Know About Yoga

 The Health Benefits of Yoga

How does yoga work?

Yoga is a mind and body practice. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.

Yoga is an ancient practice that may have originated in India. It involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote physical and mental well-being.

There are various types of yoga and many disciplines within the practice.

This article explores the history, philosophy, health and wellness benefits, and various branches of yoga.

The Health Benefits of Yoga
yoga meditation

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves physical poses, concentration, and deep breathing.

A regular yoga practice can promote endurance, strength, calm, flexibility, and well-being.

Yoga is now a popular form of exercise around the world. According to a 2017 national survey, one in seven adults in the United States practiced yoga in the past 12 months.


The first mention of the word "yoga" appears in the Rig Veda, a collection of ancient texts. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "yuj", which means "union" or "to join".

Yoga dates back to northern India more than 5,000 years ago.

Indian monks spread their knowledge of yoga in the West in the late 1890s. Modern yoga teachings became very popular in Western countries in the 1970s.


The general philosophy of yoga is about connecting the mind, body and spirit.

There are six branches of yoga. Each branch represents a different approach and set of characteristics.

The six branches are:

Hatha yoga: this is the physical and mental branch that aims to prepare the body and mind.

Raja yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the eight branches of yoga.

Karma yoga - This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.

Bhakti yoga: aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.

Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga deals with wisdom, the path of the scholar, and the development of the intellect through study.

Tantra yoga - this is the path of ritual, ceremony or the consummation of a relationship.

The Health Benefits of Yoga
yoga sequence


The word "chakra" means "spinning wheel."

Yoga holds that the chakras are the central points of energy, thoughts, feelings, and the physical body. According to yoga teachers, the chakras determine how people experience reality through emotional reactions, desires or aversions, levels of confidence or fear, and even physical symptoms and effects.

When energy is blocked in a chakra, it triggers physical, mental or emotional imbalances that manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, lethargy, or poor digestion.

Asanas are the many physical postures of Hatha yoga. People who practice yoga use asanas to release energy and stimulate an imbalanced chakra.

There are seven main chakras, each with its own focus:

Sahasrara: The crown chakra, found at the crown of the head, symbolizes spiritual connection.

Ajna: Located between the eyebrows, the third eye chakra has to do with intuition.

Vishuddha: The throat chakra corresponds to immunity and verbal communication.

Anahata: The heart chakra, located in the center of the chest, influences professional and personal relationships. Any imbalance in this chakra will affect the control of oxygen, hormones, tissues, and organs.

Manipura: The solar plexus chakra is located in the stomach area. It corresponds to self-confidence, wisdom, and self-discipline.

Svadhishthana: The sacral chakra, located below the navel, connects pleasure, well-being and vitality.

Muladhara: The root chakra, found at the base of the spine, connects the mind and body with the earth to keep the person grounded. It controls the sciatic nerves and the parasympathetic nervous system.

yoga relaxation

The Health Benefits of Yoga

benefits of yoga


Modern yoga focuses on exercise, strength, agility, and breathing. You can help Trusted Source improve physical and mental well-being.

There are many styles of yoga. A person should choose a style based on their goals and fitness level.

Types and styles of yoga include:

Ashtanga yoga

This type of yoga practice uses ancient yoga teachings. However, it became popular during the 1970s.

Ashtanga applies the same poses and sequences that quickly link each movement with the breath.

Bikram yoga

People practice Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, in rooms with artificial heating at a temperature of nearly 105 ° F and 40% humidity. It consists of 26 poses and a sequence of two breathing exercises.

Hatha yoga

This is a generic term for any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Hatha classes often serve as a gentle introduction to basic yoga postures.

Iyengar Yoga

This type of yoga practice focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose with the help of a variety of accessories, such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and cushions.

Kripalu yoga

This type teaches practitioners to know, accept, and learn from the body. A Kripalu yoga student learns to find his own level of practice by looking inward.

Classes usually begin with gentle stretching and breathing exercises, followed by a series of individual poses and final relaxation.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga is a meditation system that aims to release repressed energy.

A Kundalini yoga class generally begins with chants and ends with chants. In between, it features asana, pranayama, and meditation that aim to create a specific result.

