Benefits of yoga in improving quality of life


Dr. Samridhi Lal
Assistant Professor
Amity Institute of Pharmacy
Amity University Gurugram

Benefits of yoga in improving quality of life

Yoga is an ancient Indian science and practice for spiritual, mental and physical development of the body. It is over 5000 years old practice introduced to the world by great scholars of ancient India. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘‘yuj’’, meaning to join or unite. The science of yoga has been mentioned in many ancient Indian texts including Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis and scholarly texts of Sanskrit grammarian and sage, Panini and Patanjali. Vedas which are the oldest scriptures in the world have extensively mentioned the significance and benefits of yoga. During the Vedic period, many yoga techniques including Pranayama, Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) and Meditation were a part of daily routine and are well documented in Yajurveda. Upanishads considered yoga as the oneness of breath, mind and senses. Treatment of various diseases is well documented in theories of these valuable scriptures.

Yoga is a valuable integrative practice which can positively modulate and improve healthy functioning of body and mind. It modulates a balance between three energy forces or doshas of the body - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Any imbalance or disorder in these energy forces causes disease. The most commonly performed practices of yoga include dhyana (meditation) pranayama (breathing exercises) and asanas (physical postures). These yoga practices oxygenate cells and regulate the physiological machinery while improving the efficiency of mind and other organs. Yoga practices reduce the rate of cellular ageing and provide longevity by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

It has been reported in several scientific studies that yoga fosters the efficiency of the brain and reduces anxiety, stress and fatigue. Bhramari pranayama is particularly useful in reducing stress and inducing a tranquilising effect on the nervous system. It improves the functioning of the nervous system by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Similarly, kapalbhati pranayama is beneficial in overall strengthening of body organs along with improving the levels of iron and vitamins. Regular practice of yoga detoxifies the body and maintains the genomic integrity of cells which has been demonstrated by increased telomere (tip region of chromosomes) activity which modulates the cell-cycle and its instability is linked with many diseases including cancer, diabetes, asthma and psychiatric disorders.

The physical postures, twists and breathing movements of yoga improve the blood flow into body organs and strengthen the immune system to fight against chronic disorders, cancers and other infectious diseases. Further, yoga improves cognition and reduces cellular oxidative stress which is particularly beneficial in cancer prevention. It optimizes the release of various neurotransmitters and chemicals in the body which regulate the functioning of cells.

Yoga is particularly beneficial in managing chronic disorders where no single intervention has proven effective and treatment medications come with long-lasting adverse effects. Also, it is convenient for the geriatric population where exercise is a constraint and causes energy expenditure. On the other hand, yoga results in conservation and utilisation of energy in healthy functioning of physiological processes.

By practising yoga people can prolong youth and lead a healthy life. It is the key of healthy ageing and overcoming complex disorders and their associated co-morbidities.

Amity Institute of Pharmacy