Yoga pants may be one of the trendiest types of athletic attire right now, but far too few people are actually using them in yoga classes. This is quite unfortunate because yoga is actually one of the best exercises because it combines strength training with flexibility and meditation. Yoga enthusiasts have been making wild claims about the benefits of yoga for decades, and it turns out that many of these claims are actually true. According to some of the world’s most respected researchers at Harvard University, yoga can be extremely beneficial.

It Saves Money

According to a study by Dr. James E. Stahl, yoga can actually save you quite a lot of money in the long run. Though it might be a little pricey to take yoga classes in most boutique studios, the savings really add up eventually. In Dr. Stahl’s study, test subjects spent 8 weeks learning how to practice yoga and meditation. On average, each person needed 43 % less medical services, and they all saved between $640 to $25,500 each year because they were not making emergency visits or buying as much medicine. The team of researchers believe that the program was so effective because it gave patients the tools they needed to manage stress. Regularly practicing the yoga techniques taught in the Mind Body Medicine program allowed the test subjects to lower levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. Since cortisol boosts blood pressure and increases risks for strokes, insomnia, and heart problems, it is no surprise that the test subjects ended up saving money once they knew how to do yoga.

Bootique offers indoor and outdoor yoga classes in San Diego that are included in our memberships or just $12 for drop ins.

Yoga Boosts Your Mood

The most beneficial type of yoga if you want an uplifted mood is actually hatha yoga. According to an extensive review of multiple studies by Harvard, this type of yoga is the most beneficial because it teaches controlled breathing and deep relaxation periods. For example, one study examined emotionally disturbed patients, and it found that just two yoga classes a week improved depression by 50 percent. Patients also experienced better sleep and less headaches due to their improved mood. Another study evaluated by Harvard found that yoga may even be able to help with psychological damage caused by post traumatic stress disorder. Overall, this review concluded that patients suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and stress can all benefit from a little yoga.

Yoga Might Help to Prevent Dementia

Yoga is not just for young, athletic people. The gentle movements are an ideal form of exercise for seniors, and one of the surprising benefits of yoga might be particularly important to those at an advanced age. A research study produced in a collaboration between Tim Gard of the Harvard Medical School and Britta Holzel of the Berlin Institute for Medical Psychology found that the meditative effects of yoga can help those suffering from age related memory loss and cognitive decline. Patients who were at risk for cognitive decline tried the Kirtan Kriya form of yoga, and it turned out that this type of yoga helped to improve test subjects cognitive function, focusing abilities, and processing speeds.

Yoga Is Great for the Heart

The physical and mental benefits of yoga combine to create an overall healthier environment for the heart. A comprehensive review from Dr. Gloria Yeh, who is a professor of medicine from the Harvard Medical School found that yoga helped to improve heart health and reduce risk of heart disease in a number of ways. The physical activity allowed people to lose weight and get some exercise, which tends to be very good for the heart. The ability of yoga to lower stress was also helpful because it created lower blood pressure levels which prevented blood vessels from being damaged due to excessive blood pressure. Dr. Yeh points out that the gentle exercise encouraged by yoga makes it ideal for those who have just recovered from a heart attack or are otherwise very out of shape.

Take it from these Harvard researchers, or simply try a class yourself – yoga is truly good for the body and mind.

By: Guest Author Mikkie Mills