Why Oh Why Should I Do Yoga?
You may have heard that yoga was good for you. It really could be a life changing experience! If you are a newbie to yoga or are concerned about your fitness levels, then it is recommended to start with easy poses as your body will become attuned to the poses and daily practice as you progress. We don’t suggest you eat too much before a yoga session – preferably a light meal around 2 hours before a class. Make sure you are well hydrated.
Aches and pains start to disappear – Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to the improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments can cause poor posture.
Strong muscles look good and protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain.
Corrects Poor Posture
Your head is like a bowling ball – big, round and heavy. When it is balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes less work for the neck and back muscles to support it. Move it several inches forward, and you start to strain those muscles. Poor posture can cause back, neck and other muscle and joint problems.
Yoga helps prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by squeezing and soaking areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge, it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up.
Spinal Disks – the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves – crave movement. A well –balanced yoga class with plenty of back-bends, twists and forward bends will help keep your disks supple.
Strengthens The Bones
Weight bearing exercises strengthens the bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Yoga practice increases bone density in the vertebrae and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, that helps keeps calcium in the bones.
Improves Blood Circulation
Yoga allows more oxygen to get to your cells, which function better as a result. Twists wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once released. Inversions (upside down poses) allow the flow of fresh blood to move to the heart, helping with swelling in the legs from heart and kidney problems. The boost in red blood cells, decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Drains Lymphatic System
Helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Lowers Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands in response to a crisis, which temporarily boosts the immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high, they can compromise your immune system linked to anxiety, major depression, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. It also drives one to eat when angry, upset or stressed, contributing to weight gain.
Increases Serotonin Levels
Backbends, lotus, meditation heightens the serotonin levels in the body correlating with greater levels of happiness and better immune function.
Lowers Blood Sugar and LDL Cholesterol
By lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels, this encourages weight loss and gets your blood sugar levels down.
Regular yoga practice improves coordination, memory and even IQ scores. Problem solving and mental focus improves.
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath and focus on the present, shifting balance from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system which is calming and restorative.
Relieves Chronic Tension
Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or steering wheel with a tight grip? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and face, increasing stress and worsen the mood. Yoga brings awareness to the areas in the body where tension is held and trains you to relax those areas.
Restorative yoga (Yin class’s), meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) provides downtime for the nervous system, leading to better sleep which means you’ll be less tired and stressed and each night you will have a good night’s rest.
Relieves Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Constipation
Yoga eases constipation, ulcers, IBS and lowers the risk of colon cancer by moving your body to facilitate removing waste through the bowl through twists and inversions (upside down poses)
Peace of Mind
Yoga calms the mind, slowing down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear and desire that lead to stress, migraines, insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, heart attacks and high blood pressure. Quiet your mind and you will live longer.
Improves Self Esteem
Through self-examination and betterment, you can access a different side of yourself. You’ll experience feelings of gratitude, empathy and forgiveness for yourself and others as well as a sense that your part of something bigger.
Yoga and meditation reduce pain in people with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic conditions.
There are so many reasons to practice yoga! For health, for fitness, for relaxation, for pain relief, self-awareness, the list goes on. Whatever your reason, Yoga is for every “body”, aged 4 years to 104 years. See you on the mat.
Although yoga has its roots in Hinduism, it is seen as a tool for body, mind and breath awareness. It can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and does not conflict with any other religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs.