Yoga has been around a long time, but some of us give it scant attention. We think we don’t have time to add it to an already-busy workout schedule. Many others know that yoga has amazing benefits that unwind us. We may do lots of cardio, resistance training, take endless classes of high-intensity interval training such as Afterburn or Body Combat. But, these workouts demand a lot out of you: You’re sore, stiff and achy. You may feel burned out and exhausted, unable to recover from your long days or sleep well.
The routine is a form of mind-body fitness that involves a combination of muscular activity and an internally directed mindful focus on awareness of the self, the breath, and energy. Four basic principles underlie the teachings and practices of yoga’s healing system. The first principle is the human body is a holistic entity comprised of various interrelated dimensions inseparable from one another and the health or illness of any one dimension affects the other dimensions. The second principle is individuals and their needs are unique and therefore must be approached in a way that acknowledges this individuality and their practice must be tailored accordingly. The third principle is self-empowering; the student is his or her own healer. It engages the student in the healing process; by playing an active role in their journey toward health, the healing comes from within, instead of from an outside source and a greater sense of autonomy is achieved. The fourth principle is that the quality and state of an individuals mind is crucial to healing. When the individual has a positive mind-state healing happens more quickly, whereas if the mind-state is negative, healing may be prolonged.
Adding yoga to your workout repertoire may be beneficial to your overall well being. So, let’s see what it can do for you. From physical and psychological standpoints, there are many benefits that you can enjoy after beginning a yoga practice:
- Improvement in flexibility. This is especially important for adults age 65 and up. We lose this flexibility as we age.
- Improvement with reduced stress. This is the No. 2 reason why people do yoga. Not only is the physical practice helpful, but other rituals of yoga such as meditation, breathing techniques and chanting add to this reduction of stress.
- Improvement in mental health. Yoga can make you happier. One study found that the left prefrontal cortex showed heightened activity correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function after regular yoga practice.
- Improvement in posture. Yoga can reduce back, neck and other muscle and joint problems with regular yoga poses.
- Improvement in bone health. Weight-bearing exercises are important to strengthening bones and helping ward off osteoporosis. Yoga practice was found to have an increase of spine flexibility in women over 50 years old
- Improvements are also seen with increased blood flow, increased heart rate (lower blood pressure) and increased immunity. Yoga can help with your circulation, especially in the hands and feet. In addition, it will help get more oxygen to your cells. Immunity is boosted by the drainage of your lymph nodes; this will help fight infection and dispose of waste products. Lastly, yoga, even though your heart rate may not be in an aerobic range, can lower your resting heart rate, increase endurance and improve maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise.
- Improvement toward a healthier lifestyle. A regular yoga practice that gets you moving and burning calories, as well as the spiritual and emotional aspects of yoga, may encourage you to improve your eating habits.
- Improvement in sleep. Yoga can help reduce the tension of your day-to-day stresses, and create a “restorative” level of relaxation. Regular yoga practice can help you get better sleep, with less tiredness, less stress and fewer occurrences of accidents.
Yoga provides an endless supply of benefits; there are more than what is discussed here. Suffice it to say, it’s all good. With an increase in self-esteem, ease of pain with chronic conditions, and, lastly, the potential to provide you with inner strength, your life will improve by leaps and bounds. So, give it a try.
Source: Ochsner Health