A woman unrolls her yoga mat

3 Scientific Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga

Unrolling your mat, playing some soothing music, and bending into child’s pose always serves to relax you. The sense of calm that comes after a good yoga flow seems like a reward in itself, but yoga can actually have some profound effects on your health. Even better: these benefits are rooted in science.

1. Yoga Improves Your Mood

Holding bridge pose does more than just build up your core strength. It also helps you release neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Serotonin can bring about feelings of happiness, while GABA can help you feel calm. One study found that women who performed extended yoga sessions three times a week for four weeks experienced decreased depression, anxiety, and stress. 

2. Yoga Can Boost Your Immunity

When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode and releases cortisol, a hormone that slows down non-essential bodily functions in an emergency situation. Unfortunately, the immune system gets put on the back burner during moments like this. Therefore, chronic stress can increase your risk of getting sick

The sense of calm you feel after a good yoga session allows your body to switch out of fight-or-flight mode and enter a state of restoration. In one study, researchers mandated a weekly yoga practice for one group of students and had another group continue with their normal schedule. Around exam time, the students who didn’t participate in yoga experienced a significant decrease in interferon-gamma levels (a protein that’s necessary for maintaining cellular immunity), while those who regularly performed yoga did not. 

3. Yoga Enhances Your Cardiovascular Health 

Any type of exercise can improve your cardiovascular health, as it makes your heart stronger and can reduce your levels of LDL cholesterol. However, yoga offers the added benefit of relaxation. When you enter a state of calmness, your blood vessels dilate, allowing your blood pressure to decrease and your blood to flow more freely. In the same study on the students mentioned above, the group that didn’t practice yoga had higher heart rates and blood pressures around exam time than those who regularly participated in yoga.

Whether you’re new to namaste or a seasoned yogi, these benefits may make you want to start every day with a sun salutation and end every night with a half moon. For more helpful tips to reduce stress, maintain health, and improve your overall well-being, schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. Our team can work with you to develop a plan to help you achieve better health. 


Forbes | Penetrating Postures: The Science of Yoga
Healthline | 13 Benefits of Yoga That Are Supported by Science
Healthline | What Does Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Do?
Medical News Today | What is serotonin and what does it do?
NCBI | The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women
Healthline | Is Vasodilation Good?
ScienceDirect | Interferon Gamma

Recent Updates

Ease Back Into Exercise: 4 Essential Tips From Doctors

JUN 08, 2021

Thinking of exercising again? Here's what doctors are saying on how to ease back into your workout routines safely.

Read More Additional information about Ease Back Into Exercise: 4 Essential Tips From Doctors

How To Close the Gender Health Gap

JUN 08, 2021

Is it genetics or lifestyle behaviors that lead to women living longer compared to men? Find out how men can close the gender health gap.

Read More Additional information about How To Close the Gender Health Gap | St. Luke’s Health

Chronic Pain? Learn How an Orthopedist Can Help

JUN 07, 2021

Your musculoskeletal system does a lot for your body. So when something doesn’t feel right in your muscles or joints, seeking help from a specialist is essential.

Read More Additional information about Chronic Pain? Learn How an Orthopedist Can Help

Find a Doctor

Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.