Discover the Benefits of Doing Yoga! How to Add Yoga Into Your Daily Wellness Routine!0
If you are looking to be more flexible, strong, healthy, and relaxed, yoga may be just the exercise you’ve been looking for. The full benefits of yoga have not yet been determined. Yet there is growing evidence to suggest that yoga works to enhance physical health, stress-coping skills, and mind-body awareness among other benefits, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Yoga and other forms of mind-body fitness are my GO-TO daily practices to revitalize my mind, body, and spirit! Give yourself the Gift of Yoga!
Millions of people also believe in the power of yoga to improve health physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It can strengthen, tone, and align your body, improve your stamina, soothe your nerves, calm your mind, and may alleviate anxiety and depression. Better yet, the benefits of yoga seem to increase with time and consistency of practice.
September is National Yoga Awareness Month. This campaign was created to increase awareness about yoga and its alleged health benefits. One way you can learn about yoga is to take advantage of the One Week Free Yoga classes offered in the months of September and October at over 1500 participating yoga studios across the country. You can find out more here:
Yoga is Good for Your Body, Mind, & Soul
Yoga is much more than just great exercise!
Tools for Meditation & Stress Reduction
Research suggests that yoga may:
For Your Body
- increase endurance
- help you to lose weight
- lower your cholesterol
- improve your posture
- increase lung capacity
- improve your muscle tone
- strengthen your bones and joints
- reduce heart rate and blood pressure
- improve mood and sense of well-being
- improve muscle relaxation and body composition
- promote the relaxation response and reduce stress levels
- help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- strengthen core muscles, and tone/lengthen all muscles (which may reduce back pain)
For Your Mind
- enhance mental acuity
- lower your stress levels
- help you to see the bigger picture
- deepen your mind/body connection
- give you a sense of peace as things are now
For Your Soul
- give you spiritual insight
- yoga has been called “moving prayer”
- experience a sense of felt connection with all living things (enlightenment)
In order to get the most out your yoga experience, you should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, bring a yoga mat, and refrain from eating too much or not at all before you venture to a class. It’s best to try yoga first in a live class vs. your Xbox 360 so you can learn the poses correctly. Connecting with others can be a big part of the yoga experience as well. Look for classes at your local YMCA, gym, community center, or a studio that specializes in yoga.
Types of Yoga
Hatha Yoga is the physical part of yoga. It is the most popular type of yoga practiced in Europe and the United States. It is generally very basic yoga, and incorporates poses or postures (also called asanas), breathing, and meditations. Hatha yoga can be very mellow, and therefore is very popular and great for beginners. Some classes are listed as hatha yoga. Others maybe off-shoots of hatha yoga, such as the types of yoga listed below. Be sure to check which type of yoga class you are taking if you are just starting out or have health considerations.
Other Hatha Yoga Classes
- Bikram is “hot” yoga, practiced in a room with a temperature of at least 100 degrees. It focuses on building muscle and stamina and can be very cleansing for the body as well.
- Ananda yoga focuses on gentle postures and preparing the body and mind for meditation.
- Ashtanga is the “athletic” or “power” yoga. It is not recommended for beginners. It is the most demanding type of hatha yoga.
- Vinyasa is another active form of yoga that focuses on the coordination of breath and movement, and can be physically and mentally challenging. Vinyasa is similar to ashtanga yoga, but perhaps to a lesser degree. It is a very popular type of yoga.
- Inyengar was created to help with injuries or to improve structural imbalances. It focuses on precise alignment of poses and uses props like blocks, blankets, and chairs.
- Kundalini focuses on poses, meditations, breathing techniques, and chanting to awaken life force or energy at the base of the spine.
Precautions with Yoga*
- Yoga is generally considered to be safe in healthy people when practiced appropriately. Studies have found it to be well tolerated, with few side effects.
- People with certain medical conditions should not use some yoga practices. For example, people with disc disease of the spine, extremely high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, retinal detachment, fragile or atherosclerotic arteries, a risk of blood clots, ear problems, severe osteoporosis, or cervical spondylitis should avoid some inverted poses.
- Although yoga during pregnancy is safe if practiced under expert guidance, pregnant women should avoid certain poses that may be problematic.
* reprinted with permission by the National Institutes of Health
Yoga and Back Pain
Back pain is such a common condition these days that many people seek relief any way they can. Sitting at your desk all day can put constant pressure on your lower spine or flatten out its natural curve. Try an ergonomic chair, a balance ball, or even standing up some of the time while you work and see if the changes help. Make sure you take micro-breaks as well, not only for your back but for an overall reboot. Proper posture, staying active, and keeping your core muscles strong are all back care basics. Yoga incorporates many of these principles naturally, and seems to show great results for many people with back pain. Here is how yoga may help you as well:
- It can strengthen your core muscles which is critical for proper back support
- It can increase blood and oxygen flow to your back which can help it to regain balance
- All yoga is good for your back, as all poses strengthen yet also lengthen all of your muscles, creating support and structure for your spine, and therefore your back.
- Yoga can remind you of the connection between your mind and your body. The more you are aware of your body, the greater you have a chance of addressing conditions.
- Yoga relaxes you, and many people unconsciously hold tension in their necks or back.
Yoga for Kids
According to a 2007 National Health Interview Survey over 1.5 million kids are now participating in yoga classes. Kids can love yoga just as much as you do. The key is to find a class that makes it fun for them. Check out www.rainbowkidsyoga.net for ideas or classes in your area. Kids are naturally flexible as well, making it easy for them to learn poses. In India, they start kids with yoga at around age eight learning poses. At around age twelve they introduce kids to the meditative side of yoga. Learning how to de-stress through poses or meditation can be an invaluable skill for kids to learn in order to thrive in our modern world. Many kids will want to do what you are doing, including yoga. Since yoga can be as much about community as it is about connecting with your body, mind, and soul, introducing them to what you love may be a natural, rewarding fit.
Did You Know?
Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. When you focus on your breathing, you unite your mind, body, and spirit. The vision of Yoga is to be peace and connect to the highest Source. You can BE yoga, even just in the way you live, breathe, and BE in your life.
Yoga may date back as far as 5000 years. It was originally developed to cultivate spiritual attitudes and discipline through foundations of yoga called Sutras.
One of the Sutras is Samadhi, which means enlightenment. Some say the ultimate goal of yoga is to achieve enlightenment, or tranquility of mind.
Yoga is a way of BEING, a way of Life, and You have the Power and Ability to participate on Your Terms in one of the most LIFE-CHANGING practices on the PLANET! Namaste to you on your Journey in Discovering the Flow and Power of True Yoga!
Edie Summers is an author, executive, wellness coach, yoga instructor, and top-rated radio host. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Psychology, and certifications in Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition. Her new book is The Memory of Health. You can find it here: http://amzn.to/2aP3AbA
The Memory of Health is a meditation and conversation on health and well-being. What makes you thrive, even in the face of great odds? What makes you come alive?
At the age of 22, Edie developed chronic fatigue after having surgery for a ski accident. While physical therapy was helpful, she had to seek alternative treatment to regain full use of her knee. In the course of seeking answers to her health challenges, she discovered the power of mindful living and became a conscious consumer in her quest for true well-being.
Whether you like mainstream, alternative, or integrative medicine as your solution for health and well-being, be conscious of the choices you make, because the choices you make matter.
The choices you make matter.™
Discover more about yoga! Curious about yoga as a practice and even art form? Click on this link to experience YogaDance and to find the BEST in yoga practitioners!