Studies show benefits of yoga
Two separate studies were published recently showing the multiple benefits of yoga. The word yoga comes from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit and means ?a bringing together of the parts in order to create a union or balance of a person?s body, mind and spirit.?
In Bikaner, India, Dr. R.P. Agrawal, of the SP Medical College, and his team conducted a study involving 101 adults with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar. As published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 55 adults received three months of regular yoga daily including standard postures and Raja Yoga, a form of transcendental meditation, while the remaining received standard care.
By the end of the study, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides were significantly lower, and ?good? HDL cholesterol levels were higher in the yoga group as compared to controls.
At the University of Karlstad in Sweden, a group led by Dr. Anette Kjellgren, studied the effects of yoga-like breathing exercises on healthy adults. One hour daily, six days a week for six weeks, 55 members of the study practiced ?Sudarshan Kriya,? a series of slow normal and rapid breathing exercises. Forty-eight other members of the study were told to relax for fifteen minutes daily in an armchair.
Anxiety, stress and depression were significantly reduced in the yoga group versus the control group along with increased feelings of optimism. Yoga induces a ?relaxation response? associated with reduced nervous system activity and a feeling of well-being probably due to an increase in antioxidants and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, they report in BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Source: Reuters Health courtesy of Environmental News Network