Yoga for the Brain: The benefits of yoga as it relates to the brain and the sympathetic nervous system.
1. Yoga reduces the levels of the hormone cortisol - the stress hormone
that wreaks havoc on the body. This, in turn, "removes a barrier to
effective immune function," thus helping to prevent illness.
2. Yoga boosts the levels of feel-good brain chemicals like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. All responsible for feelings of relaxation and contentedness.
3. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which calms us and restores balance after a major stress situation occurs.
4. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, “our bodies can better extract nutrients from the food we eat, and more effectively eliminate toxins because circulation is enhanced. With parasympathetic activation, the body enters into a state of restoration and healing.”
And Paula R. Pullen, PhD, Research Instructor at the Morehouse School of Medicine, studies yoga's effects on inflammation by looking at what's happening in the bodies of heart failure patients who enroll in yoga classes. "...patients taking yoga have significantly improved levels of biomarkers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6)."
She goes on to say "Yoga balances the body, the hormonal system, and the stress response. People tend to think of yoga as being all about flexibility – it’s not. It’s about rebalancing and healing the body.”
We summarized this article from Forbes/Forbeswoman by Alice G. Walton. It's the first in a two-part series she's writing called "Penetrating Postures: The Science of Yoga" - check Forbes out for the entire series. And then check Indigo out for all the benefits of yoga!