Have you ever thought about going to a yoga class? Do you wonder if you are flexible enough to practice yoga? Are you afraid you might have to put your foot behind your ear? Stop worrying and start yogaing!
Here's how yoga can help you:
Flexibility: Yoga poses (called asanas) work by stretching your muscles, that releases lactic acid. The results are less stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue, meaning you feel better! While stretching the muscles it also stretches ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. It increases the range of motion and fluidity of your joints. Most participants had a 35% improvement in flexibility after only 8 weeks! Best of all you don't have to do any "pretzel" moves to feel the benefits!
Strength: Some styles of yoga are more physically challenging than others, such as Ashtanga or Power Yoga. However, even a basic Hatha class will help you develop more muscle tone, just try holding Plank or Downward Facing Dog for 10 breaths!
Breathing: Yoga focuses on deep, mindful breaths. This type of breathing will increase lung capacity, stimulate the relaxation response, ease symptoms of asthma, and leave you feeling more calm and peaceful.
Heart benefits: Yoga helps to lower blood pressure and slows the heart rate, which can benefit those with hypertension and heart disease. KU Med Center conducted a study on yoga and people with arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation affects 2.2 million Americans. Symptoms include chest pains, dizziness, palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Most participants enjoyed the classes and are experiencing positive benefits. One participant said, "Before yoga I could barely walk across the lawn and now I can mow it!"
Other benefits: It has positive effects on learning and memory. It can slow the aging process and improve energy levels. Studies have shown it to ease insomnia, arthritis and back pain.
I love yoga and it has helped me with my back pain. I had an injury fifteen years ago that was a catalyst for my 125 lb weight loss and caused to write Small Bites, Big Results and led me to search for relief by practicing yoga. Now, I lead an international retreat every year! Look where we are going now!
Wow! With all of those benefits I bet you are putting your stretchy pants on right now! The best part about yoga - there is a class and style for everyone. If you have tried it, but didn't enjoy it, try a different class or style. It's kinda like potato chips (organic ones, obviously), there is a flavor for everyone!