My previous guest blog about Yoga Benefit started with basic questions about what yoga is and why you should practice. Now let's turn to another common question: "What are the benefits?" The answer is both simple and complex. Most situations call for a laundry list of sorts, and others invite more in-depth explanations. My intent is to answer some questions and raise others, hopefully encouraging you to conduct deeper research into the topic as your journey towards healthy living begins or continues.
What are the benefits of yoga?
All kinds of moderate exercise—30 to 60 minutes of it—improves the function of the circulatory and lymphatic system. Active and strong functioning systems encourage and enhance the transfer of nutrients and oxygen to cells. Know that excessive exercise has proven to have the opposite effect on the immune system, as the immune system then has to work to repair strained, injured, or overworked tissue. It's important to find the right length of time for each workout and the number of workouts per week that are good for you.
The mind-body practice of yoga teaches the practitioner how to pay attention to the body as it changes. You acknowledge how the body is feeling day-to-day and moment-to-moment. You recognize how it has been affected by life’s activities and stress. You fashion the day's practice based on this in-tune self-assessment. Therefore body-conscious yoga practitioners have a additional benefit of being better attuned to their body than other kinds of athletes. This connection allows the practitioner to pay attention to changes in the body early on, encouraging them to take action quickly to prevent injury and not let sickness or disease go untreated.
I began practicing yoga regularly about ten years ago. I have always chosen careers that placed me in harm’s way of adult and children’s germs. When the whole office would go down because of the latest virus, I would be the one left standing. I take multivitamins and pay attention to what I eat. But I am not a self-proclaimed super-heathy eater. Even so, I have been sick only twice in ten years (without taking a flu vaccination—although I do not recommend this and encourage you to consult your doctor). I attribute much of my health to being in tune with my body and taking measures to prevent injury and sickness. I sleep more when I am exhausted. I acknowledge stress when it creeps up on me and change the way I approach it. I don’t fill every minute of my day with tasks. I enjoy my couch and watch my favorites shows, create time to read, wash my hands often, etc.
Because I am a yoga guide, I am able to lead a class that is beneficial to me as well as the practitioners. I guide classes that includes poses that massage the internal organs to stimulate improved function. For example, twisting poses stimulate the abdominal organs, liver, and kidneys, supporting digestion and elimination. Inversions stimulate the thyroid, prostate, and abdominal organs, and improving digestion. Forward bends help flush mucus from the sinuses and lungs. Backbends and chest openers stimulate the thyroid, pituitary, and abdominal organs, as well as stretching the chest and flushing the lungs. All of the above poses improve circulation, digestion, and elimination, which helps keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Before starting a yoga practice, you should research yoga and have a conversation with your doctor. In my classes, I encourage attendees to inform me of any medical diagnosis they have so that I can provide modifications, to keep from exacerbating existing ailments.
I leave you with,
Meaning peace for all…