Why do yoga
Q: Why do Yoga? A: Why not!
Yoga brings about measurable changes in the body’s sympathetic nervous system (SNS) – the one charged with propelling us into action during the “fight or flight” response to stress. However, because we have busy lives our stress response often lingers in the “on” position. Yoga helps dampen the body’s stress response by reducing levels of the hormone cortisol, which not only fuels our split-second stress reactions, but can wreak havoc when there is on-going stress. Reducing the body’s cortisol level is generally considered a good thing.
Yoga can boosts levels of feel-good brain chemicals like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, which are responsible for feelings of relaxation and contentedness. It is also reported to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which calms us down and restores balance after a stressful event which will have activated the SNS. With the PNS in gear, our body can better extract nutrients from the food we eat, and more effectively eliminate toxins and by-products of metabolism due to enhances circulation and helps the body enters into a state of restoration and healing.
There is also consensus that yoga boosts immune function. This benefit is possibly due to the reduction of cortisol thereby removing a barrier to effective immune function, also, the process of moving the body through a range of postures will encourage the movement of lymph fluids. The lymph system being key to a healthy, functioning immune system.
Researchers have discovered that yoga improves health in part by reducing inflammation which may be responsible for many health problems from heart disease to diabetes to depression.
Paula R. Pullen, PhD, Research Instructor at the Morehouse School of Medicine, studies yoga’s effects on inflammation by looking at what happens in the bodies of heart failure patients who enroll in yoga classes. She has shown that after being randomly assigned to yoga or to standard medical care, patients taking yoga have significantly improved levels of biomarkers. These findings are quite remarkable because they illustrate that yoga can actually affect the tiniest molecules, the ones that are widely known to predict risk for serious disease. Pullen underlines that reducing the body’s level of inflammation is incredibly important from a preventative standpoint. People tend to think of yoga as being all about flexibility – it’s not. It’s about rebalancing and healing the body.
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For those of you who enjoy the invitation by Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, you might like to hear Peter Makena
Finally: What does yoga, meditation and a fudge cake have in common? They all bring you a piece of heaven.
Yours in Yoga