Men and women have often thought that practicing yoga can do more for your body than just maintaining fitness and flexibility. Study's now demonstrate it can help with weight control, back pain, sleeping disorders and even heart disease.

Studies reveal yoga practice helps with weight loss and weight maintenance. In research of over 15,000 adults, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that those who did not practice yoga accumulated approximately 18 lbs more fat, over a 10-year period than those who practiced for a minimum of four years.

Additionally a study carried out by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California found that when people practice yoga and meditation, exercised and ate a healthy diet, lost more weight than people who exercised, and ate a balanced diet, but did not practice yoga.

Furthermore Yoga can increase your range of movements in your hips, decreasing lower back pain. Research done at The American College of Sport’s Medicine, advocate that yoga will increase lower back flexibility whilst decreasing pain.

It was a relatively small study conducted on older women age 44-62. Prolonged back pain nevertheless should always be professionally diagnosed, before embracing on any physical exercise program including yoga. Yoga’s back bends and forward bends may aggravate some back conditions.

Yoga can also relax your entire body and your mind, which can help people who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. An instructor of medicine,in the division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School published a short while ago a research paper. He found that half hour to one hour of daily yoga practice with the emphasis on meditation and breathing, helped long-term insomniacs sleep through the whole night. The subjects enhanced their overall sleep by 12%.

Yoga breathing can lower your heart rate and calm your nervous system. The breathing methods can help reduce serious anxiety and depression and reduce stress. Practicing yoga for an hour and a half three times a week can make your heart more healthy in just four weeks.

A recent study from Yale University School of Medicine had 33 men and women who practiced yoga at the above frequency. This dramatically lowered their blood pressure and improved their blood vessels’ capability to expand and contract by nearly 20%. Researchers believed the improvements were based on the stress-reducing benefits of yoga.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Barnes BSC

I love writing about yoga benefits, for detailed benefits of practicing yoga and to learn yoga in your own home click here