Last October, Harvard Medical School released yet another article with a study that has suggested that the practice of yoga can be used to actively slow down the potentially harmful effects of stress and inflammation on the body.
In the article, it is claimed that between 60-80% of all primary health care visits to a doctor in the US are stress-related, which is a huge cause for concern. Stress is not something that any of us want. The effects of stress, including increased signs of ageing, are in no way helpful to our bodies.
Additionally, the article describes that chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are two other common medical problems that can even cause damage to our bodies at a cellular and genetic level. A mild form of inflammation is known to scientists as ‘inflammaging’ and is commonly linked with conditions like heart disease, depression and diabetes.
Before I continue, I quickly want to jump into what stress actually is. Scientifically, our bodies produce a chemical named Cortisol, which is more commonly referred to as the stress hormone.
Cortisol is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, managing metabolism, actively reducing inflammation and even affects your memory functions. However, if your body is subject to large, if not excessive, amounts of cortisol, there are many symptoms you can suffer including fatigue, weakness of the muscles, lack of emotional control, headaches and even bone loss.
As you can see, the more regulated we can keep our cortisol levels, the much better our bodies will be.
Yoga Affecting Stress
The study that was published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity was carried out over a 12-week period where researchers found that yoga actively slowed the signs and effects of cellular ageing.
Within this study, the participants engaged in 90 minutes of yoga, including a variety of poses, as well as breathing and meditation practices, over the course of five days during the 12 weeks. As a result, the researchers found the individuals to have lower levels of inflammation in the body and lower cortisol production rates.
Another study that was published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience publication was conducted over another 12-week period in a yoga retreat found similar results that yoga actively reduces the effects of inflammation and stress in the human body.
These are just two studies out of now hundreds of available studies which highlight the benefits that yoga can have on the human body and for our minds. Even a little practice of just ten minutes a day is enough to start building a habit that can change and improve your life.
After all, who doesn’t want to live a happier and healthier life where we’re free from the constraints of stress and anxiety?