Power yoga

In the late 1980s, practitioners developed this type of active and athletic yoga based on the traditional Ashtanga system.


The Health Benefits of Yoga
benefits of yoga and meditation

This system uses a five-point philosophy as a basis.

This philosophy holds that proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking work together to create a healthy yogic lifestyle.

Sivananda practitioners use 12 basic asanas, preceding with Sun Salutations and continuing with Savasana.


Viniyoga focuses on form over function, breathing and adaptation, repetition and holding, and the art and science of sequencing.

Yin yoga

Yin yoga focuses on holding passive postures for long periods of time. This style of yoga targets deep tissues, ligaments, joints, bones, and fascia.

Prenatal yoga

Prenatal yoga uses poses that practitioners have created with pregnant people in mind. This style of yoga can help people recover after giving birth and support health during pregnancy.

Restorative yoga

This is a relaxing method of yoga. A person passes a restorative yoga class in four or five simple poses, using accessories such as blankets and braces to immerse themselves in deep relaxation without exerting any effort while maintaining the pose.

Benefits of yoga

According to a 2012 survey, 94% of adults who practice yoga do so for wellness reasons.

Yoga has many physical and mental benefits, including a reliable source:

build muscle strength

improving flexibility

promoting better breathing

supporting heart health

helping with addiction treatment

reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain

improve sleep

improve general well-being and quality of life

It is advisable to consult a medical professional, if possible, before starting a yoga practice.

The Health Benefits of Yoga

yoga practice

Risks and side effects.

Many types of yoga are relatively gentle and therefore safe for people when a well-trained instructor guides the practice.

It is rare to suffer a serious injury while doing yoga. The most common injuries among people who practice yoga are sprains and strains.

However, people may want to consider some risk factors before starting a yoga practice.

A person who is pregnant or has an ongoing medical condition, such as bone loss, glaucoma, or sciatica, should consult a healthcare professional, if possible, before beginning yoga.

Some people may need to modify or avoid some yoga poses that could be risky given their specific condition.

Beginners should avoid advanced poses and difficult techniques such as head posture, lotus pose, and forceful breathing.

When managing a condition, people should not replace conventional medical care with yoga or put off visiting a healthcare professional because of pain or any other medical problem.


Yoga is an ancient practice that has changed over time.

Modern yoga focuses on poses designed to stimulate inner peace and physical energy. Ancient yoga did not put as much emphasis on fitness. Instead, it revolved around cultivating mental focus and expanding spiritual energy.

There are many different types of yoga available. The style that a person chooses will depend on their expectations and level of physical agility.

People with certain health conditions, such as sciatica, should approach yoga slowly and with caution.

Yoga can help maintain an active and balanced lifestyle.

What are the health benefits of yoga?




Lumbar pain

Quality of life

Brain function

Heart disease

Starting yoga


Yoga is a popular exercise that focuses on breathing, strength, and flexibility. The practice of yoga can provide many benefits for physical and mental health.

Between 2012 and 2017, the percentage of people in the United States practicing yoga increased from 9.5% to 14.3% Trusted Source in adults and from 3.1% to 8.4% Trusted Source in children.

The 2012 National Health Interview Survey reported that approximately 94% of people who practice yoga in the US do so for wellness reasons. Respondents said yoga benefits their health by:

encourage them to exercise more

inspiring them to eat healthier

improving the quality of your sleep

reducing your stress levels

Encourage them to cut down on alcohol and smoking.

Mounting evidence suggests that yoga may also provide other health benefits. We list these possible benefits in the following sections.

Reducing stress

People often practice yoga to reduce stress and help relaxation. Scientists are now learning the mechanisms behind how yoga reduces stress.

Persistent surges of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, can damage blood vessels and raise blood pressure.

However, research has shown that people who practice yoga regularly have low cortisol levels.

Studies have also found that practicing yoga for at least 3 months can reduce cortisol and perceived stress and reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation.

Relieve anxiety

Although most people feel anxious from time to time, anxiety is also a symptom of many conditions, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and phobias.

