Monday, 11 January 2016



Stress has been implicated with onset of chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, depression and anxiety disorder, gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, migraine and obesity [1]

Yoga has gained a lot of public interest with some western countries adopting it as a form of holistic health approach. It incorporates use different postures, breathing technique and concentration to the present by meditation. Regular yoga has shown to enhance muscle strength, improves blood flow, builds muscles and joint flexibility, better sleeping pattern, enhanced quality of life and well-being, promotes recovery from addictive lifestyle, ameliorates depressive and anxiety states.[2]

High blood pressure has been implicated with lack of physical exercise, poor diet, overweight and obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol with low HDL cholesterol, alcohol abuse, stress. [3]
According to PubMed, regular yoga incorporating posture, breathing technique and meditation has shown to have a subtle and significant effect on blood pressure. Analysis of different literature showed reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. [4]

During a stress mode, the sympathetic system is activated, production of hormones like cortisol to deal with the stress. After the stress response the cortisol level may remain high which is a risk factor to development of major depressive illness. [5]
Yoga has shown to control the functions of the adrenal gland. It functions via down regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This is enhanced by parasympathetic nervous system activation which brings a feeling of calm and relaxation in the body, modulates the stress response and decreases the risk of depression and anxiety disorder. [2]

Yoga poses, concentration into breathing and meditation can help in prevention and management of DM. It lowers the 'bad' cholesterol (LDL), and increases the 'good' cholesterol (HDL). Calming of the mind in meditation into the present, breathing and body poses can help to prevent blood glucose swings in that, yoga enhances insulin sensitivity and encourages weight loss.[6]
Cortisol is produced by activation of the sympathetic nervous system to mobilize energy sources for body cells which highly need it during the stress mode. This can lead to substantial elevation of blood glucose level. Yoga helps to down-regulates this activation and parasympathetic nervous system is activated, cortisol levels decrease and prevents incidental fluctuations of blood glucose. [6]

Similar post: Health Benefits Of Yoga

Arthritis is inflammation. When there is wear and tear of the inflamed joint, this is called osteoarthritis. (OA). Wear and tears means that the covering of the bone ends -cartilage- breaks down. It is common with weight bearing joints especially the spine, knees and hips. [7]
During yoga poses, the joints go through their dull range of motion. This helps to the spongy cartilage and when the squeeze is released the blood which contains oxygen and nutrients comes in to nourish the cartilage. If the bone isn't taken through its full range of motion there will be parts of the cartilage which won't receive adequate blood, oxygen and nutrients. These areas start to degenerate and finally breakdown causing joint problem.[6]

Stress is a risk factor to developing high blood pressure.[3] People who are stressed may may engage in compensatory behavior like overeating which is a risk factor for overweight and obesity.

1. 10 Health Problems Related to Stress That You Can Fix- WevMd. Feature by R. Morgan Griffin. Address;
2. Explaining the therapeutic effect of Yoga and its ability to increase quality of life- PubMed. By Catherine Woidyard. Address: Viewed on: 19/06/2015.
3. Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure-Heart Org. Address:
4. Effectiveness of yoga on hypertension: Systematic review and Meta-Analysis. -PubMed- NCBI. By Marshall Hagins, Rebecca States and Kim Innes. Address; Viewed on: 22/06/2015.
5. Yoga for stress relief; Reduce stress with Yoga-  Yoga Journal. By Kelly Mcgonigal. Feb 14, 2011. Address:
6. 38 beefits of Yoga|Yoga benefits- Yoga journal. By Timothy Mccall, M.D|Aug 28, 2007. Address: Viewed on: 20/06/2015
7. The Basics of Osteoarthritis.- WebMD. Address; Viewed on: 22/06/2015.