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23 fascinating facts about yoga

Click through to learn why yoga has become so popular, and how it can benefit you physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

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Holistic health

Yoga is not just about doing a few joint, muscle or stretching exercises every day. It is a combination of three things: different postures, breathing patterns and meditation.

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De-stress

A few minutes of yoga during the day can relax both your body and your mind, by releasing tension that accumulates in the muscles, and pacifying your overworked brain.

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Healthy joints

Yoga exercises not only keep the joints healthy, but also bring relief to people suffering from arthritis. Keep in mind that you should always listen to your body during yoga, and modify poses based on your own physical conditions. 

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Yoga chakras

There are eight energy centers or “chakras” in the body through which humans absorb cosmic energy. Yoga can purify these and keep the positive life energy flowing. From the base of the spine up to the crown, these chakras are named mooladhara, svadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddha, anja, bindu, and sahasrara, respectively. 

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Boosts immunity

According to a Norwegian study, yoga boosts the immune system on a genetic level. 

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Mindful eating

The regular practice of yoga can reduce food cravings, and subsequently, the habit of overeating. A University of Washington study claims that this happens because yoga increases the awareness of the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.

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Better relationships

Practicing yoga has proved to improve relationships. A relaxed, happy and contented mind is better equipped to deal with relationships of every kind—professional and personal.

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Happy heart

Yoga improves cardiovascular health, which reduces the risk of heart disease. People suffering from heart ailments, however, should consult a doctor before practicing yoga, and should tell their yoga instructor about their condition. 

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Doga

Started in New York in 2002, it is a type of yoga by which people establish harmony with their dogs. The pets are either used as props for their owners, or they can do light stretching exercises themselves. 

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Lose the flab

Yoga is an ideal and risk-free way for losing those extra pounds. Sun salutations (surya namaskar) and kapalbhati pranayama are especially effective for weight loss.

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Mind booster

A 2013 study claims that yoga therapy could benefit people living with depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions. Other research has demonstrated the efficacy of yoga as an add-on therapy to improve withdrawal symptoms and social cognition.

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Helpful in OCD

A study at the Institute for Nonlinear Science, University of California, has shown that people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder saw a significant reduction in symptoms when they practiced Kundalini yoga regularly. 

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Sound sleep

Regular yoga is a good antidote to sleep disorders. A Harvard Medical School study found that eight weeks of daily yoga practice improved the quality of sleep in many people suffering from insomnia.

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Sex life

As yoga exercises involve controlling muscle movements and stretching the body, the postures rush more blood to different organs. This results in improved sexual performance and confidence in both men and women.

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Relief from migraines

Yoga can bring relief to people suffering from migraine headaches. "The Migraine Solution," co-authored by Dr. Paul B. Rizzoli and published by Harvard Health Publications, claims that affected people had fewer and less painful migraines after three months of practicing yoga.

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No more pain

In a study published in the Journal of Research in Health Science in 2006, Iranian researchers found that three specific yoga postures—cobra, cat and fish—can reduce menstrual cramps. 

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Endocrine functions

Yoga poses stimulate the regular secretion of hormones from the endocrine glands, thus promoting overall physical and emotional health. 

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Fertility booster

Because yoga both reduces stress and improves the endocrine activity of ovaries and testes, many doctors recommend the practice to couples who are trying for a baby.

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Anti-aging

By strengthening the core, toning the muscles, improving cardiovascular function, helping in the secretion of hormones and flushing out toxins from the body, regular yoga practice has immense anti-aging benefits. 

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Hangover

Beat that hangover from last night's binge with yoga. Certain postures, like fish, shoulder stand and plow, work on the thyroid gland and can help get rid of your hangover faster.

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Mythology

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is considered to be the Adi Guru, or the first teacher, of yoga.

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Indus Valley Civilization

Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization sites depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose—giving rise to speculation that the practice might have started during those early times. This photo of the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization was taken in 1960.

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Henry David Thoreau

Author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau was one of the early known practitioners of yoga in the West. His interest in yoga sparked after coming across a Hindu text known as "Manusmirti." In a letter written to a friend in 1849, Thoreau called himself a “yogi.”

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