Top 30 Yoga Benefits

What are the benefits of yoga? How does the daily discipline of yoga affect the body, mind and spirit?

Yoga Benefits

30 Yoga Benefits

What is the History of Yoga?
Yoga is a holistic health and wellness activity that both relaxes and energizes the body. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “union with God.” The common belief that Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga actually predates Hinduism by many centuries. Ancient archeological finds discovered the Indus Valley provided unquestionable evidence that Yoga was practiced earlier than 3,000 B.C.E. and the classical techniques of Yoga may date back  to more than 5,000 years. The word Yoga means “to join or yoke together,” and it brings the body and mind together in harmony with one another. The whole system of Yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. One of the earliest texts on Yoga  is believed to have been compiled by a scholar named Patanjali. This book contains Yoga theories and practices and is entitled Yoga Sutras (“Yoga Aphorisms”) and is thought to have been written as early as the 1st or 2nd century B.C. or as late as the 5th century A.D. This system is known as “Ashtanga Yoga.”  This is the eight limbs of Yoga, and referred to today as Classical Yoga. Most all forms of yoga include a variation of Patanjali’s original ancient yoga system.

 

What are the Different Types of Yoga?
There are over a hundred different schools of Yoga. There are many Yoga poses or postures within each of the different schools of Yoga.

Yoga PosesSome of the most well known schools of Yoga are as follows:

  1. Hatha Yoga  Hatha Yoga  is the most widely practiced form of yoga in the United States. It is the branch of yoga which concentrates on physical health and mental well-being using exercises and breathing control.  “Ha” can be translated to mean “sun” and “tha” to mean “moon” meaning to balance the opposite forces.
  2. Raja Yoga – Raja Yoga means the “King” of Yoga, or the royal path. It is a form of Hindu yoga intended to achieve control over the mind and emotions.
  3. Jnana Yoga – Jñāna yoga or “path of knowledge” is one of the types of yoga mentioned in Hindu philosophies. Jñāna is a Sanskrit word translated to mean “knowledge”.
  4. Bhakti Yoga  – Bhakti yoga is a spiritual path described in Hindu philosophy as focused on love of, faith in, and surrender to God. It is a means to awaken to God consciousness. It is a selfless devotion of reaching Brahman (God) in loving service.
  5. Karma Yoga – Karma Yoga is selfless action to reach perfection. “Karma” is a Sanskrit term meaning “action” or deed, either physical or mental. What makes a Karma Yogi is first the experience of union with God, and then selfless action.
  6. Tantra Yoga – Tantra yoga is a type of yoga designed to awaken the kundalini energy in the body and addressing relationships and sexuality. In Hinduism, the word Tantra means: 1) weaving and 2) the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, presented as a dialogue between Shiva and Shakti
  7. Kashmir Shaivism Yoga – Kashmir Shaivism is a transformative non-dual, yogic philosophy that originated in Kashmir in the ninth century. The goal of Kashmir Shaivism is to merge in Shiva or Universal Consciousness, or realize one’s already existing identity with Shiva, by means of wisdom, yoga and grace.

yoga older manWhat Does Research Tell Us About the Effectiveness of Yoga?
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga was concluded to be a potentially effective treatment in reducing or eliminating depression in a study by Janakiramaiah N and others (2000) and a review of clinical studies of the effectiveness of Hatha Yoga on depression by Uebelacker et al  (2010).

The prac­tice of yoga has been shown to be therapeutically useful in bron­chial asthmaNagarathna R, Nagendra HR (1985) concluded that “There was a significantly greater improvement in the group who practised yoga in the weekly number of attacks of asthma, scores for drug treatment, and peak flow rate.”  However, a 2011 systematic review of clinical studies suggests that there is no sound evidence that yoga improves asthma.

back pain personMultiple studies  have found yoga to be a helpful treatment in low back pain such as Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al (2011) and Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, et al. (2011).   Other studies have shown yoga to be potentially helpful treatment for cardiovascular disease, such as Raub (2002), type II diabetes mellitus (Innes and Vincent, 2007),  stress and hypertension (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, and others, 2010) as well as other conditions. The practice of yoga can also play a role in the rehabilitation of those who have physical and mental challenges (Uma, et al, 2008).  Many other benefits are inherit in the practice of yoga as described below.

What Are the 30 Benefits of Yoga?

