(Last Updated on : 29/11/2013)
Yoga Asanas have a profound impact on the systems of the human body. The muscles, bones, nervous system, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems of the human body are greatly benefited from regular practice of yoga asanas. The body becomes more flexible, and more able to adjust to environmental changes after practising asanas. The sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems are brought into a state of balance with the help of asanas.
Skeletal System and Yoga Asanas
The human skeleton supports the softer parts of the body such as muscles, which are attached to it and the organs, which it protects. The skeleton, its joints and muscles are exercised through asanas that leads to the proper development of the bones and strengthens them with the passage of time.
The gentle stretching of the muscles and joints releases muscle tension, thus increasing flexibility. The stretching of the joints in asanas causes the secretion of a lubricant called the synovial fluid. This fluid is released into the joints that keep them supple, as well as removing waste products. The result is to reduce stiffness, which will prevent arthritis or improve it if the person already suffers from the condition. Maintaining many of the asanas encourages strength and endurance. Weight bearing asanas usually help prevent osteoporosis, and may also help those who are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, practised with care, under the supervision of a qualified Yoga teacher. Long term benefits of asanas include reduced back pain and improved posture.
Cardiovascular System and Yoga Asanas
Cardiovascular system of the human body includes the heart and its arteries. Being isometric, Yoga Asanas rely on holding muscle tension for a short period of time. This improves cardiovascular fitness and circulation. Many surveys show that regular yoga practise may help the blood pressure to normalise. As an example, the stomach lift raises the diaphragm, which in turn massages the heart from below. This strengthens the heart muscle, thus resulting in better circulation and less possibility of heart disease.
Digestive System and Yoga Asanas
The major functions of the digestive system are ingestion, digestion, absorption, and defecation.
Yoga Asanas effect improved blood circulation and the massaging effect of surrounding muscles speeds up sluggish digestion. As a person gets older, the digestive system functions with gradually reducing efficiency. The regular practice of asanas thus result in an improved blood and nerve supply to the digestive and eliminative systems keeping them functioning well. The stomach lifts while asanas are practiced massages the digestive organs, as well as contracting and stretching them.
Nervous System and Yoga Asanas
The nervous system is divided broadly into two categories, the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. Neurons generate and pass impulses between and within the two systems. The peripheral nervous system is composed of sensory neurons and the neurons that connect them to the nerve cord, spinal cord and brain making up the central nervous system. In response to stimuli, sensory neurons generate and spread signals to the central nervous system, which then conducts signals back to the muscles and glands.
By improving blood circulation, easing muscle tension and the focusing the mind on the breath, Asanas combine to ease the nervous system. Long-term benefits include reduced stress and anxiety levels, and increased feelings of calm and well-being. The headstand causes an increase in circulation to the brain, which stimulates the brain's nerve cells. This results in increased vitality and improved brain functioning.
Since the nerves from the spine reach to all the organs and glands of the body, a healthy spine obviously plays an important role in vitality and renovation.Where the spinal nerves leave the spine and pass through the inter-vertebral foramina is a very susceptible area. If a vertebra is slightly incongruous, it may cause the nerve to be 'pinched' in the intervertebral foramina. The spinal nerves do not have guard against automatic damages as the brain does. The spine is kept flexible through various kinds of yoga asanas and there is much less chance of spinal misalignments.
Endocrine System and Yoga Asanas
The endocrine system is a system of glands that secrete and release of extra cellular signaling molecules known as hormones. The endocrine system is active in regulating metabolism, growth, development and puberty, and tissue function and also plays a part in determining mood. Asanas keep the mind calm and at ease. Glands located in many regions of the body, release chemical messengers called hormones into the bloodstream. Yoga asanas regulate and control the secretion of hormones from all glands in the body.
Yoga experts can suggest appropriate exercises and kriyas that may heal the patient's mind and body. It is important to note that yoga exercises for a particular patient are chosen according to the specific disease he/she is suffering from. However, all the yogic exercises work in cycle to provide good health.Yoga Asanas can be used as complementary therapy in association with medicinal therapy.