Why Yoga is so Good for You

Why Yoga is so Good for You

by Stuart Allen Uncategorized

Introduction:

This bold statement can be answered very simply it happens to be true for the majority of people. Let us look very briefly as to why Yoga is so good for you?  To go into any depth on this subject would take a book or even several!

It has been found that this ancient art fits into modern life quite nicely with the hectic life style so many people adopt, always rushing somewhere, giving themselves very little time to stop and think..

Whilst Yoga has been around for quite some time, it has like other forms of exercise been over shadowed by other crazes.  Until the last few years when people began to realise that it helps to relieve not only the stress of day to day modern living, but can be an aid to relieving ailments and injuries.

However a wide range of age groups and well known stars are beginning to understand why Yoga is so good for you.

The recent interest in Yoga  has been caused by the Medical Profession beginning to accept that Yoga has the capability to heal certain illnesses. It is used in the treatment of certain conditions, such as asthma, the risk of cardiac problems, arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease.

Breathing and Relaxing

Correct breathing techniques are an essential part of the Yoga regime and is often combined with exercises, or the varying poses or postures which are used.

Yoga helps you to return your body and mind to its natural state, which is where it wants to be when it relaxes.  This enables you to get away from the stresses of modern life and living.Yoga Breathing

Learning to be calm, inducing the steady energy that is essential to reducing our stress levels.

Try taking deep breathes as you relax, sit upright as you let your lungs fill with air, relax as you exhale.  Do this just a few times and if you breathe steadily and quietly, your nervous system gets the message to be calm.

It helps if you make the out breath twice as long as the in breath

Try doing this at least once a day, either set aside a time for you to relax and exercise, or use it when you are feeling stressed.

You will be surprised at how calm and relaxed you feel, as this type of exercise carries you through the day.

Try this when reading your emails, breathe slowly, instead of focusing your attention on what you are reading, try focusing on your breathing instead.  You will be surprised how this calms you.  This I suppose could be classed as a form of meditation.

When sat at my computer, if I am feeling tired or stressed I do this routine.

Kick Back Log-on Pose

Sit upright in your chair, feet firmly on the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Relax your elbows and shoulders. Smile, this makes me lift my head, breathe deeply and stretch your elbows back as far as possible, feel your chest expand. Release the tightness slowly as you exhale.

This is my interpretation of a well-known Yoga exercise.  It is surprising how it relaxes me and relieves the tension in my back and neck.  After I have done this exercise four or five times, I will often follow by doing my neck stretches.

Whilst I have detailed neck stretches in another post, for completeness sake I will repeat it.

Sit upright in your chair with your back straight, feet firmly on the floor, hands on hips.  Take a deep breath and rotate your head to the left, whilst holding your breath, exhale slowly, repeat five times.  Repeat rotating the head to the right.  Now repeat but moving the head from back to front.

This exercise can also be carried out standing up, which is what I do when, on the rare occasion I have been on my exercise bike, which I must point out I do very gently as a warm up exercise.

When breathing in any of these exercises, do so deeply and fully while you hold the pose.  Breathe from your lower stomach and diaphragm,  do not hold the breath in your chest.

 Brief Yoga Interlude:

It does not matter if you work too many hours, are a stay at home housewife or mum, are retired and enjoy just doing odd jobs at home.  You can practise Yoga at any time.  Some of the stretches and postures that are found in Yoga, can be done whilst in bed or even whilst driving.  Obviously you must be careful which postures or stretches you choose.

You would be surprised at just how many people do a small Yoga session during their lunch break.  Whilst many do it to shed extra pounds, others do it relieve the stress and tension of the morning.

Some people use it to act as a break before they return to work in the afternoon.  It has been said that it helps them to face the workload better.

Why not try doing the exercises that I have detailed above before going onto anything more adventurous.

Yoga can help release lower back pain:

When carrying out specific poses or postures, if you practise them on a regular basis, you will not only be able to build a strong spine, but one which is also supple.  There should be no pain, however once you do have back problems, you must at all times be careful how you sit, stand and lie down.

There are a number of exercises which you can carry out, not only to reduce the pain and strengthen your back, but to avoid back problems in the first place.  Sitting at a computer all day is not a good idea, without a break and doing some form of exercise, or at least getting up and walking around, just have a stretch as well..

Yoga – A Cure for the Stresses of Modern Life:

Yoga is now seen as a very effective form of managing stress.  Its use is spreading not only to the world of business, but too such institutions as retirement and nursing homes.  It is also used for hyperactive children, those children who have learning disabilities, and alcoholics.

The less stress that you have in your life, the more you can relax and enjoy it.

Parkinson’s Disease:

It has emerged that Yoga has a major role to play in managing Parkinson’s,  becoming an alternative therapy due to its slow and gentle movements, it is seen as an excellent form of exercise, for those who are suffering from this disease.

Those suffering could try the steps below, as they could be very effective.

Try to concentrate on controlling your breath, this type of Yoga is known to help in moments of panic.  Also the mind is usually alert with this exercise.

Exercises such as those which use postures too strengthen the back, have a lot of movement of the shoulders, along with breathing practices all help.  Some practitioners believe that meditation certainly helps.

A form of Yoga known as Ashtanga, is often used as it not only strengthens the body, but it also increase blood circulation.

Asthma – a Cure or a Helping hand?

It is believed that those who suffer from mild asthma, and who practice Yoga breathing exercises, could find that the use of low-dose inhalers, may be reduced during a wheezing attack.

Breathing becomes more difficult in those who suffer from Asthma, as the airways become restricted.  In the United Kingdom over three million adults and children suffer from Asthma, which is responsible annually for over 2,000 deaths.

During clinical tests Doctors were able to test how irritable the airways became, by measuring the amount of air that a patient could blow out in a second.  After Yoga exercises the airways were found to be twice as less irritable.

Whilst those who suffer from Asthma should not stop their medication, it would be an idea to experiment with breathing exercises.

Before you Start to do any form of Exercise:

As with all forms of exercise please make sure that you are fit enough to do any form of exercise, please do check with your Health Professional first if you are in any doubt.

Except for the two exercises detailed above, always warm up first.  Either go for a brisk walk, run up and down stairs, even have a march round the garden.  Anything that will loosen your muscles, this will avoid undue strain and possible damage to your ligaments and muscles.

Conclusion:

Whilst yoga is defined in a number of ways, I like this one

“Yoga is the union of, mind, body and spirit with truth”

Whilst there are many kinds of yoga, Hatha, is the most popular in the Western world.  This concentrates on using postures that not only strengthen and stretch the body, they also help to develop not only mental concentration, but body awareness and a sense of balance and flexibility.

If you able to, when practising your Yoga exercises play some soothing and tranquil music, it will help you to relax even more.

Do remember that however little time that you can give to it, wherever you wish to practice,

Yoga really is good for you

So enjoy the many ways that you can improve your well-being and reduce your stress levels.

Stuart

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