Monday, October 12, 2009

The Many Benefits of Yoga

Physiological Benefits of Yoga
* Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium * Pulse rate decreases * Respiratory rate decreases * Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors) * Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases * EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation) * EMG activity decreases * Cardiovascular efficiency increases * Respiratory efficiency increases * Gastrointestinal function normalizes * Endocrine function normalizes * Excretory functions improve * Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase * Breath-holding time increases * Joint range of motion increase * Grip strength increases * Eye-hand coordination improves * Dexterity skills improve * Reaction time improves * Posture improves * Strength and resiliency increase * Endurance increases * Energy level increases * Weight normalizes * Sleep improves * Immunity increases * Pain decreases * Steadiness improves * Depth perception improves * Balance improves * Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga
* Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase * Mood improves and subjective well-being increases * Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase * Social adjustment increases * Anxiety and Depression decrease * Hostility decreases * Concentration improves * Memory improves * Attention improves * Learning efficiency improves * Mood improves * Self-actualization increase * Social skills increases * Well-being increases * Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase * Self-acceptance increase * Attention improves * Concentration improves * Memory improves * Learning efficiency improves * Symbol coding improves * Depth perception improves * Flicker fusion frequency improves

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga
* Glucose decreases * Sodium decreases * Total cholesterol decreases * Triglycerides decrease * HDL cholesterol increases * LDL cholesterol decreases * VLDL cholesterol decreases * Cholinesterase increases * Catecholamines decrease * ATPase increases * Hematocrit increases * Hemoglobin increases * Lymphocyte count increases * Total white blood cell count decreases * Thyroxin increases * Vitamin C increases * Total serum protein increases

Benefits of Yoga Versus Benefits of Exercise

* Yoga Benefits
o Parasympathetic Nervous System dominates o Subcortical regions of brain dominate o Slow dynamic and static movements o Normalization of muscle tone o Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments o Low caloric consumption o Effort is minimized, relaxed o Energizing (breathing is natural or controlled) o Balanced activity of opposing muscle groups o Noncompetitive, process-oriented o Awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite) o Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness

* Exercise Benefits
o Sympathetic Nervous System dominates o Cortical regions of brain dominate o Rapid forceful movements o Increased muscle tension o Higher risk of injury o Moderate to high caloric consumption o Effort is maximized o Fatiguing (breathing is taxed) o Imbalance activity of opposing groups o Competitive, goal-oriented o Awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.) o Boredom factor

*Lists borrowed from the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple website.

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