Which Diseases Can You Prevent or Overcome with Yoga?
With nearly 70% of Americans currently on some kind of prescription medication, it’s clear that many are struggling to combat disease. Thankfully, western medicine’s prescriptions aren’t the only avenues available for reaching optimal health. Ancient approaches to healthcare, such as Ayurveda and yoga, are still thriving today, and have many proven benefits for fighting modern diseases.
Yoga’s mind-body-spirit center approach plays a big part in preventing and curing many common diseases, including mental health disorders, heart disease, and chronic pain. Here are just a few of the many ailments that a regular yoga practice can help us overcome:
ADD and ADHD
An estimated 6.1 million children in the US are suffering from ADD or ADHD. Unfortunately, mainstream medications for these conditions can create extremely challenging side effects, including physical tics, hallucinations, and even negative behavioural changes. For that reason, it’s important that society begins investigating alternative treatment options.
Thankfully, yoga has been shown to aid those with this condition by increasing dopamine levels and strengthening the prefrontal cortex. Students who practice yoga increase their focus, attention, and test scores, leading to overall better performance in school.
Anxiety, Depression, and other Stress-Related Disorders
Mental health issues are running rampant in today’s society, and conditions such as anxiety and depression are only increasing. Unfortunately, some medications for these conditions come with many challenging side effects, including addiction, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, and more.
On the positive side of things, yoga can provide a measure of relief from these conditions. A regular yoga practice will increase the GABA levels in our brain, which run low when we suffer from anxiety. Increasing these levels boosts our mood and brings us back into equilibrium.
Overall, by exercising our bodies, clearing our minds, and tuning in spiritually, rather than worrying about the past or future, we’re able to return to the present moment and truly enjoy it.
Although it’s hard to believe, 610,000 people die from heart disease each year in the United States. That means this disease causes one in every four deaths in the US. With these staggering statics in mind, it’s clear that we need a new approach.
Yoga’s unique mixture of physical exercise, breathing, and meditation is a great remedy for the cardiovascular issues that cause heart disease. In fact, yoga helps the body become more sensitive to insulin, which controls the blood sugar. Deep breathing reduces blood pressure, and meditation eases stress and calms the nervous system.
Furthermore, a recent study demonstrated that those who participated regularly in yoga were able to lose an average of five pounds, lower their blood pressure by five points, and decrease their LDL cholesterol levels by 12 points.
23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Although great treatment options already exist, yoga is another promising healing modality. In fact, yoga has been shown to help individuals overcome their addictions to illicit substances, alcohol, and smoking. This is because, in addition to the physical effects of yoga, the practice also offers the opportunity to build self-awareness, confidence, self-care, self-love, and emotional stability, all of which decrease addictive tendencies.
Yoga has the potential to help patients cope with the stress, anxiety, depression, and pain that comes with this challenging condition. Furthermore, a regular yoga practice can also increase the mood and quality of life of those suffering from cancer as well. Through the regular exercise that yoga provides, the risk of recurrence of the disease can also be reduced.
Autism is a developmental disorder that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Unfortunately, this condition is on the rise in the United States. Although there is no known cure for this disease, yoga has been shown to improve the condition by increasing the imitation skills, home behavior, and family relationships in those suffering from it.
Those with autism also tend to experience heightened anxiety, and yoga’s breathing techniques are helpful in calming them down. Furthermore, the practice also enhances the self-confidence of autism sufferers as they overcome challenging poses. Finally, people with autism tend to be extremely sensitive to outside stimulation. For that reason, the calming, serene, and gentle environments cultivated in yoga classes are perfect for soothing their nerves.
One of the biggest parts of yoga is working with breathing techniques. For those suffering from asthma, implementing these techniques can be incredibly beneficial. In fact, yoga has been shown to decrease the number of day and night attacks in those with this condition, as well as decrease the need for drugs.
Studies have shown that regular yoga can improve thyroid function and increase the levels of thyroid stimulating hormones in the body. For these reasons, adopting a yoga practice has allowed women with hypothyroidism to decrease their dependency on medication. Poses such as shoulder stand, plow pose, and fish pose are all great for thyroid stimulation due to the fact that they increase blood flow to that area.
Healing Yourself With Yoga
In addition to these, there are many other conditions that physical activity and healthy lifestyle of yoga can have a hand in curing, such as arthritis, schizophrenia, and inflammation. As always, make sure to contact your physician before making any big lifestyle changes, but in general, practicing yoga in a gentle way is safe for everybody. If you combine all these benefits of yoga with a healthy Ayurvedic diet, you’ll be on your way to long term health before you know it.
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