I fell in love with Yoga more than 10 years ago. I started practicing due to developing a back issue. When it happened, the Doctor put me on a prescription that made me feel not normal. It was then that I decided, I am not going to take medication. Instead, I started reading about how to manage and avoid back issues through practicing yoga.
What I didn't expect was the profound effect yoga has had on my life. Not only have I not had an issue with back pain again (only the very rare occasion when I twist the wrong way, usually not at a yoga class, is when I have pain) but I am definitely more grounded in my life and stronger! Yes, yoga makes you stronger!
Since I have a very hectic schedule, I only have time on the weekend to practice at a studio. The rest of the time I rely on YouTube and Brett Larkin to take yoga classes at home. Brett Larkin has a wide variety of classes for free and she helps you take the pose to your level. I try to practice at least 1-2 days per week.
While most people start yoga due to it's well known benefits of increasing flexibility and strength, there are more benefits than just the outward physical effects. The poses that are practiced have health benefits for organs, muscles, digestive tract, immune system and well-being. Here are a few Yoga Health benefits that are beyond the physical results:
#1 IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
Yoga helps to lower stress hormones which can compromise the immune system. Also, yoga helps to condition the lungs and respiratory tract which can help the lymphatic system to oust toxins from the body. (Source: Yoga Journal) I know whenever I am stuffy due to the change of seasons or allergies are kicking in, all I need to take is a yoga class to help get the congestion relieved.
Downward Facing Dog
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Standing forward Bend
#2 DIGESTIVE SYSTEM SUPPORT
Yoga ensures the flow blood and oxygen helping to massage the stomach, liver, intestines and pancreas. During yoga, metabolic processes and enzymes that are generated help to support the absorption of nutrients and excretion of waste. Poses that focus on twisting, stretching and compression all help support the digestive system. (Source: Bahiranga)
Big Toe Pose
Downward Facing Dog
#3 STRENGTHENS THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Yoga flow not only relies on the body but also the breath. With conscious breathing, nerve transmissions from the body to the brain, decreases stress and muscular tension. This helps reduce cortisol production, the stress hormone that is often on overload due to our busy lives. (Source: Organic Authority). One thing you can do during your day to help relieve stress, is to take a couple of deep breaths. Slowing expanding the belly on the intake and slowly reducing the belly as you exhale. You'll be amazed how effective this is on keeping you from being stressed!
Big Toe Pose
#4 BETTER MENTAL HEALTH
Yoga has been studied for it's affects on the brain. One researcher studied that by practicing yoga for one hour per day, there are significantly increased levels of GABA, a chemical in your brain that helps to reduce signals in the brain. Why is this important? If your brain has reduced signals, then it is less like to be constantly "busy" which means it can stop stray thoughts that are often associated with anxiety and depression. (Source: Chopra)
Dolphin Plank Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
#5 IT MAKES YOU HAPPY
When exercising, you increase endorphins in the brain which can make you feel better. Ever hear of runners high? The same thing happens when practicing yoga. Seratonin levels are increased in the brain making you feel better. (Source: Yoga Fit)
Yoga has so many benefits beyond just the physical. I hope you found this blog post inspiring enough to try a yoga class. Remember, there is no right or wrong in yoga practice. It is all about working with the body you have. Slowly over time you will achieve yoga poses or not! A great teacher I once practiced with told me: There is a reason it is called Yoga Practice and not Yoga Perfect.
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