Most people view yoga as a means of relaxation and reducing stress. However, it has more benefits beyond this. Practising yoga promotes overall good health. As much as there are a lot of claims out there, solid scientific evidence exists to support some of them. Let’s take a peek at a few scientifically proven benefits of this exercise.

Better Sleep

Studies have shown that taking up yoga could help improve the quality of your sleep. For instance, one study looked at the effects of yoga on sleep in lymphoma patients. It was found that the patients experienced decreased sleep disturbances, reduced need for sleep medications along with improved sleep quality and duration.

Yoga reduces anxiety, chronic pain, depression and stress, which inhibit a good night’s sleep. It also promotes production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating wakefulness and snoozing.

Eating Healthy

One of the tenets of yoga is mindfulness. When applied to eating, it helps you be more conscious of what you put on your plate. You’ll pay attention to the taste, smell and texture of your food as well as notice the sensations, thoughts and feelings you experience while eating. This is known as intuitive eating.

If you find yourself prone to binge eating, try being present in the moment whenever you eat. When done consistently it helps you develop healthy eating habits.


This is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. It helps in improving performance and flexibility through specific poses. Just 15- 30 minutes per day is enough.

In one study, 66 elderly participants were assigned to either practice yoga or calisthenics.  The yoga group experienced increased total flexibility by nearly four times than the calisthenics group after one year.

Increased Strength

Incorporating yoga into your exercise regimen builds muscle strength. There are specific poses that focus on endurance and strength.

Reduced Stress & Anxiety

Yoga is a powerful way of alleviating stress, even more so when coupled with other practices such as meditation. Numerous studies have proven that it contributes to the reduction of the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for stress.

One scientific study involved 64 women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Results showed that after 10 weeks, the women who practiced yoga once weekly had fewer symptoms of PTSD compared to the control group. 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD.

If you’re in Kenya/ Nairobi, check out Sheila Bennati. She’s an acclaimed yogi and wellness coach who integrates health and wellness into life through personal and group coaching.


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