What are the health benefits of yoga?
What is yoga?
- Yoga is a practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.
- There are many different types of yoga..
- Hatha yoga is a combination of the different types of yoga and is one of the most popular styles.
- There is more moving than meditating.
- Pranayamas are breath-controlled exercises.
- Asanas which are the poses.
- Savasana which is the resting period after the exercises.
Yoga may help with back strain.
- Yoga poses will help strengthen your back muscles, other types of exercises may not focus in on these areas.
- Strengthening these back muscles may help alleviate strain.
- Recent studies in people with chronic low-back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function (the ability to walk and move).
How can yoga help with overall health?
- Yoga is low impact, it will not strain your body as much as other exercises.
- Yoga appears to lower blood pressure
- Yoga appears to lower cholesterol levels.
- “Researchers studied a small group of sedentary individuals who had not practiced yoga before. After eight weeks of practicing yoga at least twice a week for a total of 180 minutes, participants had greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.” Harvard Health
- Yoga appears to raise pain thresholds, it has been beneficial in those with arthritic pain Harvard Health
- Yoga poses requires more flexibility than other types of exercises.
- Flexibility can help you maintain a healthy active lifestyle.
- Balance is needed to practice yoga.
- You may have to modify your poses at first.
- Usually if you stick with yoga you will improve your balance.
- Like with most other things in life, practice makes perfect.
- Blocks can help you modify your routine if you need it.
- The blocks give you support without bending as far (to the floor).
Performing yoga will build muscle strength
- It is important to build muscle mass. As we age we lose muscle mass. During weight loss we lose not only lose fat but also lean muscle.
- Yoga poses require strength and balance.
- Yoga can help increase lean muscle.
- The increase in lean muscle helps build strong bones.
Yoga can help with posture and proper alignment
- An instructor can show you proper alignment when performing the different poses.
- As you practice yoga over a longer period of time your posture will generally improve as slumping forward will feel unnatural.
Yoga can help increase concentration.
- Holding a yoga pose requires concentration and balance.
- You need to focus if you are going to maintain poses.
Exercising in general helps reduce stress by decreasing cortisol levels.
- Yoga will benefit overall health.
- The feel good hormones, endorphins, are also increased.
- The increase in endorphins make you feel happy while reducing risks of depression.
Exercises such as yoga can also help you sleep better.
- Yoga takes energy and focus.
- Yoga decreases stress levels
Yoga may help reduce anxiety and depression
- Yoga has been used in people with post traumatic stress disorders.
- Yoga appears to reduce anxiety levels
No proven benefits
- Yoga has not been shown to reduce asthma.
How does yoga help with weight loss?
- Yoga makes you more aware of your surroundings and what you are eating.
- It creates a sense of mindfulness.
- Studies show that those who practice yoga weigh less than others who do not practice yoga -Reference Harvard health
Practice safe yoga
- Listen to your body.
- If you feel a strain…stop.
- If you are dizzy…stop
- Hot Yoga-Yoga is practiced at 105°F. This can be a strain on people with certain medical conditions, please speak to your physician about exercising in these environments
- Drink water before, during, and after yoga.
- Wear suitable clothing.
- People with glaucoma and sciatica should speak to their physicians before yoga.
- As with other forms of exercise you should speak to your doctor first.
Try yoga, you may be pleasantly surprised
- Try a yoga class or just watch a tape.
- There are a ton of you tube beginner yoga videos
- Amazon has some free videos for prime members.