4 ways that yoga could improve your quality of life

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Gender equality and mental health advocate, yoga instructor, & P. Murali Doraiswamy, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine, Duke University Medical Center


  • Every year on 21 June, the world marks the International Day of Yoga.
  • In the past decade, science has begun to explain exactly how the regular practice of yoga and meditation can transform people’s minds and bodies.
  • Studies show that yoga can lower symptoms of anxiety and stress, improve sleep quality, boost immune health, and improve memory.

Across the globe, millions have lost their lives to COVID-19. The pandemic has also led to severe mental distress as populations around the world grapple with lockdowns, curfews, social distancing measures, and a variety of other pandemic protocols. In addition to that, the pandemic has also revealed deep societal inequalities, which became more pronounced with the inequitable distribution of vaccines to poorer countries. Against this backdrop, the principles of yoga are more relevant than ever.

Yoga is the physical practice of “asanas” or postures that prepare the body for meditation. Those who practice it learn to align with the purest parts of their common humanity. The practice has veryancient roots but it’s only over the past decade that science has begun to truly explain – from a neurological, psychological and cellular viewpoint – exactly how it can transform people’s minds, bodies, and even their societies. Studies show that a consistent yoga practice can improve quality of life in four key ways.
Vaccines, Health and healthcare, Gavi

What is the World Economic Forum doing about access to vaccines?

In 2000, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, with an initial pledge of $750 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The aim of Gavi is to make vaccines more accessible and affordable for all – wherever people live in the world.

Along with saving an estimated 10 million lives worldwide in less than 20 years,through the vaccination of nearly 700 million children, – Gavi has most recently ensured a life-saving vaccine for Ebola.

At Davos 2016, we announced Gavi’s partnership with Merck to make the life-saving Ebola vaccine a reality.

The Ebola vaccine is the result of years of energy and commitment from Merck; the generosity of Canada’s federal government; leadership by WHO; strong support to test the vaccine from both NGOs such as MSF and the countries affected by the West Africa outbreak; and the rapid response and dedication of the DRC Minister of Health. Without these efforts, it is unlikely this vaccine would be available for several years, if at all.

Read more about the Vaccine Alliance, and how you can contribute to the improvement of access to vaccines globally – in our Impact Story.

Anxiety and stress

Recent clinical trials have found that yoga and meditation can lower symptoms of anxiety in both children and adults. This is pertinent at a time when the incidence of mental disorders has risen sharply. A survey carried out last year showed that people who practice yoga had less depression, stress and anxiety due to the pandemic.

Sleep

Clinical trials have shown that yoga can improve sleep quality. Specific yoga breathing and sleep techniques are now being studied as treatments for sleep disorders and people with nightmares due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Generally, practicing yoga to calm the mind before bed can result in a good night’s sleep, which is essential for good mental health and memory.

Immune health

Scientists researching how yoga and meditation affects people’s bodies are finding that yoga and meditation can reduce inflammation and boost immunity against some diseases. This because yoga causes the body to produce infection-fighting cells and reduces the effects of inflammation.

Mental agility and social cognition

Yoga can also help to boost your brainpower and has been linked to sharper attention and better memory. In addition, it may also improve ‘social cognition’, which is a person’s ability to read and recognise others people’s emotions and needs. And researchers are actively studying how yoga and meditation might help prevent the memory loss and brain-shrinkage that occurs as people age. https://www.youtube.com/embed/8oGvjln7_ZA?enablejsapi=1&wmode=transparent

Yoga isn’t a cure-all for every disease, nor should it act as a replacement for medical care. But by lessening anxiety and stress, and improving sleep and cognition, yoga can make people happier and more self-aware. This will slowly improve how people interact with each other. Indeed, researchers have found that people who practice yoga for many years are kinder and more compassionate.

These effects are exemplified by the way yoga has changed our own lives. Sophie was raised in a happy home in the Canadian countryside. But, as a young woman, she later dealt with anxiety, self-esteem problems, and even an eating disorder. She was pregnant and in her thirties when she attended her first yoga class and immediately felt like she had found a new home.

To this day, yoga gives her the strength to manage her mental health and lead a very public life as an advocate, mother of three, and wife of the Prime Minister of Canada.

As mental health advocates, we both strive to find ways to help the most vulnerable. Yoga practice doesn’t need to be long or complicated. Whether you are sedentary or super active, whether you are diagnosed with a mental illness or suffer daily anxiety (like most of us), whether you are a seasoned yoga teacher or just a beginner, yoga can adapt to you.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to O2 CZ, CETIN and T-Mobile CZ for their network sharing agreement

Take Care of In Order to Be Taken Care of

3 reasons why embracing the circular economy can be powerful for middle income countries

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

Female leaders warn about the erosion of women’s rights

Statement by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, on the announcement to postpone the COP26

Halt death sentences on children, UN rights expert urge Saudi authorities

This is how Britain saved some of its most precious wildlife from the threat of extinction

How to put people at the heart of your company’s COVID-19 response

‘Whole spectrum of Afghan society’ must get behind peace talks, UN envoy tells Security Council

EU regions get additional 47.5 billion EUR to tackle local effects of COVID-19

These artists created a huge open library – and their idea’s gone global

Commission refers Denmark to the Court for failing to fulfil its obligations in relation to the name “Feta”

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: The health of capitalism won’t be the only worry for those who head for Davos

China’s stock markets show recovery signs while EU is closely watching in anticipation of the €10bn investment

Does the Commission subsidise a forced labour scheme in Britain?

One for all? Are physicians prepared to deliver care to the LGBTQIA+ community?

UN chief lauds Fijians as ‘natural global leaders’ on climate, environment, hails ‘symbiotic relationship’ with land and sea

How start-ups will lead India through the Fourth Industrial Revolution

This one small change could transform education for millions

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

World Wildlife Day: UN chief urges ‘more caring’ relationship with nature

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

Third Facebook-Cambridge Analytica hearing: data breach prevention and cures

De-escalate now, to steer Yemen off ‘precarious path’, UN Security Council hears

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi during World News Media Congress 2019

Questions and Answers on the EU Digital Covid Certificate

The fires in the Brazilian amazon rainforest may be related to the increase in the number of hospitalizations for respiratory complications in the state of PARÁ

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

Your next pair of sneakers could be made from coffee

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Migration crisis: how big a security threat it is?

Reducing deforestation means getting serious about environmental crime

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

This is the most sustainable way to use fashion – and it’s not renting clothes

Collaboration: the key to success in the digital economy

Lessons in disaster relief from the world’s most cyclone-battered state

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

Women to save Europe’s own labour resources

Food system failures in our age of abundance

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Libya civil war, African displacement, global trade tensions, terrorists’ children ‘secretly detained’, and more

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Boosting the EU’s green recovery: Commission invests €1 billion in innovative clean technology projects

Guarantee of mental health’s stability in times of pandemic

Mobile technology: health in your hands

Digital Finance Package: Commission sets out new, ambitious approach to encourage responsible innovation to benefit consumers and businesses

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

The new era of Matriarchy?

The role companies play in boosting growth in emerging markets

A Sting Exclusive: “Our ambition is by 2020 Indonesia to become an emerging power of World’s Maritime Access”, reveals the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Indonesia in Brussels, treating WEF, ASEAN and EU-Indonesia relations on the eve of the World Economic Forum East Asia 2015 in Jakarta

Want a sustainable business? Hire in talent

Sustainable development demands a broader vision, says new OECD Development Centre report

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s