A 2016 meta-analysis, a reliable source, found that the practice of Hatha yoga had a promising effect on anxiety. Yoga was also most beneficial in people who had the highest levels of anxiety at the beginning of the studies.

An earlier 2010 Trusted Source study showed that yoga improved mood and anxiety levels more than walking. The researchers suggest that this was due to higher levels of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

The Health Benefits of Yoga
yoga and meditation

GABA activity tends to be lower in people with anxiety and mood disorders. The researchers tested GABA activity and found that yoga increased GABA levels in the participants.

A 2017 study evaluated whether practicing yoga at school could help children experiencing anxiety. Yoga practice at the beginning of the school day for 8 weeks improved their emotional health and well-being compared to the control group.

about yoga

Depression management

Major depression affects about 17.3 million adults in the US in any given year.

Although medication and psychotherapy are common treatments for depression, yoga has had some promising results as a complementary therapy.

A 2017 systematic review found that yoga could reduce depressive symptoms in many populations, including people with depressive disorder, pregnant and postpartum women, and caregivers.

The 2017 Trusted Source research looked at people with depression who had not responded well to antidepressants.

Study participants who completed 2 months of Sudarshan Kriya yoga experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms, while the control group showed no improvement.

Researchers suggest that yoga can reduce symptoms of depression by reducing cortisol, or the "stress hormone."

Decrease low back pain

Low back pain affects around 80% of adults at some point in their lives and affects their ability to perform daily tasks, exercise, and sleep. Yoga can be a convenient and inexpensive way to provide some relief.

A 2017 analysis linked the practice of yoga to relief of low back pain and an improvement in back-related function.

Military veterans and active duty military personnel often experience higher rates of chronic pain than the general population, especially in the lower back.

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that a 12-week yoga program improved disability scores and pain intensity and reduced opioid use among military veterans.

Other research suggests that yoga is as effective in relieving back pain as physical therapy. Yoga can also have lasting benefits for several months.

The Health Benefits of Yoga
yoga in practice

Improve quality of life during illness

Many people use yoga as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments to improve their quality of life.

Some evidence suggests that yoga can improve the quality of life for people with the following conditions:

Prostate cancer. Research suggests that attending a yoga class twice a week during radiation treatment for prostate cancer can reduce fatigue and improve sexual and urinary function.

Race. Yoga can improve balance and motor function after stroke even when a person begins practicing it 6 months or more after stroke.

Ulcerative colitis Taking a weekly yoga class for 12 weeks can improve the quality of life for people with ulcerative colitis, as well as reduce the activity of colitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Joining an intensive 8-week yoga course can improve physical and psychological symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as reduce inflammation.

Early research on the role of yoga in improving quality of life in many conditions is promising. However, more studies are needed before researchers can draw firm conclusions.

Stimulate brain function.

Yoga can stimulate brain function and give a boost to energy levels, according to several studies.

A 2017 study showed that hatha yoga improved executive brain functions, as well as people's moods. Executive functions are brain activities related to goal-directed behavior that regulate emotional responses and habits.

Research from 2012 found that a single yoga session improved working memory speed and accuracy over more than one aerobic exercise session. However, the effects occurred only immediately after exercise and were short-term.

Other research suggests that yoga can improve mental flexibility, task switching, and information recall among older adults.

The Health Benefits of Yoga
practice yoga

Heart disease prevention

Heart disease causes about 610,000 deaths per trusted source in the US each year. It remains the leading cause of death.

An analysis of yoga and heart health studies found that yoga lowered risk factors for heart disease, such as body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Yoga can also decrease blood vessel changes that contribute to heart disease. One study found that Bikram yoga, performed in a heated room, improved vascular health.

The authors of a 2018 study found that the combination of yoga practice and aerobic exercise lowered BMI, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure twice as much as participating in one or the other.

How to start doing yoga

A person may want to join a beginner yoga class when starting the practice.

Many people consider yoga as a safe form of physical activity for healthy people with the guidance of a qualified instructor. Although serious injuries are rare while practicing yoga, some people experience sprains and strains.

There are many styles of yoga, from relaxing to vigorous. They include:

Hatha yoga

Vinyasa yoga

Bikram yoga

Ashtanga yoga

Iyengar Yoga

restorative yoga

When starting out with yoga, people may want to join a beginner class so that an instructor can teach the correct poses and techniques.

