“One of the biggest benefits of yoga is that it can activate the parasympathetic nervous system," notes Gilbreath. This offsets the fight-or-flight responses associated with the sympathetic nervous system. "Yoga also helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Most people have too much stress in their lives and thus too much cortisol in their bodies. Excess cortisol can suppress thyroid function, decrease muscle tissue, increase blood pressure, lower immunity, and increase inflammatory responses." So by practicing yoga, you help counteract those effects.