THE BENEFITS OF YOGA.
Yoga poses work by stretching your muscles, increasing flexibility and reducing stress. It will help you move better , and feel less stiff or tired. It will Increase your immune system and your muscle tone. This practice can do far more than just help twist your body into a pretzel shape, and find inner peace - you will also notice hidden benefits in the kitchen, boardroom and bedroom.
Yoga work's on flexibility and strength, and just about anybody can do it - its not just for those that want to touch their toes or meditate. Some yogas are about relaxation, in others you move more. Most focus on learning poses, called asanas. They usually include attention to breathing.
At any level of yoga, you'll probably start to notice benefits soon. In one study, people improved their flexibility by up to 35% after only 8 weeks of yoga.Some styles of yoga, such as ashtanga and power yoga, are very physical. Practicing one of these styles will help you improve muscle tone. But even less vigorous styles of yoga, such as Iyengar or Hatha, can provide strength and endurance benefits.
Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength, since you need your core muscles to support and maintain each pose. When you're stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. With a stronger core, you're more likely to sit and stand “tall." Yoga also helps your body awareness. That helps you notice more quickly if you're slouching or slumping, so you can adjust your posture. When done right, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and better immune system function. Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure or heart disease, and people who've had a stroke.
Research shows that migraine sufferers have fewer and less painful migraines after three months of yoga practice. The cause of migraines isn’t fully understood, but it could be a combination of mental stressors and physical misalignment that create migraines and other issues. Hunching over a computer or cell phone with your shoulders up and head forward causes over lifting of your trapezius and tightening of the neck. This pulls the head forward and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines.
A recent Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boost immunity at a cellular level. And it doesn’t take long: The researchers believe the changes occurred while participants were still on the mat, and they were significantly greater than a control group who went on a nature hike while listening to soothing music. Yoga also helps to boost immunity by simply increasing overall health, says Mitchel Bleier, a yoga teacher of 18 years and owner of Yogapata in Connecticut. “As you breathe better, move better and circulate better, all the other organs function better.”
And wait ……Studies have also found that 12 weeks of yoga can improve sexual desire, arousal, performance, confidence, orgasm and satisfaction for both men and women. How? Physically, yoga increases blood flow into the genital area, which is important for arousal and erections, says Bleier, and strengthens the “moola bandha,” or pelvic floor muscles. Mentally, the breathing and mind control involved with the practice can also improve performance.
Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. And another study found that twice-weekly yoga sessions helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. This can be attributed to yoga’s ability to help people deal with stress. “Sleep issues are like anxiety. Your head can’t stop spinning, you don’t know how to relax,” - “Breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down, so you’re going to start to see yourself sleep better. Yoga usually involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. It may also call for specific breathing techniques.
Yoga is on par with aerobic exercise as one of the best things you can do for mind, body, and spirit. It is a valid exercise choice - and deserves a permanent place at the health and fitness table, alongside other forms of exercise that may be more familiar to people.To put it another way, if you like yoga, don't feel like you're missing out if you're not also putting in time on the treadmill or exercise bike. “Yoga seems to be able to provide many of the physical benefits of exercise—and then some,” says Ross. "It behaves as both exercise and meditation.”
In 2010, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing published a comparative analysis of 81 studies that examined yoga's health benefits and the health benefits of aerobic exercise. The researchers found yoga to be especially effective at reducing stress. This may not be news to those who practice yoga, but even die-hard enthusiasts will be surprised at the number of other health benefits yoga can confer—often to a larger degree than aerobic exercise. The researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters.
It's good for beginners to find a teacher. If you’re considering giving yoga a try, rest assured that you don’t have to be a contortionist to do it. But it’s best to find a class with a teacher, as starting on your own with a video can be tough. It’s important to learn how to do the poses correctly.
So check out our services page for instructors - and if it is your first time join the beginners yoga class and don't be shy, have fun and open yourself to a healthy lifestyle and more flexibility as you age.