Monday, October 15, 2012

Keep Calm and Practice Yoga

I regularly attend the morning vinyasa class at a yoga studio nearby. Earlier today, I have noticed that I struggle less with my chaturanga dandasanas when doing the sun salutations. Does this mean I have developed a bit of an arm strength already? Woohoo! I consider this a milestone. Hmmm....come to think of it, I have been practicing yoga straight for almost 4 months not counting the intermittent practices I did in the first quarter of this year.

I'd like to share some of the life-improving benefits of yoga:

1.) A Sunnier Outlook
There really is something to the "happy yogi." Doing one hour of asanas—a sequence of standing, sitting and balancing poses helped avid posers raise their levels of the brain chemical GABA (low levels are linked with depression) by 27 percent compared with a group who read quietly, a study from Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital reports.



























2.) Aches and Pains Erased
Put nagging lower-back pain behind you. Sufferers who did two 90-minute yoga classes a week for about six months eased soreness by 56 percent, a study in Spine shows. Those given treatments like pain meds and physical therapy lessened the hurt by only 16 percent. Posing improves posture and strengthens back muscles to keep aches at bay, researchers say.



3.) Improved Sleep
Insomniacs fell asleep 15 minutes faster and slept an hour longer each night after two months of doing a 45-minute series of yoga poses daily before bed. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital speculate that regular practice helped people relax, making it easier to switch off. No trouble hitting the hay? Doing three weekly sessions at any time of the day may still help you doze more deeply, according to study authors. Sounder nights, brighter days!
4.) Steamier Sex 

You can amp up your desire and ensure an O-mazing time between the sheets by practicing daily asanas, a study from The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests. The love connection: Yoga helps reduce anxiety, increase body awareness and even speed the release of hormones that rev arousal. All of that translates to a boost in libido, lubrication and ability to achieve orgasm, experts say. If you can't squeeze in a daily session, two hours a week may make a difference. Yoga—satisfying couples since 200 B.C.






























5.) Crazy High Confidence
Yoga could be your ticket to body love, research from the University of California in Berkeley finds. Women who practiced regularly rated their body satisfaction 20 percent higher than did those who took aerobics, even though both groups were at a healthy weight. The secret may be that yoga asks you to tune in to how your body feels and what it can do—not how it looks.































6.) Top to Toe Toning
Smart yogis know dumbbells aren't the only way to sculpt. "Yoga is strength training," says Loren Bassett, an instructor at Pure Yoga in New York City and creator of Bassett's Bootcamp, a vigorous, athletic-style yoga class. "You're using your body weight to move from posture to posture, and in certain poses, you're lifting every pound of it." For surefire firming, focus on muscle-building asanas, like Crow, Crescent, Warrior III and plank.
7.) Pain Relief
Yoga is able to relieve pain of the most extreme kind. This is achieved via yoga’s breathing and stretching techniques that help to regulate the flow of various fluids in the body. This includes blood and lymph that are primarily responsible for transporting essential nutrients and removing toxins. Once the circulatory system gets a boost, the body is able to manage pain in a better way. This means that the intensity of the pain is felt lesser and the inflammation is also reduced. Better circulation means that the body’s ability to self-heal gets a boost.
8.) Greater Flexibility and Strength
People suffering from various types of musculoskeletal problems of the joints, bones or muscles are recommended yoga. This is because yoga helps to strengthen our musculature and ligaments. With greater flexibility, we are able to move, grasp, push, pull and lift things with greater ease. This also ensures a better range of motion. This means that the tendons and muscles in the body are better stretched which helps to avoid injuries. Yoga is one of the most comprehensive exercises since it works all the muscles of the body. Some of the most famous sportspersons endorse yoga for achieving a better physique, including a supple, stronger body.


























9.) Increased Cardiovascular Conditioning
Cardiovascular problems have increasingly started affecting people who are barely in their mid-30s. Our sedentary lifestyles combined with bad eating habits ensure that our heart is more prone to developing fatal conditions like a stroke. Yoga is among the rare exercises that can drastically improve the overall cardio conditioning. By harmonizing the breathing pattern, yoga helps to regulate the heart-rate and raise our overall physical endurance. The heart becomes less vulnerable when pushed into demanding, physical and mental situations. More oxygenated blood and a greater range of motion help to keep the body free from toxins, including hormonal debris, that affect our endocrine health.
10.) Look Younger
Please note that the stricter principles of yoga emphasize upon eating a certain type of food. However, many people who have benefited from yoga opine that they don’t follow the dietary recommendations as such. Despite this, they have reaped many benefits by practicing yoga. One such, common benefit of yoga is weight management. Since yoga works the entire body and makes the circulation of fluids more robust, it helps to raise the overall metabolic rate. Thus, more calories are burned, per hour. By working out the lean muscle mass, yoga makes it possible to burn fat, lose weight and look younger. The sense of calmness and stimulation of various bodily organs helps to fight-off the aging-causing free radicals that attack our skin on a daily basis.
11.) Build Better Relationships
Since yoga helps to achieve a better physical and mental state of existence, everyday apprehensions are eradicated. People who are less worried and not bothered by frequent illnesses and naturally feel better. This helps to overcome issues like lack of self confidence or lack of compassion that are common, relationship hurdles. People who regularly practice yoga have a better ability to comprehend situations. This includes the usual issues that surface in human relationships. A more focused mind is undoubtedly able to address such problems in a more capable manner.






























12.) A Sense of Calm
Namaste the stress away! Women who had gone to the mat at least once a week for two years or more released 41 percent less of a tension-triggered cytokine (a type of protein) that can make you feel tired and moody compared with yoga newbies, a study in Psychosomatic Medicine notes.


Yoga has been sort of my refuge, my perfect antidote for the demands of life, my dose of OM. And so far, it has been this way since I started to hit the mat. 

Namaste!

{Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13}
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