Pranayama (or breathing correctly) is central to a well rounded yoga practice. It ranges from simple practices like slowing down your breathing, or counting your breaths in sets of 10, to more advanced practices. What they all have in common is that they lead to better physical and mental health, according to many scientific studies.
This is a question and answer that we agree with:
"Is there an exercise that can boost feel-good chemicals in your brain while reducing anxiety and improving your mood?
As fitness and yoga classes start to reopen we came across this interesting article from the Centers for Disease Control. In the yoga group, no students caught Covid-19, even though their instructor was infected. Other factors may be relevant, and the study isn't definitive, but it does suggest that low intensity yoga is relatively low risk, compared to vigorous group exercises in a confined space. This is reassuring news.
New research indicates that yoga and medication provides significantly better relief for migraine sufferers than medication alone. In this study, the people who participated in yoga had a mix of taught classes and practice at home, and the yoga practice included asanas (physical yoga), breathing, and relaxation. One of the study authors noted that:
"the benefit was significantly higher in the yoga group in all areas, including headache frequency, pain, pain intensity, use of medications, and how much migraine interfered with the daily personal life or professional life,"
There is increasing evidence that yoga may help with depression. In a recent study, discussed on Medscape, it was noted that:
"Yoga appears to improve mood through increased activity of an amino acid neurotransmitter known to influence mood, anxiety, and sleep"
The type of yoga practice explored for this study was a traditional one that combined physical asanas, breathing (pranayama), and relaxation practices. One class per week with shorter home sessions were used.
The lead investigator was Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts who stated that:
"I think clinicians should consider this as a kind of a 'whole package. It shouldn't be just 'take the pill,' it should be 'take the pill and do some type of stress reduction,' and yoga is certainly acceptable," in terms of doing stress reduction.
Depression is serious. Consulting with your medical doctor is recommended, however, yoga may have an important role to play as part of the package of care.
Please note that we are yoga professionals and not doctors.
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