Yoga is an activity that is appropriate for all ages. This article discusses a few benefits of yoga, makes some recommendations for how you might practice and offers tips to get the most out of your time.
There are numerous benefits of yoga. Here are just a few.....
In the root of your jaw, a tight aching sensation throbs subtly … or not so subtly. Tender to the touch, the sensation moves into your temples or perhaps your ear or into your face. You may or may not feel a clicking or locking in the joint of the jaw. Does any of this sound familiar for you? You may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMJD). Good news: This is generally temporary and can be self-
Our incredible human minds can see without eyes. We have the power of vision whether our lids are open or shut, measured at 20/20 or legally blind. With yoga practice, we can create a vivid vision nonexistent outside our minds but quite tangible to the mind that has created it. A mountain vista, passing clouds and geometric patterns sketched on the surface of our neural pathways can be part of a practice involving pratyahara. Pratyahara is one of the eight limbs that comprise a yogic approach to living.
Yoga has gained a lot of traction in the Western world in recent years. Though it is an ancient practice, it is new to our culture and there are many misconceptions about it. If you ask five different self-
While it may be uncomfortable to confront the topic of pelvic floor health, it is an important subject of concern for women in particular. The pelvic floor is comprised of layers of musculature at the base of your pelvis that serve many functions, including organ support, bladder and bowel control, childbirth, sexual pleasure and intra-
The holiday season inevitably brings joy, stress, and many things in between. This article offers suggestions for using yogic practices to enhance your season and everyday life in just a few moments. Four of the eight limbs of yoga are asana (body exercises), pranayama (breathing exercises), pratyahara (restraint of senses), and dharana (direction of mind). For a rough translation, we will refer to the last two as mindfulness in this article.
Do you want to live a long, healthy life, reduce your risk for disease, keep your mind sharp and prevent injury? Great! The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion wants this too. They created the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, providing recommendations for these five areas: aerobic activity, muscular strength, bone strength, balance and flexibility. These guidelines are online, so be sure to check them out if you are in pursuit of a long and healthy life.
While yogis have understood the immense benefits of yoga since its inception, the evidence is in and continues to be reinforced study after study: Yoga is good for you. Health benefits for lower back pain, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and more are now clear. If you are seeking to quench your curiosity about the research-
Pain is not exclusively rooted in our physical bodies. Perception of pain and the ability to cope with that experience is rooted in the mind as well. Just as when we are sick we may feel moody or how stress often leads to sickness, the mind and the body are not separate entities. Whether pain is chronic or acute, long term or short term, an appropriate yoga practice may provide relief. Much of the research surfacing in recent years hones in on yoga for relief of chronic pain.
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Perhaps the best way to learn about yoga is to attend a class taught by a qualified instructor. Consider talking with the instructor or someone familiar with the class beforehand to see if it matches well with your goals. If you are seeking to build strength, look for classes that will challenge you. During class, notice what is easy and what pushes you to go further. Give yourself permission to make any adjustments for pain or discomfort without letting yourself off the hook when your muscles begin to tire; the challenging parts are often the most valuable. After class, jot down those things that were both easy and challenging. Then, to satisfy the guidelines for your best health, schedule a time two to four days later to try those poses again or take another class. Explore lots of classes to see what is right for you. If you become comfortable enough to practice on your own, consider trying out the poses in the intermediate section. Enjoy the many benefits of yoga not detailed in the guidelines as well.
Advanced yogis and beginners alike attend classes, so don’t hesitate to join them. If you feel comfortable practicing on your own, you may follow the sequence below or choose some of the poses. Be sure to exercise all the major
muscle areas. While each of the selected poses engages most if not all of these groups to some extent, the emphasized muscle groups are noted in parentheses.
Be kind to your joints. If you feel any pain, move out of that position. It does not serve your joints to overstress them.
With yoga practice, you strengthen large muscle groups and important smaller muscles as well. For example, there are many small muscles that help move and protect your spine.
You can use yoga to prepare for other exercises such as weight training and running by, at the least, increasing your awareness of your body, aligning your spine and warming up your muscles and joints.
If your muscles are tired and tight, try a gentle or restorative yoga class. This will help you bounce back for next time.
If you are seeking to lose weight, remember physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Find activities that you enjoy.
Sources and Resources
Lauren Weaver is a Yogi, Yoga Instructor, and Assistant Instructor with the Yoga Teacher Training Program at Lexington Healing Arts Academy. She can be reached via email at Lauren.mw32@ gmail.com.
Do you want to live a long, healthy life, reduce your risk for disease, keep your mind sharp and prevent injury? Great!
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion wants this too. They created the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, providing recommendations for these five areas: aerobic activity, muscular strength, bone strength, balance and flexibility. These guidelines are online, so be sure to check them out if you are in pursuit of a long and healthy life.
The guidelines say physical yoga practice (asana) is particularly beneficial for three of the five categories: muscular strength, balance and flexibility. Here are some suggestions for integrating yoga into your exercise routine.
Practice For Muscular Strength
Yoga inherently improves balance, flexibility and strength. Regarding muscle strengthening, the guidelines specifically recommend doing activities that work the major muscle groups of the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms at least twice a week.
If you are new to yoga, check out the beginner section that follows. If you have been practicing yoga for some time, check out the intermediate section.