After finishing my Saturday morning Yoga class feeling completely energised, refreshed, and alive, it prompted to me to do a brief write up on exactly why Yoga is so freakin’ good for our health. I had neglected my weekly Yoga routine for a little while there and it wasn’t until I started getting back into it that I realised just how much my body had missed it. Here are a few reasons why that is…
Stretching is a large part of Yoga, which is why it is so good for flexibility. Yogic stretching works to lengthen the muscles in the body and can help to release lactic acid build up. It can prevent injury and encourage faster muscle recovery when carrying out other forms of exercise. It also increases lubrication of the joints and ligaments so if you get sore knees after running like I do then it can offer some relief.
When it comes to exercise, Yoga shouldn’t be overlooked as an important part of strength training. It helps to build strength and resistance, muscle control, and can tone your legs, bum, arms and stomach proportionately simply by using your own body weight! Certain weight-bearing Yoga poses are said to be particularly good for strength building such as standing and balancing poses. The good thing about Yoga is that it teams strength with flexibility so that the muscles don’t become rigid.
Posture & Balance
Yoga encourages proper body alignment and helps to correct your posture so it can assist with back pain and spinal issues. The spine is an important element in overall health of the body, so alignment of the spine is vital. Yoga can also improve balance and concentration and help you to focus better throughout the day.
Yoga is said to be one of the few forms of exercise that can actually massage the internal organs to prevent disease and aid in detoxification. It improves circulation and encourages blood flow around the body allowing nutrients to flow to the organs and flush out toxins. It can also regulate body temperature, reduce blood pressure, and even help with weight loss.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Stress seems pretty normal in today’s world but it is one of the biggest killers that can really impact our health and decrease the quality of our day-to-day lives. Stress is useful sometimes, but feeling stressed out all the time is definitely not healthy (and I try to frequently remind myself of that). Yoga has been known to reduce stress and anxiety as it helps to regulate breathing and promotes relaxation and meditation. It calms the mind and can decrease levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. I also find that I sleep much deeper after a Yoga class.
Yoga should be practiced at least once a week (or as many times as you can) to gain its benefits and to start seeing results. If you can do it more than once a week then that’s fantastic! If you’re in Australia and living on the Gold Coast, two great centres that conduct weekly Yoga classes are Essence of Living, and Australian School of Meditation and Yoga (this one is my favourite because it’s a really traditional Yoga experience and they usually serve hot ginger tea after the class!). Otherwise you can find a local class in your area to attend, and if you can’t find anything close by then you can purchase an at home Yoga DVD or download Yoga videos to your iPhone or laptop so that you can even take them with you when you travel.
A brief morning Yoga and meditation session is the perfect way to start the day!
Do you practice Yoga and have you noticed a difference in your body or your health?