The ancient practise of yoga has become incredibly popular in today's busy society, with over nearly 300 thousand Kiwis practising either at the gym or at home. Devotees of downward dog and flying pigeon have long sworn by a regular commitment to spend time on the mat, finding emotional and physical benefits. But for outsiders it can be easy to dismiss this series of poses as little more than structured meditation.
For most people, the initial hook is that yoga can be a great mood booster. But once you commit to it, the benefits can roll into other parts of life. You'll start to feel them in both body and mind.
Only recently have there been moves to substantiate the claims of the dedicated thorough research. And so far, the results are providing significant evidence of the broad-ranging benefits of yoga, both as a treatment and preventative form of health care.
Whether you're already a regular yogi, slightly cynical or keen to try something new, we look at three recent studies of yoga and how those findings can boost your health.
It can change your genetic make up
A comprehensive study, published in Frontiers of Immunology found that far more disease-fighting genes were active in the bodies of long-term practitioners of yoga and meditation. In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and infertility were all "switched on" in people that practise yoga regularly. These changes, according to the researchers, were induced by what they dubbed "the relaxation effect" bought on by a regular yoga and meditation practice.