The physical benefits of Yoga, from flexibility to pain relief
Yoga undoubtedly makes us feel good, which is, in itself, why so many people around the world choose to practice it. There are also a number of proven physical benefits however, which can be felt very quickly and will become more evident as your practice evolves.
Getting Flexible, Building Strength and Sculpting Muscles
It’s true that Yoga helps improve flexibility and mobility reducing aches and pains. But did you know that most series of Yoga asanas (physical postures) include one or more spinal twists to loosen the many joints that make up your spine? In addition to increasing suppleness, this can also aid digestion and promote detoxification – it can even improve your tennis or golf swing!
You may not be able to touch your toes at your first class but don’t worry, over time ligaments and muscles slowly lengthen and strengthen, increasing flexibility and improving body alignment which can help greatly in relieving back, neck and joint problems.
Studies demonstrate that practicing asanas (physical postures), meditation, or a combination of the two can reduce symptoms for people with medical conditions such as arthritis, asthma and back pain. Should you have any existing medical conditions however, do check with your GP and make sure your teacher is aware prior to starting a class.
Many of us live hectic lives where a work/life balance may sometimes seem impossible to achieve. Rushing to make sure everything is done and our loved ones are happy and contented means we spend so much time on the practicalities of our lives that we spend little time just breathing. Yoga teaches us to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps improve lung function, triggers the body’s relaxation response and increases the amount of oxygen available to the body.
Improved Circulation and Cardiovascular Conditioning
Yoga helps improve circulation through both breath and asanas (physical postures), moving oxygenated blood more efficiently to the body’s cells. Even gentle Yoga can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering the resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen take up during exercise.
Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By employing a number of relaxation techniques, practice helps lower the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate and improving digestion, as well as easing the symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia or depression. For more information on how stress affects your body take a look at our Reiki page.
Yoga and illness
Studies suggest that Yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength and balance. There is also evidence that Yoga practice is beneficial for people with heart disease, aches and pains, depression and stress. Popular with those suffering from arthritis Yoga is a gentle way of promoting flexibility and strength. However some Yoga postures are unsuitable for those living with this condition so do check with your doctor and advise you teacher before commencing any practice.
Our Yoga classes take place at our studio just outside Petworth, or alternatively, we may be able to come to wherever you are based in the West Sussex boundary. For further details or to book, please contact us.