Learning from videos or online applications can lead to misalignment of poses, which can lead to injury over time.


The Health Benefits of Yoga
yoga is

Yoga is generally a safe way to increase physical activity. It can also have many health benefits.

According to scientific research, yoga can:

reduce stress

relieve anxiety

help manage depression

decrease low back pain

improve quality of life in people with chronic conditions or acute illnesses

stimulate brain function

help prevent heart disease

When you first try yoga, join a beginner class under the guidance of a qualified instructor to avoid injury.

Never replace the medical treatment recommended by the doctor with complementary or alternative therapies.

Mental Health Sports Medicine / Fitness Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

Daily Stretching Routines - For Beginners, Runners, And More


Daily routine

For hips

For runners

For athletes


When to see a doctor


Completing a daily full-body stretching routine can benefit a person's physical and mental well-being.

Stretches can be static, where the person maintains a still position, or dynamic, which means that the person performs the stretch while moving. A daily stretching routine can incorporate both static and dynamic stretching.

Stretching can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but it shouldn't be painful. An individual stretch will typically last 10 to 30 seconds. It can be helpful to repeat a stretching routine, as it is easier to extend the muscles once they have been properly loosened.

Below are some variations of full body stretching routines that a person can use. They include a full-body daily routine and examples of specific stretching routines for runners, athletes, and those looking to improve their hip flexibility.

The Health Benefits of Yoga
yoga groups


Stretching regularly will loosen muscles and increase a person's range of motion. Due to these effects, you can reduce the risk of injuries such as sprains, which affect the ligaments, or strains, which affect muscles or tendons.

Stretching can also reduce pain from chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and low back pain.

If any of the stretches are causing you discomfort, it is important that you stop immediately. Stretching should be within the range of individual ability, and even gentle stretching can have benefits.

Daily full body stretching routine

People can begin this routine in the upper body and gradually work to reduce the likelihood of losing important muscle groups.

Starting a daily stretching routine can seem overwhelming, especially for those who already have a busy schedule. However, only one person is required to reserve 10-15 minutes each day. Many people choose to place this first thing in the morning or right before bed.

1. Neck roll

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms loose.

Dip your chin slightly towards your chest.

Gently turn the head clockwise for 1 rotation, which takes about 7 seconds.

Rest for 5 seconds, then turn your head counterclockwise with the same motion.

Repeat 3 times.

2. Shoulder roll

Stand up straight with your arms loose.

Without bending your arms, slowly lift your shoulders and then roll them back in a circular motion.

Roll your shoulders back 5 times and then reverse the movement, rolling them forward.

Repeat the sequence 2 times.

3. Behind the head triceps stretch

Extend your left arm upward, with your elbow close to your head.

Bend your left elbow so that your left hand falls behind your neck.

With your right hand, hold your left upper arm behind your elbow and gently press down, pushing your left hand down your back.

Hold for 10 seconds, then rest for 5 seconds before repeating with your right arm.

Repeat 2 more times.

4. Standing hip rotation

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips.

Slowly move your hips forward, then rotate them clockwise for 3 rotations.

Bring your hips to the center and then repeat the movement counterclockwise.

5. Standing hamstring stretch

Stand up straight. Keeping your right foot flat on the ground, slightly bend your right knee and extend your left leg forward.

Bend your left foot, with your heel on the floor and your toes up.

Place your hands on your right thigh and lean forward slightly, lifting the toes of your left foot.

Hold for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the movement with the other leg.

Repeat the entire sequence 3 times.

6. Quadriceps stretch

Stand up. To keep your balance, hold a solid structure or wall with your right hand.

Keep your right leg straight with your foot flat on the floor and bend your left knee, bringing your foot back.

Grab the foot with your left hand and gently press it toward your left buttock, keeping your hips and knees aligned.

Hold for 30 seconds. After 20 seconds of rest, repeat with the opposite leg.

Repeat the entire sequence 3 times.

7. Rolled ankle

Stand with your left foot flat on the floor and your right heel lifted so that pressure is on your toes.

