, ultimately reducing levels of cortisol, a primary stress hormone, which can impair thyroid function, damage muscle tissue, increase blood pressure, cause inflammation, and more if cortisol is too high.
Boosts brain function
It’s a well-known fact that regular physical activity can lead to better brain function, but research published by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health claims that 20 minutes of yoga a day can promote increased brainwaves and mental clarity compared to almost any other form of exercise, including running. The key: a connected movement of the body and the breath.
Yoga challenges your whole body
Are you a slave to weight machines at the gym? Well, yoga expert Rodney Yee points out that if you do yoga regularly, you’re already doing your share of resistance training. « When we do yoga poses, we put our bodies in positions that end up calling on the vast majority of our muscles for support, » he says. “So you are using your own body weight as resistance! »
Whereas sports like hockey or tennis only require resistance from about 15% of our muscles, yoga offers a full-body workout using full support of the cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular, and endocrine systems.