The benefits of yoga continue to stretch across all walks of life. From teenagers needing a boost in self-esteem, to breast cancer survivors needing to relieve anxiety, yoga is not something to shun as some kind of weird activity with heavy spiritual undertones.
According to a recent study in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association, stroke survivors reduced their level of post-stroke disability by participating in a regular yoga routine. Survivors of a stroke often lose balance and coordination due to the damage that can arise within the brain. This leads to a greater risk of falling, potential dependence on a caregiver, and an increase in stress and tension that can contribute to depression and anxiety.
In the study, two groups of stroke survivors practiced yoga or yoga and relaxation. The other group, the control group, just received standard post-stroke medical care. After a battery of tests, both the yoga and the yoga and relaxation group showed improvements in balance, coordination, and reported feeling independent and empowered.
Empowerment, coordination and a sense of balance are just a few of the long list of benefits a regular yoga practice can give to not only stroke victims, but also to anyone.
The following are a few measurable benefits for the body that you may begin to notice in just a few short weeks after practicing yoga just twice a week.
In addition to toned arms and legs, the muscles along the spine will strengthen, and as a result you will start to see improvements in your posture. Those who suffer from postural deviations such as kyphosis, lordosis, or scoliosis will benefit greatly. Stretching the muscles that pull the spine out of alignment and strengthening the muscles that tend to fatigue easily will prove beneficial in keeping you standing up straight.
Yoga strengthens the body so effectively that is allows us to spend long hours performing certain tasks like yard work, house cleaning or other forms of exercise without experiencing early fatigue. The added strength and flexibility will be a huge advantage in all that you do. If you want a boost in staying power, practice yoga.
This is mostly beneficial to those over 40 years of age. In our forties, our bodies begin to slow down, our joints begin to wear out, and our muscles lose elasticity. All of these factors can contribute to an increase in body pain. Maintaining flexibility through yoga helps to reduce pain in our hips, low back, neck and knees. We may not be able to reverse the clock, but we can reverse the painful effects of aging with yoga.