Benefits of yoga

Yoga improves strength and flexibility, strengthens the immune function and scientific studies have shown that it has contributed to a noticeable improvement over a wide range of health issues, often reducing the need for medication and pain relief.

Yoga asanas (postures) stretch and strengthen the whole body; not only the muscles, joints and ligaments, but also the three very essential prerequisites for vitality and rejuvenation. A healthy central nervous system (brain and spine), healthy endocrine system (glands, immune system and hormones) and healthy internal organs.

Pranayama (breathing techniques) increase lung capacity, slowing the breathing, lowering blood pressure, stress hormones and increasing the feeling of positive well being.

Relaxation and meditation techniques increase concentration, improve memory and generate feelings of self esteem and self acceptance. We have greater clarity of thought and action more creativity, more fulfilling relationships and a more positive outlook on life.

Yoga is great cross training for other sports.

Classes include several cycling enthusiasts who spend long hours on bikes, riding in a crouched position. This can result in lack of flexibility in the hamstrings, hips and spine which if not adequately addressed, leads to hunched shoulders and restricted neck movement.

Golfers, who use repetitive movements to one side of the body only, can create an imbalance in the pelvis, hips, knees and spine, often end up needing hip and knee surgery. The golfers in the class credit yoga with more flexibility through their shoulders and hips on the golf course.

Yoga Can Help Everyone

Yoga is an all round therapy in which the focus is on dealing with the source of the problems, rather than treating the symptoms. Learning about our own personal body and mind is a lifelong journey of self discovery. The benefits of regular yoga practice are for everyone, regardless of age, weight, or physical condition. Yoga benefits have been studied and documented all around the world and increasingly these techniques are being used in hospitals, schools, prisons, the military and other institutions for their many therapeutic benefits.

Body, Mind Spirit Connection

Yoga harmonizes the body, mind, and spirit, bringing together breath and movement, focus and flow, mind and body. Initially students go through the movements, getting to grips with where to place hands and feet. Then over time they make the connection that combining the postures with the breath and the mind takes them to a whole new dimension.

One is simply an exercise, the other is yoga.

Stress Relief

All of us are subject to varying degrees of stress in our lives. We face pressures from work, family, health, etc. and at times it can be overwhelming. Yoga lowers our stress hormones, calms the mind and increases feelings of positive well being.

Even after the very first yoga class, students feel more relaxed and less stressed out.  

Flexibility

"But I have no flexibility!" is a frequent comment. Yoga offers increased flexibility to all, no matter how stiff or how inflexible they are. Within a few yoga sessions, and especially after a couple of months of regular yoga, people notice that their body feels more flexible and fluid. Not only does yoga gently stretch muscles, tendons and ligaments, but it increases the fluid in joints, increasing mobility and range of motion. Over time, this eases pain in hips and knee joints, reduces stiff shoulders, achy neck muscles which in turn, lessens the incidence of tension headaches and migraines.

 

Strength

Yoga tones muscles all over your body, in balance with each other; using both large and small muscles to move in many directions. A regular yoga practice can reduce your risk of injury and condition your body to perform better at things you have to do every day: walk, sit, twist, bend, and lift groceries. This is a form of functional fitness, yoga moves your body in the ways it was designed to move to help ensure that it keeps functioning properly.

By simultaneously stretching muscles as it strengthens them, many yoga moves help flow more blood and oxygen into your muscles, washing out excess lactic acid before it becomes a problem later on.

Balance

Most of us find balancing on one leg difficult, but it is essential to our ongoing safety and independence. As we age the sensory messages going to and from the soles of our feet to our brain tend to become weakened, meaning we get more unsteady on our feet, unless we practice balance poses.

Balancing brings not only our flesh and bones into balance but also our nerve impulses, thoughts, emotions, and our very consciousness. Hence, we feel calm. Equilibrium brings equanimity.

Improved Posture

Building strength and flexibility with yoga will make you notice your newly improved posture. In yoga your body is being realigned and balanced. Poses take you to the right and to the left, up and down, straight and back. Working all corners of your body also build up a solid core. A strong core allows us to stand tall and sit up straight.

Regular yoga practice makes you more aware of your body, if you are slumping, you are more likely to notice it quickly and correct it.

Breath

Many of us have learned bad breathing habits which ffect our overall health. We breathe short, shallow breaths, encouraging the stress response "the flight and fight syndrome" which releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol to circulate around our bodies, causing disease and cell destruction.

Yoga teaches deep, even breathing, increasing our lung capacity which in turn lowers our heart rate and blood pressure. Even just a few minutes a day of deep, concentrated breathing can calm your mind and make you more relaxed.

Learning correct breathing techniques is essential for those suffering panic and anxiety attacks.

Learning, Memory, Concentration

Students who regularly practice yoga will tell how their ability to concentrate is improved. How does it work? Yoga practice increases oxygen supply to the brain allowing for clearer mind and focus. Concentration and ability to focus go hand in hand with learning and memory. Couple those with the relaxed and calm feeling you get with yoga practice and you have a proven path to unlocking power of your brain.

Digestion

The health and function of our digestive system is key to the health of all the other systems in the body. Certain yoga postures give our internal organs a good stretch and massage, improving their function. The combination of  deep abdominal breathing and this internal massage improves digestion.

Mood and Energy

You will not fail to notice how upbeat, energized, and happy people are both walking into a yoga studio and out. Especially out. Even a one hour yoga practice does wonders to your mood and it carries over to your life. Increasingly yoga is being used to alleviate depression, insomnia and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Heart Health

Effects of yoga have been extensively studied in relationship with Heart disease. Yoga can lower blood pressure and regular yoga practice slows down your heart rate. Slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure/hypertension, stroke and heart disease. Yoga is also said to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as boost our immune systems, all good news for the health of our hearts.

 

Some of the medical conditions which can be alleviated by yoga

Many scientific studies confirm the effectiveness of yoga to alleviate a wide range of health issues, often reducing the need for medication and pain relief. Yoga techniques are now regularly practiced in hospitals, schools, the military and even prisons for their calming and therapeutic benefits.

Alzheimers
Arthiritis
Asthma
Bronchitis and Emphysema
Back pain
Cancer

Depression
Diabetes
Fibromyalgia
Insomnia
Heart Disease
Multiple Sclerosis

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
Pain Management
Panic Attacks
Parkinson's Disease
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome