The physical benefits of yoga might seem like a given, but would you believe us if we told you that meditation has physical perks too? Yep, even if you practice by sitting completely still on a pillow. According to some research, meditation may help ease symptoms of stress-related health issues like fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also aid in managing pain and decreasing blood pressure.
Meditation also can also strengthen your brain by increasing how long you can focus at work. Some scientists even believe that meditation can reverse brain patterns that play a big role in getting distracted when we’re trying to focus. One study found that a team of coworkers who practiced mindfulness meditation were able to focus longer, and were better able to remember details of their work to-dos. Meditation may even be able to reduce memory issues that can crop up as we age.
Most avid yogis won’t be surprised to hear that regularly practicing can play a wonderful role in managing chronic pain, anyone who’s ever worked on feats like the one-handed tree pose knows that yoga can be a huge boost for your strength and flexibility.
That said, studies have also found that yoga has other, less-expected health benefits. Yoga may ease migraines and could have a positive impact on your heart health by potentially lowering your blood pressure, helping manage cholesterol, and possibly even slowing the progress of heart disease. Experts aren’t clear just how much of these benefits have to do with yoga versus some of the positive lifestyle habits that often go hand-in-hand with the practice, like eating healthy foods and better stress-coping mechanisms. That said, it’s definitely exciting news.