The Calming Effects of Yoga
- Open and expansive postures like backbending reduce cortisol, a major stress hormone that kicks up the "fight or flight" response.
- Good spinal alignment helps improve breathing quality, and good breathing reduces stress and anxiety.
- Inversion poses increase activity of the "rest and digest" mode.
- 2:1 breathing (exhales twice as long as inhales) lowers blood pressure.
- Chanting increases activity of the "rest and digest" mode.
So next time you feel your inner hulk coming out to destroy, take a breath and strike a pose!
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Adhana R, R Gupta, J Dvivedii, Ahmad S. “The Influence of the 2:1 Yogic Breathing Technique on Essential Hypertension”. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 57(1): 38-44, Jan-Mar 2013.
Hulk art from devianart.net. Hulk yoga cartoon from Lefunny.net.
Kim KS, Lee SW, Choe MA, Yi MS, Choi S, Kwon SH. Effects of abdominal breathing training using biofeedback on stress, immune response and quality of life in patients with a mastectomy for breast cancer
McCall, Timothy. Yoga as Medicine – The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2007.
Wörle, Luise, Erik Pfeiff. Yoga as Therapeutic Exercise – A Practical Guide for Manual Therapists. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2010.