Practising yoga changes the nerve patterns and chemical make-up of the body’s fluids and gases, which activate a relaxation response.
By concentrating on and performing specific body postures and focusing on the alignment of a posture, then holding on to it while you breathe deeply, your body starts to shift from a state of biochemical arousal and tension to calm and relaxation.
Relaxing yourself deeply into a yoga pose through deep breathing lowers the brain’s response to threat. Your body starts to turn off stimulating nerve chemicals (like adrenaline), and stops dumping fatty acids and sugar into the bloodstream for energy. Sodium levels lower as they leave the inside of the body’s cells. This slows down the rate of nerve-firing in your system and further relaxes your brain, heart and muscles. This biochemical relaxation oxygenates your blood, restores the balance of blood acidity and alkalinity and reduces your heart rate, blood pressure and motor activity.