  1. Relieves Stress
  2. Improves Breathing
  3. Eases Pain
  4. Improves Circulation
  5. Increases Strength
  6. Increases Endurance
  7. Lowers Heart Rate
  8. Develops Inner Peace
  9. Lengthens Muscles
  10. Increases Flexibilityyoga mats
  11. Reduces Cortisol Level
  12. Improves Concentration
  13. Increases Range of Motion
  14. Dissolves Ego
  15. Develops Compassion
  16. Enhances Energy
  17. Heals Ailments
  18. Fosters Joy
  19. Lowers Weight
  20. Lubricates Joints
  21. Detoxes the Body
    yoga man
  22. Strengthens Abdomen
  23. Improves Memory
  24. Delays Wrinkles and Aging
  25. Burns Fat
  26. Improves Posture
  27. Improves Metabolism
  28. Builds Immune System
  29. Improves Balance
  30. Brings Harmony

Have you tried yoga? If so, how has it helped YOU?  Best wishes for a yoga-riffic day!!

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References
Bower JE, Woolery A, Sternlieb B, et al. Yoga for cancer patients and survivors. Cancer Control. 2005;12(3):165–171.

Innes, KE, Vincent HK, The Influence of Yoga-Based Programs on Risk Profiles in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., Dec 2007; 4(4): 469–486.
Jain SC, Talukdar B. Bronchial asthma and Yoga. Singapore Med J 1993;34:306-308

Janakiramaiah N. , Gangadhar B.N. , Naga Venkatesha Murthy P.J. , Harish M.G., Subbakrishna, D.K., Vedamurthachar A.  Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine Volume 57, Issue 1 , Pages 255-259, January 2000

Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Christian L, Preston H, et al. Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2010;72(2):113–121.

Monro R, Power J, Coumar A, Nagarathna R, Dandona P. Original research yoga therapy for NIDDM; A controlled trial. Complem Med J 1992;6:66-68.

Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Yoga for bronchial asthma; A controlled study. Br Med J 1985;291:1077-1079.

Ramesh L. Bijlani, Rama P. Vempati, Raj K. Yadav, Rooma Basu Ray, Vani Gupta, Ratna Sharma, Nalin Mehta, and Sushil C. Mahapatra.  A Brief but Comprehensive Lifestyle Education Program Based on Yoga Reduces Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mellitus The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2005, 11(2): 267-274. doi:10.1089/acm.2005.11.267.

Raub, JA. Psychophysiologic effects of hatha yoga on musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function: a literature review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2002;8(6):797–812.

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al. A randomized trial comparing yoga, stretching, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2011;171(22):2019–2026.

Telles S, Naveen K V. Yoga for rehabilitation : An overview, Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, No. 19, K.G. Nagar, Bangalore-560 019., India,  Indian J Med Sci 1997;51:123-7Monro R, Power J, Coumar A, Nagarathna R, Dandona P. Original research yoga therapy for NIDDM; A controlled trial. Complem Med J 1992;6:66-68.

Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, et al. Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2011;155(9):569–578.

Uebelacker LA, Epstein-Lubow G, Gaudiano BA, et al. Hatha yoga for depression: a critical review of the evidence for efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and directions for future research. Journal of Psychiatric Practice. 2010; 16(1):22–33.

Uma K, Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R., Vaidehi S, and Seethalakshmi R., The integrated approach of yoga: a therapeutic tool for mentally retarded children: a one-year controlled study, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Vol 33, Issue 5, 28 JUN 2008, DOI: 10.1111/ j.1365-2788.1989.tb01496


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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer:
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

What is a Hero?

What is a hero?

What is a hero? How do we become a hero? You are the hero of your own story.

What is a hero? How can we be a hero?  Who are our heroes?  Whether a person is determined a hero or not,  does not necessarily depend on the degree to which they have inspired a person or a large number of people in some way.  Some heroes are invisible.  You are a hero of your own story.

WHO ARE SOME OF OUR HEROES?

  • Mother Teresa
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Hank Aaron
  • Gandhi
  • Joan of Arc
  • Amelia Earheart
  • Jacques Cousteau
  • Jonas Salk
  • The Wright Brothers
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Ansel Adams
  • Winston Churchill
  • Rosa Parks
  • Billy Graham
  • Dr. Martin Luther King
  • Christopher Columbus
  • George Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Marlee Matlin
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Anne Frank
  • Jane Goodall and many, many more.

Real Heros CoverBut do heroes have to be well known?  Certainly not.  Heroes are happening all around us every day.

Then what is a hero?   Before his death in 2004, and long after his death, Christopher Reeve, an American actor, film director and activist (1952-2004),  like other heros, has been an inspirational living example to others, because of his acceptance and endurance through difficult challenges.  According to Christopher Reeve,

Woman Hero Award“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

So heroes have their challenges and human qualities just like everyone else. These negative qualities seem to be an important part of being a hero.  Do heroes have to suffer and die?  Do heroes have to change the world?  No, some heroes live and die with very few people knowing who they are.

