Yoga is a discipline which aims to unite the body, mind and spirit.  It has been practiced for more than five thousand years. Many people claim that yoga has some therapeutic effects.  It is even embraced by modern medicine as a drug-free approach to relax your mind and body, relieve you from stress and give you inner peace and happiness.

Here are four health advantages of practicing yoga:

1. It relieves back pain

Yoga helps to reduce back pain.  According to a study conducted by the journal Pain, people who joined yoga class for 90 minutes per week for 16 weeks had their back pain reduced by about 70 percent.  Moreover, their usage of pain medication dropped by about 88 percent.

The tightening of your muscles is one of the factors that cause pain.  One of the ways to reduce soreness is by relaxing your muscles.  This can be done by calming your nervous system with yoga.

2. It helps to alleviate migraines

With its ability to reduce stress and promote better sleep, yoga helps to alleviate pain experienced by migraine sufferers.  A 2007 study conducted by the journal Headache found that migraine sufferers experienced fewer and less intense migraines after practicing yoga for three months.

3. It helps to alleviate depression

Yoga stimulates your central nervous system to release its natural antidepressant chemical called serotonin.  It is a powerful chemical which helps to lower cortisol levels which are high in depressed people.  A study conducted by the University of California in Los Angeles relates that people who were under antidepressant medication felt less depressed, angry and anxious two months after practicing yoga three times a week as part of the healing process.

4. It helps to heal eating disorders

Eating disorders are triggered by anxiety and depression.  Yoga helps to curb eating problems by making you feel relaxed, it heightens your self-awareness and it helps to make you accept and love yourself even more.

In a recent study involving 50 juvenile girls with eating problems, health experts revealed that yoga was able to reduce the girls’ cravings for food after practicing it for one hour a week for eight weeks.