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The Benefits of Consistent Practice

Updated: Jun 12

By Laura Caulfield-Lewis


Scientific research shows that regular Yoga and Pilates practice helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, cancer, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress and other conditions.


What's more, consistent practice improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina, boosts self-esteem, improves concentration and creativity, lowers fat, improves circulation, creates a sense of well-being and calm and promotes a restful nights sleep (this I can personally attest to).


Most forms of Yoga and Pilates emphasize deepening and lengthening the breath. This stimulates the relaxation response -- the opposite of the fight-or-flight adrenaline boost of the stress response. According to a study out of York University, practicing twice weekly significantly reduced pain and promoted the release of stress-relieving hormones. Eight weeks after taking up practice, study participants reported feeling less helpless and less worried. Kathryn Curtis, who led the study confirms "Yoga[lates] is extremely useful in the management of pain.”


Among the anti-stress benefits are a host of biochemical responses. For example, there is a decrease in the hormones produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Lowering levels of hormone neurotransmitters creates a feeling of calm. Between all of the demands and stress of work and family, it's easy to lose touch with who we are. Rushing around all day accomplishing the task at hand, it’s no wonder we lose touch with our true nature. Yoga means union, union of the mind, body and spirit. It is about being present. The practice also emphasizes love, compassion, knowledge and right action as paths toward union, rather than being divisive.  Moreover, Yoga helps us get in touch with our true selves.


Sources:

  • Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 11, 2009.

  • Bertisch SM, et al. Alternative mind-body therapies used by adults with medical conditions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2009;

  • Javnbakht M, et al. Effects of yoga on depression and anxiety of women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2009.

  • Kathryn Curtis, Anna Osadchuk, Joel Katz. An eight-week yoga intervention is associated with improvements in pain, psychological functioning and mindfulness, and changes in cortisol levels. Journal of Pain Research, 2011.


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