It’s not surprising to me that upon teaching a yoga class, many clients stop in the middle to use the restroom. You could just say, it’s that morning cup of coffee going through, but I have a different view. Yoga has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body is part of the immune/defense response; the extra water/heat can remove damaged cells, harmful irritants, or toxic pathogens to begin the healing process. The problem arises when the body has chronic inflammation, and the defense/pro-inflammatory molecules continue to be present in the body even when they are not needed. With the inflammation switch “on”, the body operates as if it is always under attack, and can result in bodily damage over time.
Once this system goes out of control, it can manifest into diseases such as blood vessels (atherosclerosis); pancreatic tissue (diabetes); bones and joints (arthritis); digestive system (lactose and gluten intolerance); limbs, muscles and nerves (fibromyalgia); fat tissue (obesity); throat (thyroid issues)—just for starters. The body goes haywire in its own defense, with the immune system failing to distinguish between what is foreign and what is our own self. As we age, our bodies are less able to disarm the inflammatory process. This is due to stress, genetic predisposition and hypertension, to name a few.
There’s also good news for those of us who have a regular yoga practice. Several studies now report that a regular yoga practice
- Brings down the levels of stress hormones that promote inflammation
- Lowers the levels of a number of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body and brings down inflammation that is beneficial in conditions like arthritis
- Reduces a subset of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines thereby relieving severe pain seen in diseases like fibromyalgia
- Inhibits inflammation that in turn weakens and even kills cancerous cells in people with cancer.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb, stating that in our future, a yoga practice will be covered by insurance. Not that long ago, chiropractic was considered “new age”, or just for odd people. Now it is covered by insurance. First there was Chiropractic, then massage therapy, and even now acupuncture are all healing modalities that are covered by insurance. All of those practices have a yogic element in them; to connect/heal energy systems in the body, and that spinal health is equal to good health.
I think one of the best reviews on the healing power of yoga is myself. I don’t get sick. Ever since starting a daily yoga practice, I have not gotten one cold, virus, or flu. That’s pretty good for 12+ years. As for me, I’m going to keep on practicing, and let the practice speak for itself.
Yoga heals. Period.
See you on the mat yogi’s,