Discover what Yoga can do for your physical, mental and emotional health and get healthy!
If you watch someone practicing yoga, you will notice that they are not straining or breathing heavily and that their face is placid and calm. Perhaps you may even notice that they seem very focused and are not distracted by what is going on around them.
Yoga classes in the U.S. often focus strictly on the physical aspects of yoga (the asana postures), and there is no doubt that you can benefit from these stretches and postures. They will help to tone and stretch your muscles and keep your body flexible, and they bring live-giving blood and oxygen to every part of your body.
However, ancient yogic techniques also include breathing and meditation so that your mind and emotions become calm and stress relief happens on more than a physical level.
Yoga meditation and breathing techniques can relieve many of the physical symptoms of stress (palpitations, shortness of breath, insomnia, nervousness and more).
How Yoga accomplish this? Essentially, the total yoga workout (physical, breath and meditation) works on the central nervous system and through that conduit, it lowers blood pressure and evens breathing to take the strain off your body and mind.
Yoga is good for your body
Those who suffer from long-term stress are more at risk for heart attack and stroke, and are more likely to have migraine headaches and ulcers, as well.
If you practice yoga regularly you will find that your digestion and gastro-intestinal function will improve, that you will feel calmer, and you are less likely to get every bug or flu that comes along.
Your blood, and the oxygen it carries, can circulate to your organs and supply nourishment to muscles, tendons and brain cells. Your immune system will be stronger and you will sleep better. You will also heal better from injuries, cuts and bruises. Sounds like a lot to accomplish just by some deep breathing, stretching and meditation, doesn’t it? But, it is true!
Yoga requires you to enter and remain in an altered state of mind and focus. When you focus your attention on your breathing, you allow problems and other thoughts to pass through your mind and continue on their way, and you remain connected to your body in the here and now. You don’t become distracted by other thoughts or stressors. This takes some practice, but it is something that ANYONE can do!
Yoga is good for your mind
When you relax your breathing and take longer, deeper breaths, you feed your body and help your mind and emotions relax and focus as well. Instead of the short, shallow breath you take when you are under stress or worried, your breathing becomes even and slow and you breath into your abdomen instead of up in your chest.
If you learn and practice the ancient techniques of Yoga to incorporate the asana (physical postures), drishti (mental focus and meditation), and the pranayama (or breathing technique), you will gradually enter a state of balanced health.