A healthy lifestyle is something that we all strive for (or we should). While there are so many health and wellness trends and diets that have come and gone, one consistent form of exercise that has remained at the top is yoga. Yoga not only focuses on an individuals physical health, but it also focuses on their mental and spiritual health. While this article will focus primarily on the physical benefits, it is important to keep in mind that mental and spiritual health are equally as important.
Yoga is an ancient practice originating in India that dates all the way back to 3000 B.C. It was designed to be a way for people to develop harmony between the heart and soul, on the way to divine enlightenment. Even though the spiritual aspect of yoga is not everyone’s cup of tea, there are still so many physical benefits that yoga can provide.
Yoga is a great way to become more physically active. However there are various types of yoga that are practiced and some are more beneficial for those who are looking to drop weight. The best types of yoga to incorporate for weight loss are Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Bikram. These styles of yoga are more active and will help you shed the weight you’re looking to drop quicker. Another great form of yoga to incorporate is called sculpt. Sculpt is a relatively new form of yoga that includes both cardio and weight training. This form gets your heart rate up higher, which will then help you burn more calories. The weight training also helps form and tone your various muscle groups.
Yoga has been proven to increase the flexibility and strength in your respiratory muscles and fascia by regularly practicing a combination of balanced breath sequences and patterns. The strength that develops in the upper torso helps lengthen both the inhalation and exhalation which in turn leads to better breathing patterns. This can help with mild forms of asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) by decreasing inflammation around the lungs. However if you have any type of health condition, consult with your doctor before partaking in any type of exercise.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular health is one of the most overlooked aspects of health in the United States. Heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women. Women are also more likely to ignore symptoms of heart disease, resulting in more fatal heart attacks. Yoga has been scientifically proven to help lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. Even doing one slower-paced yoga class once a week can increase a person’s heart health levels by boosting the levels of blood circulation that happen when engaging in movement. Certain twisting poses are thought to wring out “venous blood” from internal organs, which allows more oxygen to flow once the twist is released. Positions like headstands and shoulder-stands encourage blood flow from the legs and pelvis back to the heart. Yoga has been seen to boost levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscle tissues. It also makes platelets less sticky, which then prevents blood clotting.
Protection from Future Injury
Just like anything, the more you practice something, the more you become a master at it. The same applies to yoga, except you are not only mastering the exercise, but you are also strengthening your muscles and bones. This in turn then helps protect your body from future injuries. The mobility within the joints that comes from yoga and flexibility is a key player when protecting yourself from future injuries. In fact, many women’s health doctors recommend doing yoga for women with osteoporosis, since it can be a natural way to help strengthen their bones.
There have been many studies that certain forms of meditation in yoga can help reduce pain when it comes to arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic pain conditions. The flow of yoga and sequences of movement are designed to work together to build strength and improve flexibility that may help release tensions that are found in the body from just day to day life as well.
Yoga is an incredible form of exercise that encompasses so many benefits from physical to mental. Try out one of our yoga classes by signing up here or contact us here if you have any other questions.