1. Yoga helps beat stress
When you encounter a stressful situation, the brain releases adrenaline into your system to help you either fight or flee the threat. This causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure increases. While this response can help you protect yourself when facing a threat, living in a constant state of stress may wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, people who are prone to stress have a higher risk for heart disease than their calmer counterparts.
“What we want is a nervous system that reacts to stressful situations when they happen, but then shifts back to relaxation,” says Dr. Timothy McCall, a San Francisco-based doctor of internal medicine and medical editor of the Yoga Journal. Yoga may help by dampening your body’s reaction to stress. A 2012 article published in the journal Medical Hypotheses suggests yoga could prevent and treat some medical conditions, including cardiac disease, by improving stress-related imbalances in the nervous system.