So what’s the big deal? Why is everyone so enthralled with yoga these days? What can I gain from introducing this practice into my lifestyle?
Yoga is not a new trend or fad. It has existed in some shape or form for over 4,000 years. The benefits and advantages to obtaining a regular yoga regimen are so valuable that the practice has spread throughout the world regardless of cultural differences and backgrounds.
The world is filled with people who are struggling in some way, mentally or physically. We all have our issues and there are many different ways that yoga can assist us in our journey through life. You might find, by looking at some of the benefits listed below, that yoga could be the answer you’ve been searching for. If so, come join us at White Flower Yoga and Wellness and relax in good company.
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Benefits of Yoga: The Short List
Increased Core Strength
Lowers Blood Pressure
Pain and Tension Relief
Increases Mental Awareness
Focus on the Present
Unlocked Energy Flow
Balanced Brain Hemispheres
YOGA MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Why does Yoga work in reducing stress?
It’s quite simple actually. When we move with intention, breathe easily, and focus the mind; our parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest branch of the nervous system) takes over and reduces the effects of stress and anxiety while increasing the body’s natural ability to heal and restore.
The science of yoga brings together healthy movements done with awareness, breath-work and meditation in order to calm and heal the body mind and spirit.
The physical aspects of yoga (the poses/asanas) introduce movement in place of stagnation and increase blood flow to all parts of the body. It has been scientifically proven that exercise is a key ingredient to reducing stress. The more stationary we become, the worse our health becomes. So naturally, it is easy to see how the movement aspect of yoga can be helpful to decreasing stress.
The practice of breathing is crucial in understanding how yoga works to reduce stress. Typically, the average human finds him or herself taking quick shallow breaths throughout the day. The more superficial and hasty our breaths are the more stress can build internally and take over our wellbeing. Pranayama (literally means the extension of the breath, or extension of the life force) teaches us how to breathe comfortably at varying paces and depths, increase our breath volume and balance the intake of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide. Basically, learning how to consciously work with the breath equalizes the body’s nervous system, relieves agitation and calms our mind.
Yoga also has the added value of introducing meditation to our exercise routine. Most yoga practices consist of some form of meditation, whether in the beginning, middle, end or as a way of moving through the whole class. In addition, the practice of yoga fundamentally asks you to return your focus to the present moment over and over again. Meditation and focus are natural occurrences within the art of yoga; they are practices built into a practice. Because of this tendency we find ourselves completely relaxed and alert at the end of every class. It’s the perfect way to calm the mind.
Why does Yoga improve focus?
Curiosity about the mindful attention experienced in a yoga practice has inspired numerous studies investigating how yoga effects brain function. One of which (through the University of Illinois) observed people after a 20 minute yoga class and found that they were quicker and more attentive than those who simply jogged or walked for 20 minutes. * This finding is important to note as some people fear if they relax they’ll become dull but we can see the exact opposite is true.
For those familiar with meditation, it is very evident that focus does not come easily or regularly, but practice does help. Every time we step on to the mat or sit down to meditate we are increasing our brain function and our ability to concentrate. The act of at least trying to keep distracting thoughts at bay is a step in the right direction and this step almost always happens naturally within any yoga class.
Why does Yoga help us gain a stronger and healthier body?
Practicing yoga will, without a doubt, tone and strengthen your body. Some of the movements can be challenging and quite a workout. But there’s more to it than that. Practicing yoga will also teach you about your body and how to love and accept its perfections and flaws. It’s not just about being a size smaller, it’s about being healthy and happy. Yoga can help you on this journey. Moving and breathing to music, aligning your body in healing positions, and exploring your limitations will help build muscle, gain flexibility and strengthen your awareness.
So why not Yoga?
Regardless of ailment or physical limitation, bringing yoga into your life can only be a positive experience. There is a style and type of class for all of us! If you have special circumstances or injuries you can always give us a call and together we can explore the best way for you to begin. We look forward to seeing you “on the mat”. Click on our online schedule to get started and book your class today.