Count on Yoga. Looking for a reason to start practicing (or restart your practice)? Here are a few ways yoga can improve your health and well-being.
- Flex Time. Improved flexibility is one of the most obvious benefits of yoga. During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, never mind do a back bend. But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You’ll probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissues, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.
- Bone Zone. It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward- and Upward-Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis factures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertrebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stres hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
- Worry Thwarts. Yoga lowers cortisol levels.
If that doesn’t sound like much, consider these facts. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Plus, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels lead to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.
These 3 little reasons as to why yoga is good for you, can be found in a new magazine (I found at Walmart, way in the back, in the book section, near the entertainment section) Yoga for beginners. It is written by the editors of Yoga Journal. I’ll be excerpting from the magazine for the next few weeks.
So, if you’ve have not come to yoga in a while, and want to join us, with the new time change (6:30 p.m.), please come!
One more announcement, at the end of the month, is a “5th” Monday, and we will be having our “Yoga for Food” class. You’ll need to bring *minimally* (you can always bring more!) three containers of either, Old Fashioned Oats, or Quick Oats to class. The proceeds will go toward the United Board Missions for Wesley’s Food bank efforts. Any donations made at that time, will also go directly to United Board Missions.
Thank you for coming to yoga for whatever reason!