Yoga's Mind And
The ancient practice of yoga connects the mind, body and spirit through body poses, controlled breathing and meditation. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you to relax and manage stress and anxiety. But the benefits of yoga go far beyond stress management.
Longtime yoga practitioner and teacher Carolyn Yates has seen an upsurge of interest at her yoga studio and says, "The benefits of yoga are far-reaching. I think that's what keeps people practicing. It would be enough that the practice provides a general sense of wellbeing, but the benefits go so deep that we can't measure all of them. Just a few of the measurable benefits include improved strength and flexibility, reduced blood pressure, glandular and hormonal balance and stress relief."
Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Hatha yoga is an excellent choice for beginners because of the slower pace and easier movements.
A consistent yoga practice decreases blood pressure, improves blood circulation and lowers pulse and respiratory rates because the heart and lungs begin to work more efficiently. It builds cardiovascular endurance, balances the metabolism and strengthens the immune system. Yoga practice also massages the internal organs which improves the body's ability to prevent disease, and it can lessen or eliminate chronic pain as the body becomes more fluid and flexible.
Regular yoga stimulates the body's detoxification, which may delay ageing. Posture, core strength, energy and balance are improved. Due to the strong mind-body connection in the practice of yoga, its devotees report less anxiety and stress, better memory and concentration abilities and a more positive outlook on life. Overall wellbeing improves with regular yoga practice.
As a form of exercise yoga offers benefits not readily found in other programs. Due to the low impact of yoga and the controlled motion of the poses, there is a low risk of injury. With yoga, breathing is more controlled during exercise and muscle groups are worked in all directions resulting in an excellent overall body workout. The flexibility developed through yoga leads to grace and improved balance. Because yoga works the entire body it improves endurance and is often used by endurance athletes as a supplement to their sports-specific training.
Weight-bearing exercise such as yoga strengthen bones to help prevent osteoporosis. And yoga's ability to lower levels of cortisol may help retain calcium in the bones. The slow deliberate movements of yoga poses coupled with gentle pressure on the joints can be helpful in relief of arthritis symptoms. It loosens the muscles that tighten joints and cause the pain.
With its quiet, precise movement, yoga draws the focus away from life's chaos and toward calm as you move through poses that require balance and concentration. Yoga calms stress and benefits the body and mind in numerous ways.