Benefits of Hatha Yoga

One of the most immediate health benefits of practicing Hatha yoga is a feeling of calm; when you focus on your yoga practice, you may focus less on your worries or woes. Yoga can increase your flexibility, range of motion and strength as well as enhance your balance, leaving you with a higher fitness level and reduced risk of injuries.

Listed below are the Physiological, Psychological, Biochemical of Yoga versus exercise benefits ~

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

  • Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
  • Pulse rate decreases
  • Respiratory rate decreases
  • Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
  • Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
  • EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
  • EMG activity decreases
  • Cardiovascular efficiency increases
  • Respiratory efficiency increases
  • Gastrointestinal function normalizes
  • Endocrine function normalizes
  • Excretory functions improve
  • Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
  • Breath-holding time increases
  • Joint range of motion increase
  • Grip strength increases
  • Eye-hand coordination improves
  • Dexterity skills improve
  • Reaction time improves
  • Posture improves
  • Strength and resiliency increase
  • Endurance increases
  • Energy level increases
  • Weight normalizes
  • Sleep improves
  • Immunity increases
  • Pain decreases
  • Steadiness improves
  • Depth perception improves
  • Balance improves
  • Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga

  • Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
  • Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
  • Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
  • Social adjustment increases
  • Anxiety and Depression decrease
  • Hostility decreases
  • Concentration improves
  • Memory improves
  • Attention improves
  • Learning efficiency improves
  • Social skills increases
  • Well-being increases
  • Learning efficiency improves
  • Symbol coding improves
  • Depth perception improves
  • Flicker fusion frequency improves

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga

  • Glucose decreases
  • Sodium decreases
  • Total cholesterol decreases
  • Triglycerides decrease
  • HDL cholesterol increases
  • LDL cholesterol decreases
  • VLDL cholesterol decreases
  • Cholinesterase increases
  • Catecholamines decrease
  • ATPase increases
  • Hematocrit increases
  • Hemoglobin increases
  • Lymphocyte count increases
  • Total white blood cell count decreases
  • Thyroxin increases
  • Vitamin C increases
  • Total serum protein increases

Yoga Health Benefits versus Exercise Benefits
Yoga versus Exercise
Yoga Benefits

  • Parasympathetic Nervous System dominates
  • Subcortical regions of brain dominate
  • Slow dynamic and static movements
  • Normalization of muscle tone
  • Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments
  • Low caloric consumption
  • Effort is minimized, relaxed
  • Energizing (breathing is natural or controlled)
  • Balanced activity of opposing muscle groups
  • Noncompetitive, process-oriented
  • Awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite)
  • Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness

Exercise Benefits

  • Sympathetic Nervous System dominates
  • Cortical regions of brain dominate
  • Rapid forceful movements
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Higher risk of injury
  • Moderate to high caloric consumption
  • Effort is maximized
  • Fatiguing (breathing is taxed)
  • Imbalance activity of opposing groups
  • Competitive, goal-oriented
  • Awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)
  • Boredom factor

"The autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic system, which is often identified with the fight-or-flight response, and the parasympathetic, which is identified with what's been called the relaxation response. When you do yoga - the deep breathing, the stretching, the movements that release muscle tension, the relaxed focus on being present in your body - you initiate a process that turns the fight-or-flight system off and the relaxation response on. That has a dramatic effect on the body. The heartbeat slows, respiration decreases, blood pressure decreases. The body seizes this chance to turn on the healing mechanisms."

~Richard Faulds