Health Benefits of Yoga

Image: Paul Harvey’s

Most common questions on Yoga relate to the health benefits associated with practicing Yoga, together with questions around how Yoga practice differs from conventional exercise.

Answers to these questions have been researched and are presented in a detailed article published on the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) website, providing interesting reading.

In terms of the health benefits the information is grouped under physiological benefits, psychological benefits, and biochemical effects. It is based on the regular practice of traditional āsana (yoga postures), prānāyāma (breath), and dhyāna (meditation).

Yoga Compared to Conventional Exercise



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 inifinite)
Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness
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)
Imbalanced activity of opposing groups
Competitive, goal-oriented
Awareness is external
(focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)
Boredom factor