Don’t do a sun salutation the minute you jump out of bed in the morning? You might want to start, as the list of ailments yoga can ease has officially just increased.
It’s good news for asthma sufferers, as a team of researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong reviewed results from 15 studies around the world and found yoga could improve the quality of life for those with the complaint.
Yoga involves breathing exercises and poses, which are thought to help expand the chest, as well as relaxing muscles in the airways. On top of that, the meditative element of yoga practice also reduces anxiety, which asthma can trigger, and boosts mood.
But asthma’s not the only health complaint yoga can help – and it’s never too late to take it up…
People who suffer from arthritis find certain forms of modified yoga can gently help to increase flexibility and strength.
A study of the impact of yoga on people with osteoarthritis in their knees by Sharon Kolasinski, MD, a professor of clinical medicine and a rheumatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, found that 90-minute, modified Iyengar yoga classes once a week for eight weeks reduced pain and stiffness in joints and improved physical function.
The NHS recommends finding a teacher who understands arthritis and can adapt the yoga poses for your needs.
2. Prevention of falls
Older people are more likely to suffer injuries, such as bone fractures, as the result of a fall, with around one in three over the age of 65 said to suffer at least one fall a year.
But research has shown that exercises like yoga and Tai Chi can improve balance, by strengthening the muscles in your legs, your ankles and knees. This lowers the risk of falls – and was found to lower injury rate.
3. Back pain
With postures like the Cat and Downward Dog, done everyday, yoga can help to soothe mild back pain by gently stretching your spine and easing the tension in your muscles.
But make sure you see a doctor if you have acute back pain – and tell your yoga teacher of any complaints before you start.
4. Blood pressure and heart disease
In 2009, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that in a trial of people who did Iyengar yoga for three months, high blood was reduced, which is connected with an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Cardiologist Dr Dean Ornish led a study in 1990, which showed that coronary artery disease could be reversed, without the need for drugs, through a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle changes – with yoga cited for its stress reduction benefits.
5. Being overweight
The British Wheel Of Yoga’s Paul Fox told the Daily Mail: “GPs now refer patients to yoga for weight loss.
Most people are obese because of their relationship with food. Yoga builds body awareness and can help people deal with stress and other emotional problems that may be causing them to overeat.”
Watch the video below for some easy yoga moves you can give a try in your living room:
Have you tried out yoga? Let us know how you got on in the Comments box below.