We are already aware that there are many benefits of yoga, but in this series of blogs “3 Awesome Benefits Of Yoga” Volume 2, we will zoom in and look at the research behind the potential benefits and how we may be able to experience the benefits ourselves, we take a look at cognitive functions, pain, and stress reductions.
The Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies 2017 states cognitive functions as “…the intellectual activity that includes mental processes, such as, attention, processing speed, learning and memory, executive function, verbal fluency, and working memory.” It has been found that an integrated approach to yoga can improve cognitive functions such as “remote memory, mental balance, attention and concentration, delayed and immediate recall, verbal retention and recognition tests.” As stated in An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).
Much can negatively impact our cognitive functions such as sleep desperation, nutrition and stress, among others. One study found that sleep deprivation had negative effects on our attention and working memory and it impaired other cognitive functions as well. Yoga helps all of these.
We have all experienced some sort of pain, from lower back pain to migraines, it’s safe to say that it’s not a great experience! In 2014, the NHS stated that the leading cause of disability was a back pain, according to a study. It was found that lower back pain causes more disability than any other condition, nearly affecting 1 in 10 people and commonly increasing with age. In 2016 The Daily Mail reported that, “Almost half of all UK adults may be living with chronic pain” and in a new review suggested that around 28 million adults in the UK are affected by some type of chronic pain (pain that lasts for more than three months) according to the NHS.
Numerous studies of yoga and pain reduction found benefits in consistently practising yoga, combined with safe modifications, and supervision which resulted in the improvement of pain tolerance and the overall reduction of pain. Yoga has been known for its multiple benefits, with one benefit being pain reduction and management. We have gathered information from different studies. In one study it was found that “Pilates and yoga group exercise interventions with appropriate modifications and supervision were safe and equally effective for decreasing disability and pain compared with the control group for individuals with mild-to-moderate CNP [chronic neck pain].” – Dunleavy et al (2016), Physiotherapy.
Stress is not great for your mind or body! We are so use to living in a stressful way, finding that work-life balance, meeting deadlines, dealing with difficult people and the pressures of work. Health and Safety Execute reported in 2017 that 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 16/17 in addition to a report from the HSE that stated that stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education, human health and social care work activities along with public administration and defence. Finally, the HSE reported that the main work factors cited by respondents as causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety were: workload pressures which included tight deadlines, too much responsibility, and a lack of managerial support.
Yoga is a wonderful tool that you can melt stress away while physically working your body. An element of yoga called pranayama (breath awareness/yogic breathing) which is practiced throughout a yoga session allows one to deepen the breath which expands your diaphragm and abdomen. A study found that a yoga practice reduced students’ stress levels in students experiencing high workloads and increased their overall perception of joy. In other studies it had been found that Yoga reduced perceived stress and improved adaptive autonomic response to stress in healthy pregnant women.
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