What is Yoga?
Yoga is an non-aerobic exercise practice that increases flexibility, strengthens muscles, centers thoughts, focuses your attention and relaxes the body. It an ancient discipline dated back over 5,000 years. There are many different styles of yoga which each have a focus in different areas. One should find a style of yoga that aligns most with their belief set.
How does Yoga work?
Yoga is a combination of postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and focused concentration to align the body, mind, and soul. Asanas help condition your body by adding pressure to the glandular systems of the body and thus increasing the efficiency of the body. Pranayama is used to merge the mind, body and spirit. Breathing is the source of life and if you breath while doing the asanas, your body will associate those positions and alignments with daily being. Focused attention is used to keep the mind and body aware of each other.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
The benefits of yoga include an increase in physical fitness, strength and flexibility. This is what yoga is known for. However, yoga can also help decrease tension, fatigue and anger, increase quality of life, well-being, energy and balance, improvements in chronic illnesses like diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, hypertension, planar fasciitis, arthritis, and many more. People leaving yoga classes often say that they feel much more relaxed. Thus, yoga is a good exercise for stress relief and even just general well-being. Yoga is a great way to enhance quality of life.
What does the research say?
Present research suggest that a combination of certain yoga poses reduces low-back pain and improves function. Other studies show that practicing yoga, along with regular exercise and proper diet and habits, can improve quality of life, reduce stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia, along with the given improvement of physical fitness, strength and flexibility. More research is being conducted on how yoga affects HIV, immune function, multiple sclerosis, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and menopausal symptoms.