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A New Study Revealed Yoga’s Greatest Benefit

Woman in downward-facing dog yoga pose with a pug dog sitting under her.
Yuttana Jaowattana/Shutterstock

The purported benefits of yoga are vast, but a recent study wanted to nail down which of its positive aspects were the most prevalent.

Published in Stress & Health, the study had 42 volunteers who participated in a 12-week Kripalu yoga program designed to help with stress. Researchers focused on the five potential “psychosocial” benefits below, which are generally linked to yoga’s ability to relieve stress:

  • Increased mindfulness
  • Interoceptive awareness
  • Spiritual well‐being
  • Self‐compassion
  • Self‐control

Researchers also noted how participants reacted to both perceived stress and feelings of agitation, as well as their level of difficulty when trying to relax.

The study concluded that all of the psychosocial benefits increased, but the most effective tool for stress reduction was “interoceptive awareness.” This is the ability to process internal signals and sensations within the body.

It’s was summed up this way in Stress & Health: “Improving awareness of one’s internal states may provide opportunities to engage in mind-body skills that allow yoga practitioners to consciously intervene in their own stress reduction.”

Again, the participants were practicing Kripalu yoga, which is designed to target stress. Whether these results apply to all forms of yoga is yet to be determined. However, given that all types have been shown to improve sleep and focus, it’s worth a shot.

If you want to try yoga, these tips can help you get started at home.

[Via Eat This, Not That!]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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