Many people begin practicing yoga because they want to improve their physical health or simply because it makes them feel good.
Yoga health benefits are countless.
It revitalizes, stretches and tones the entire body and balances all of its major systems: circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, respiratory, reproductive, skeletal and urinary.
There are many yogic hospitals in India with some amazing accounts of healing through yoga practices.
Western medical research has also verified that yoga assists our body in healing itself for a multitude of conditions, without the need for pharmaceutical drugs. The academic research literature contains over 1000 scientific articles covering yoga’s effects on a wide range of health conditions.
Some of these include:
Chronic pain, Asthma, Arthritis, Depression, Anxiety, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Premature ejaculation, Prenatal health, Menopause, Cardiovascular diseases, and Diabetes. Scientific studies are also confirming the healing benefits of yoga for many of the common psychological and psychiatric conditions that afflict hundreds of thousands of people every year, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, schizophrenia, and psychotic symptoms.
Yoga Health Benefits Beyond the Physical Body
It is not surprising that yoga has strong healing effects on psychological conditions. From a yogic perspective, the physical body is only one of five layers of our being (koshas, which we will discuss more fully in another post). It is the most familiar starting point in yoga for the majority of people, as our physical body is the most tangible and easily perceptible.
However, overall health is also greatly influenced by the subtle layers of the body. Just as yoga helps to purify and reestablish a balance between all parts of the physical body, it also purifies and balances the energetic or pranic body.
Gradually we start to notice changes within our other subtle layers: the emotional, mental and even the spiritual layers of our being.
Some examples of these changes are:
- Improved mood
- Stress reduction
- Self acceptance
- Self control
- Positive mental outlook
- Improved concentration
- Improved memory
“When we raise ourselves through meditation to what unites us with the spirit, we quicken something within us that is eternal and unlimited by birth and death. Once we have experienced this eternal part in us, we can no longer doubt its existence Meditation is thus the way to knowing and beholding the eternal, indestructible, essential center of our being.” Rudolf Steiner