Benefits

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
  • Learning efficiency improves
  • Mood improves
  • Self-actualization increases
  • Social skills increases
  • Well-being increases
  • Attention 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

Yoga Health Benefits versus Exercise Benefits

Yoga Benefits

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

Exercise Benefits

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