Your Health: Basics of Yoga
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A symbol of modern day peace, serenity, and well-being, yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, improve health, heal aches and pains, and keep sickness at bay. And almost anyone can do it.
If you need some more convincing that yoga will help you achieve optimum health, here are a few benefits that you may experience.
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga. You'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s because tight muscles can lead to misalignments that cause pain.
Yoga movements strengthen your body from the inside-out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good too. Each yoga pose reinforces the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder and neck pain. Strong muscles also help prevent falls in elderly people.
Strengthening the muscles that support your neck and pull back your shoulders will improve your posture and reduce pain from slumping.
Yoga takes your joints through their full range of motion which can help prevent and manage degenerative arthritis. Movement through a full range of motion allows the joint cartilage to be hydrated, receiving fresh nutrients. Without this nutrient flow, the cartilage can eventually wear out causing pain. This applies to the disks of your spine too.
We know that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight thus providing resistance to the bone—it’s the physical stress of this resistance that encourages bone strength.
Worry No More
When you are worried and stressed, your body produces cortisol as a protective action. If your levels remain high, your immune system doesn’t work as well, depression may develop, and your blood pressure and insulin levels are increased. Good news, yoga lowers cortisol levels.
You’ve Got Nerve
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present. This shifts the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system, a more calming and restorative reaction. What does this mean for you? RELAXATION from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
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