Keeping your toes on the ground, rotate your right foot clockwise for 10 rotations, then repeat counterclockwise.

Shift to the left foot and repeat the exercise.

8. Child's posture

The child's pose, a yoga position, can be a relaxing way to end a stretching routine.

Kneel with your toes pointing back so the tops of your feet are flat on the floor.

Sit against your heels.

Push your buttocks back and lower your chest toward the floor, sliding your arms forward.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, with 10-second rest periods between stretches.

Stretching exercises for hip flexibility

Maintaining the flexibility of the hip can help a person avoid some painful conditions, such as osteoarthritis of the hip. The following exercises aim to stretch different muscles around the hip.

1. Knee-to-chest stretch

Lie on your back with your legs straight.

Keeping your right leg straight along the floor, bend your left leg and place your hands just below the knee.

Gently pull your left knee toward your chest and hold for 10 seconds.

Replace the leg and repeat the stretch with the right leg.

Repeat the sequence 5 times.

2. Hip abduction

Lie on the left side of the body, with the right leg resting on the left leg.

Slightly bend the lower (left) leg and lift the extended upper leg to approximately 45 °, keeping the body on its side.

Keep your leg elevated for 5 seconds, then lower it for 2 seconds.

Repeat 4 more times with this leg.

Roll to the right side of the body and repeat the entire sequence.

3. Standing Iliotibial (IT) Band Stretch

Begin by standing up.

Cross your left leg behind your right leg and raise your left arm above your head.

Lean your upper body to the right, avoiding any twisting or forward movement.

Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Repeat the entire sequence 4 times.

If it's difficult to balance on this stretch, use a wall for support.

Learn more stretches and exercises for hips here.

Stretching routines for runners

Running is a high-impact activity. If a runner doesn't stretch properly beforehand, they may risk straining their muscles. It's also important to stretch after a run.

1. Supine hamstring stretch

Lie on the floor with both knees bent.

Gently stretch your left leg up, creating a 90 ° angle with the ground.

Place your hands behind your left thigh and pull your leg toward your head. If you have difficulty reaching your leg with your hands, wrap a towel or blanket around your leg and hold each end of the leg in place.

Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg after a 30 second break.

Complete the entire sequence 4 times.

2. Quadriceps stretch

See the section above on the daily full-body stretching routine for steps.

3. Side lunge

Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Take a big step to the left, keeping both feet facing forward.

Bend your left knee and move your hips to the left, keeping both feet flat and facing forward.

Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the original position. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Repeat the entire sequence 5 times.

4. Cobra stretch

Lie on your front with the tops of your feet flat on the floor and your arms bent so that your hands are just below your shoulders.

Keeping your hips on the floor, gently push up, lifting your head and upper chest.

Hold for 20 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds.

Repeat the stretch 4 more times.

Learn more stretches for runners here.

Stretching routines for athletes

An athlete must stretch regularly to maintain healthy muscle function. The ideal stretching program will vary between sports specialties, but may include the following exercises.

1. Forward lunge

Begin by standing up.

Take a big step forward with your left leg and lower your hips, bending both legs about 90 degrees and keeping your body upright.

Hold for 30 seconds, then rest 10 seconds before switching legs.

Repeat the sequence 3 times.

2. Straddle side seat

Sit with your legs extended out to the sides and your toes pointing upward.

Place your hands on your left shin and tilt your chin toward your knee as much as is comfortable. Try to keep your back as straight as possible.

Hold for 10 seconds, rest 5 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Repeat the sequence 3 times.

3. Triceps stretch

Stand up straight.

Pass your left arm across the front of your body so that it extends past your right shoulder.

Bend the right arm to support the left forearm, bringing it towards the chest; be sure to support the arm and not the elbow joint.

Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other arm.

Repeat the sequence 3 times.


Always be careful not to lock your joints during a stretch. Doing this can cause hyperextension, where the joints stretch beyond their normal limits, increasing the risk of injury.

If a stretch is painful, don't force the movement. Instead, stop and rest to avoid the risk of a sprain or strain.

Avoid bouncing during stretches, as this can increase the risk of injury. It is important to maintain good posture during each stretch.

