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Five Benefits of Yoga Therapy

Hayley Ninnis serves as a bookseller at Barns & Noble and is pursuing a master of leadership development at the Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies. In addition to her studies at Penn State, Hayley Ninnis is working toward certification as a yoga instructor based on her interest in yoga therapy. Yoga therapy holds a number of benefits, as outlined in the following list:

1. Decreases tension – High levels of stress and anxiety can cause muscles to constrict and the resulting tension causes pain in various areas of the body, such as shoulders, neck, and back. Yoga therapy can help relieve excessive muscle tension and relax the body.
2. Enhances mood – Many studies indicate a link between physical exercise and the release of a chemical in the brain associated with positive moods. Some forms of yoga therapy have shown the potential to increase production of mood-boosting brain chemicals and enhance positive attitudes.
3. Relieves pain – Studies conducted by German researchers and the University of California, Los Angeles show that yoga therapy can help relieve certain types of chronic pain, such as chronic neck pain and pain associated with autoimmune diseases.
4. Reduce anxiety and depression – According to a 2009 report by Harvard Medical School, several recent studies suggest that the self-soothing aspect of yoga can help reduce depression and anxiety. Study participants noted improvements in perceived anxiety and displayed an improvement in depression, anxiety, and overall well-being scores.
5. Aids with addiction recovery – An increasing number of addiction and substance abuse recovery centers are incorporating yoga therapy sessions into their treatment regimens. Yoga movements focus on the integration of mind and body, both of which encompass an important aspect of addiction treatment. Furthermore, yoga can increase the brain’s production of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, which individuals with substance abuse disorders statistically produce little of.

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