It’s not a secret that regular exercise gives us tons of health benefits and makes us look and feel better at the same time! In fact, evidence suggests that physical exercises may actually increase your chances of living longer and having a more positive lifestyle. 
But what about yoga? This type of physical (and psychological) practice is different from all the Tabata, HIIT, Zumba, aerobics, and other workouts, as it draws upon core strength, balance and focus.
Yet, the degree of intensity varies from challenging power and athletic flows, which leave you feeling exhausted, to gentle and restorative practices, which benefit flexibility on the level of both connective tissue as well as muscle and recovery.
The goal of every yoga practice is to feel better, stronger, more flexible, calm, and humble. In fact, practicing yoga in combination with other exercises can provide for a well-rounded program for both physical and mental health.
In that sense, several studies have looked into the effects of yoga on human health. A 2014 review paper gathered all the proven benefits of Yoga Asana and Pranayama in one place. 
Yoga Asana (physical poses) uses the physical body and breath to be present, while Pranayama the practice of breath control and breath regulation (sometimes with movement).
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Does yoga improve mental health?
Evidence suggests that regular yoga practices may improve your mental health and resilience, while lowering the stress levels, reducing depression and anxiety symptoms. 
In fact, yoga is often used in combination with traditional medicine as part of positive psychology therapy. According to various medical research pieces, those physical exercises may show a great impact on mental wellbeing as they have the potential to improve the sense of gratitude and meaning in life. 
As a result, practicing yoga, in the long run, may have a positive impact on your mental health, reduce stress, improve your response to stressful situations and trauma, as well as improve your resilience.
How yoga supports weight management?
Evidence suggests that the combination of practicing 1-hour long asana and pranayama exercises in the morning for 3 consecutive months may have a big impact on balancing your weight, body mass index, and waist-hip-ratio. 
This way, regular yoga practices are associated with a positive effect on controlling obesity and obesity-related diseases, which decrease your quality of life. 
Does yoga lower the risk of coronary diseases and hypertension?
Regular yoga practices under doctor’s supervision (or in combination of traditional medicine) may show positive effect on balancing blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension or prehypertension. 
In addition, the combination of breathing, meditation, and asanas in yoga is associated with reducing the risk of developing coronary diseases and supporting heart attack recovery. As the yoga poses can be modified according to the individual’s abilities, evidence suggests that they can be used as a gentle therapeutic method for maintaining and improving heart health. 
How does yoga affect the brain?
According to a 2019 literature review (of 11 individual studies) on the potential effects of yoga on the human brain, yoga may play a major role in protecting and supporting the brain’s healthy functions, structure, and blood circulation. 
The comparison of the different study results showed early evidence that regular yoga practice may be associated with reduced risk of age-related declines, as well as declines related to damaged brain nerves (e.g., Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease).
Does yoga help type 2 diabetes?
Various studies have looked into the role of yoga in reducing the risk and improving the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, yoga practices may facilitate self-awareness, reflection, and improving oneself. As a result, yoga is positively associated with improved eating habits, mindful eating, refinement in binge-eating and stress-eating patterns  , as well as glycemic and portion intake control. 
The combination of those factors may help type 2 diabetes patients to improve and manage their condition through diet and new eating habits.
How does yoga affect chronic diseases?
According to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga (used as part of medical therapy) may help in managing chronic disease symptoms and improving patients’ overall life quality. Evidence shows that several studies have suggested the positive effects of yoga on certain chronic health conditions, like cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and asthma. 
If you suffer from a chronic disease, ask your healthcare provider for advice on whether yoga is suitable for your specific condition.
The health benefits of yoga are significant and worthy to look into! It not only strengthens your body and improves your flexibility, but also synchronizes the balance between your body, mind, and breathing to give you the most out of every yoga session.