When to see a doctor

If a person performs the stretches correctly, they should not cause undue discomfort. A person should see a doctor or physical therapist if stretching or exercise causes pain.

For people with conditions that cause chronic pain, a doctor or physical therapist can help design a personal exercise program to reduce discomfort.

Anyone unsure of which stretches to include in a routine, or how to perform them, can consult with a professional.


A daily stretching routine can have physical and mental benefits for people of all ages. Stretching keeps muscles loose, reducing the possibility of sprains and strains.

People should see a doctor or physical therapist if stretching causes pain, as this may indicate an underlying problem.

How Yoga and Meditation Benefit the Mind and Body

Yoga and meditation have become increasingly popular in the Western world, with practitioners praising its psychological and physical benefits. Current research also suggests that meditation and yoga can increase general well-being and resistance to stressors.

Increasingly, the practice of yoga and meditation have been the focus of research with the aim of testing its benefits. Recently, Medical News Today has reported on a large number of studies pointing to many different benefits of yoga and meditation, including counteracting cognitive decline, acting on genetic factors that predispose people to stress, improving low back pain, and relieve depression.

A new article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience magazine now shows that yoga and meditation appear to have a positive effect on the central nervous system, as well as the immune system, and that they can improve people's overall sense of well-being.

The study, led by Dr. B Rael Cahn of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, was part of a larger body of research that addressed different approaches to promoting resilience.

Yoga and meditation can improve resilience

Dr. Cahn and his team worked with some of the participants on a 3-month yoga and meditation retreat. In this retreat, the participants participated in daily meditation and yoga practice, and followed a vegetarian diet.

Of the 200 participants (both male and female), 98 volunteered to participate in tests that measured particular biomarkers. However, due to lack of funding, only 38 volunteers (19 men and 19 women) underwent these evaluations.

In addition, due to circumstances that rendered some of the data unusable, biological samples collected from 26 of these volunteers were analyzed.

Many participants had prior experience in frequent yoga and meditation practice, including Shoonya and Samyama meditation, Hatha yoga, and pranayama.

Participants were tested both before and after participating in the yoga retreat. They had to undergo:

Psychometric tests that collected data on their psychological well-being Reliable source, mindfulness and psychological participation Reliable source

measurements of brain-derived neurotrophic factor Reliable Source (BDNF), which is a protein that promotes survival and growth of various nerve cells and is involved in immune response, metabolic regulation, and resistance to stress

evaluation of the "cortisol awakening response" (CAR), which measures the secretion of cortisol, a hormone involved in the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland (also known as the "HPA axis")

measurements of reliable source levels of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines, which are involved in the functioning of the immune system

After analyzing the data, the team found that participation in yoga and meditation practices at the retreat was associated with a decrease in levels of anxiety and depression, the participants reported, as well as an increase in their level of attention. full.

From a biological point of view, the scientists noted an increase in plasma levels of BDNF, as well as a reinforced CAR, suggesting better resistance to stressors.

The data also showed an increase in an anti-inflammatory cytokine (interleukin-10) and a corresponding decrease in a pro-inflammatory cytokine (interleukin-12), leading to a reduction in inflammatory processes.

“It is likely that at least some of the significant improvements in HPA axis function, as exemplified by CAR, as well as neuroimmune function, as exemplified by increases in BDNF levels and alterations in cytokines, were due to to the intensive meditation practice involved in this retreat, ”suggests Dr. Cahn.

Potential benefits for the nervous system

The researchers believe that the various biological enhancements gathered from the collected data indicate a greater overall sense of physical and psychological well-being.

They highlight that their results may point to better functioning of certain elements of the central nervous system, a healthier immune system, and a strengthened sense of focus and awareness.

"The observed increase in BDNF signaling [is] possibly related to increased neurogenesis and / or neuroplasticity, an increase in CAR probably related to increased alertness and readiness for mind and body participation, and an increase in anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines that possibly indicate a greater immunological readiness ".

Dr. B. Rael Cahn

Furthermore, the researchers suggest that there is an exciting possibility that some of the effects seen after the retreat suggest that meditation and yoga could stimulate the hippocampus to function better.