But every person is a hero who has faced, endured and conquered the negative qualities within. Heroes are fighters.  They battle with a variety of different issues, people, and situations.  Some negative situations are found deep within the heart, such as coming to terms with our uniqueness despite social or cultural opinions.

Hero Rescue Cat

Other situations are found outside of us, and we become strong and endure hardship such as disease or poverty.

If you have experienced some of these negative qualities, issues, or situations below, then you can find comfort in knowing that you are half-way there to becoming a hero.

WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT NEGATIVE QUALITIES OF A HERO?
Heroes have negative qualities within themselves or negative situations surrounding them that surface and allow them to refine and grow into true heroes.

  • a gripping overwhelming fear or terror
  • general weakness, feebleness or vulnerability
  • overwhelming loneliness, melancholia, moodiness, depression
  • temptation, yearning, desire, greed, or uncontrollable want
  • physical suffering or illness that effects the ability to be happy, healthy and productive
  • frustration, bitterness, blame, and resentment that dominates the mind, body and spirit
  • hopelessness, lack of faith, and despair that cripples and removes all joy in life
  • anger or rage that interferes with the ability to be loving, forgiving, and free
  • feelings of rejection, abandonment, and victimization as a result of experiencing unjust actions or treatment
  • ignorance or confusion and the inability to logically understand situations or to be able to meet expectations
  • ridicule, scorn, and humiliation by strangers, friends or family members
  • self hatred, guilt, and shame
  • repeated failures, defeat, or losses

Oklahoma City BombingThe hero can be the school teacher who stays up late at night grading papers and making teaching materials, and decorations  for the classroom and who empties her savings account of the money she had saved to buy a new car, and purchases computers for the children.  A hero can be a man who has been bedridden for five years but continues to write letters from his bed to poor, homeless children around the world, telling them to always remember that they are special, unique and a gift and blessing to the world.

A hero can be a dog who returns into a flaming building to retrieve its puppies and carry them to safety.  A hero is the young man who drives his buddy home from the bar on Saturday night after he notices that his friend has had a little too much to drink.   Each of these characters would not a be a hero if they didn’t have doubts, fears, and reservations.

Relief Society Kenya

WHAT ARE THE REDEEMING QUALITIES OF HEROES?
Heroes also have redeeming qualities that carry them through difficult, seemingly impossible times.  It is the combination of the negative and positive qualities that creates the brilliance we see shining from the hero.  This is the hero’s true spiritual essence.  Is a hero always known to others? Maybe not.  As we’ve already mentioned, many heroes are invisible to others, but their essence an be felt around the world and affects the general health and wellness of the universe.

  • compassion, selflessness, charity, and genuine caring for others
  • acceptance, forgiveness, and tolerance of others
  • contentment, peace, and satisfaction with self and the situation
  • patience, composure, endurance, and the ability to wait for the right time and place
  • faith, hope, conviction, loyalty, and trust in one’s self
  • perseverance,  persistence, discipline, resilience, and the ability to never give up and continue to take action despite all circumstances
  • women hero flyerscourage, fearlessness, bravery, backbone, and the strength and ability to face all fears and negativity
  • vision, imagination, realization, inventiveness, creativity, and the ability to look outside of the box for solutions
  • gratitude, humility, grace, and the ability to humbly accept weaknesses of self and others
  • spirituality, religion, and the ability to surrender to a higher power or higher wisdom
  • truth, wisdom, awareness, and true enlightenment beyond what is obvious to the human eyes and ears
  • skill, talent, aptitude, and capability to accomplish a task and succeed as a result of disciplined effort
  • the ability to experience happiness, joy, laughter, positivity, amazement, and sincere delight in the gift and blessing of life despite its challenges

Man Holding Door OpenHOW CAN WE BE HEROES?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a hero is “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.”

Each of us have opportunities to be a hero every day, when we accept the invitation from the universe to offer kindness and help. We can be a hero when someone says an unkind word to another person, by offering words of kindness and hope.  We can be a hero by walking our dogs in the rain at night when we would rather stay inside where it’s warm, cuddled up in a blanket, next to the fire.   We can be a hero by picking up some litter off of the sidewalk and walking across the street to a trashcan to throw it away.

“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around”
~Edgar Watson Howe

Thank you for being a hero. Together we make a difference in the world, by being a hero in our everyday lives.

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.