10 Reasons to do Yoga

My blog covers topics ranging from family stories full of colorful characters to hikes, cooking and recipes, gardening, travel, everyday life experiences, and yoga insights and experiences.  One of my readers recently told me that reading my blog is better than reading People Magazine.  Whoa! I took that as a compliment! As you can imagine, my readers range in their interests and not all of them practice yoga.  Maybe after reading the following TEN convincing reasons to do yoga, you will be stretching, strengthening, breathing, and practicing mindfulness within the hour!

  • Reduce Stress and Improve Your Immune System:  Move away from external stress factors and distractions by going within and practicing focused rhythmic breathing.  Improve lung function by breathing more deeply.  Breathing deeply or elongating breath stimulates the “relax and renew” response. Opposite of the stress hormone producing “fight or flight” adrenaline response,  the “relax and renew” response lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.  The entire nervous system is balanced out as the yoga poses help to balance the physical body.  When your body is free of stress, blood pressure is lowered, digestion is improved, and the immune system boosted.  Yoga postures strengthen the lymphatic system and massage the glandular system of the body, sweeping toxins away.  Relieving stress eases symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.  Your immune system will become stronger and keep illness at bay.
  • Become More Flexible:  Yoga stretching helps improve flexibility, range of motion, and mobility.  Keep moving and your body will experience less aches and pains because stretching helps to release lactic acid from the muscle cells into the blood stream.  A supple body is less prone to injuries because the body can withstand physical stress.  Yoga stretches ALL your muscles – there are over 600 of them-, your joints, and all of your soft tissue, including the fascia sheath that surrounds muscles.  And remember that you don’t have to be flexible to practice yoga.  Rather, in most cases, you have to practice yoga to be flexible.
Flexible at Seattle Sculpture Park

Flexible at Seattle Sculpture Park

  • Increase Strength and Stamina:  A yoga practice uses every muscle in your body and many of the asanas require muscular toning which comes from supporting your own weight in poses such as plank, side plank, bridge, downward and upward facing dog.  Regular stretching allows your muscles to fire more rapidly.  Yoga helps to build a strong core, which means stronger stabilizing muscles.   These stabilizing muscles help with balance.  In addition to increased strength, yoga helps relieve muscular tension.  Increase your stamina by holding poses such as Warrior I, II, and III or Chair Pose.
Be Warrior Strong (Seattle's Belltown, Continental Place)

Be Warrior Strong (Seattle’s Belltown, Continental Place)

  • Weight Management:  Yoga reduces cortisol levels, allowing your body to relax and metabolize food at healthy rates.  Yoga encourages awareness of how we eat, and encourages us to make healthy food choices.  With an increased awareness of healthy food choices, we find ourselves eating less sugar and fewer simple carbohydrates, both of which cause inflammation and make for stiffer joints and more difficulty in movement.  Yoga provides a sense of well-being and heightened self-esteem.
I'm not skinny by any means, but I manage my weight through yoga.

I AM strong, flexible, pain free, happy, and healthy because of my yoga practice.

  • Improved circulation:  By moving into the various yoga poses, oxygenated blood will move to your cells and brain.  With improved circulation, comes detoxification as various organs are massaged and more blood flows to the internal organs.  By breathing more deeply while doing yoga, a greater supply of oxygen carries away waste accumulating in our cells.
  • Cardiovascular Conditioning:  Even the most gentle yoga practice conditions the heart by lowering the resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen intake during exercise.  Deep, mindful, rhythmic breathing helps to develop and increase function of the respiratory system, improving the health of your heart and lungs. And remember, what is good for the heart is good for the brain!  Coordination, reaction time, and memory are improved with yoga.  Yoga stimulates the brain through focus and control, which can be applied to any area of your life for overall enhanced performance.
Yoga on the Beach is all about BREATH!

Yoga on the Beach is all about BREATH!

  • Better Body Alignment:  Yoga will strengthen your postural and core muscles, giving you better posture and helping to relieve neck and backaches. When you stand tall, supported by your strong and elongated muscles, a shift occurs in your body language, which increases self-confidence and opens the heart!
  • Become aware of the Present Moment and Find Inner Peace: Yoga is a constant reminder of the gift each precious moment is!  Yoga teaches us how to use our breath to navigate our way through challenging poses and challenging life situations. We become centered and focus on the present. We become aware of the body-mind-spirit connection.
  • Create wonderful Community:  In your yoga classes, you will be surrounded by others, who like yourself, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and practice mindfulness.  I witness friendships forged daily in my yoga classes and I have experienced a great sense of connection with my fellow yogis in all my classes!
I have met some of the most incredible people through yoga!

I have met some of the most incredible people through yoga!

  • Yoga is Mediation in Motion and writing about the benefits of meditation will lead me to another blog post coming your way soon!

david-sipress-when-did-everybody-stop-jogging-new-yorker-cartoon

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