"A possible intriguing link between effects on BDNF and CAR is the functional integrity of the hippocampus, as increased BDNF levels due to physical exercise have previously been shown to be related to hippocampal neurogenesis and is likely to is related to its positive effects on well-being and depression. " says Dr. Cahn.

However, scientists caution that not all of these positive effects may be due to yoga and meditation. Some, they suggest, may be due to the dietary practices of individuals, social interaction, or the impact of yoga and meditation teachers.

Still, Dr. Cahn and his team are excited about the results of their research and believe they are the reason for further study on the possible physical and psychological benefits of yoga and meditation.

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to examine a wide range of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory markers in a healthy population before and after a yoga and meditation intervention. Our findings warrant additional studies of yoga and meditation retreats evaluating the replicability, specificity, and long-term implications of these findings, ”concludes Dr. Cahn.

What are the benefits of meditation for children?


Types of meditation

Meditation apps


Meditation is a popular mind-body practice that has been around for generations and can help reduce stress and promote calm. Meditation can be beneficial for people of all ages, including children.

According to data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the number of children practicing meditation in the United States increased significantly between 2012 and 2017.

In this article, we look at some of the benefits of meditation specific to children. We also list some meditation apps for kids to try.

Benefits of meditation for children

Meditation has many potential benefits for people of all ages. These include:

ease the pain

lower high blood pressure

helping with anxiety and other mental health conditions

reducing stress

improve mood

Some researchers have studied the benefits of meditation specifically for children.

A 2014 review of mindfulness programs in schools linked them to better cognitive function and an increased ability to handle stress.

In a previous randomized trial, researchers observed a decrease in attention problems among children ages 9 to 13 who participated in a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children (MBCT-C) program. The decrease in symptoms was particularly significant among participants who had anxiety problems at the beginning of the study.

A more recent study from 2016 studied the effects of a mindfulness meditation training program in a small group of children who were between 7 and 8 years old. The results suggested a link between meditation practice and a reduction in attention problems.

However, the researchers noted a discrepancy between the student and teacher reports. This finding, together with the small sample size, indicates the need for further studies.

It is important to note that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cautions people not to replace conventional treatments with meditation. This advice applies to people of all ages.

Types of meditation for children

There are several different types of meditation, all of which generally involve similar elements. These include:

a quiet space with limited distractions

a comfortable position

a particular focus of attention

an open attitude from the person who meditates

Some forms of meditation that may be suitable for young people include:

Mindfulness meditation: This type of meditation often uses breathing exercises to help focus the mind. It can also involve a person concentrating their attention on a particular body part or sound.

Guided meditation: With this type of meditation, the person meditating listens to a guide, teacher, or practitioner, either in person or through an audio recording. Some forms of guided meditation have a specific purpose, such as helping with insomnia or anxiety.

Mantra meditation: This type of meditation involves repeating a specific word or saying, sometimes out loud. Om is a common mantra that people often chant at the beginning and end of their yoga practice. Repeating the phrase as part of meditation helps focus the mind and limit distracting thoughts.

Appropriate forms of meditation and the optimal duration of practice can vary according to the age of the child. Young people may need a little experimentation to find a style of meditation that works for them.

Younger children may find it difficult to concentrate for long, so short sessions may be best.

Yoga is another practice that sometimes involves meditation or reflective elements. According to the 2017 NHIS, 8.4% of children in the US practiced yoga in 2017.

Find out more about the different types of meditation here.

Meditation apps for kids

There are a variety of meditation apps available on the market, including specific options for children. Below is a list of some of the most popular meditation apps for young people:

Headspace (for children)

Headspace is a popular meditation app. It includes a huge library of guided meditations.

Meditation topics for children include calm, concentration, kindness, sleep, and awakening.

Guided sessions, breathing exercises, and visualizations are available for various age groups in addition to adults. These age groups include 5 years old or younger, 6 to 8 years old, and 9 to 12 years old.

Do not worry

While Calm is not a specific app for children, it does contain a variety of resources for young people, including a series of meditations specifically for those under 18.

The "Calm Kids" section of the app has a large number of beginner meditations, some of which are as short as 2 minutes. The app also includes a series of sleep stories to help children sleep.

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