Transform Your Health With Yoga

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One of the great things about the wellness industry at this point and time in our society is the variety and the availability of holistic tools and techniques available for those who are seeking transformation.  That transformation may be internal, external, or both depending on where that person is on their life’s journey.  As our season shifts, many of us will begin to explore ways to transform ourselves in hopes that the change will have a positive impact on our well-being in some form or fashion.

Quickly becoming a preferred method for mind-body wellness is the practice of yoga.  According to a 2016 Yoga in America Study, the top five reasons for starting yoga are:

  1. Flexibility (61 percent),

  2. Stress relief (56 percent),

  3. General fitness (49 percent),

  4. Improved overall health (49 percent), and

  5. Physical fitness (44 percent)

The study also confirms the growing interest in yoga, with 34 percent of Americans saying they are somewhat or very likely to practice yoga in the next 12 months – equal to more than 80 million Americans.  If you are a part of the 34 percent and stress is impacting your health, now is a great time to explore the transformational benefits of yoga.  Did you know in 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National Yoga month!  The fact that yoga is being observed on the national level speaks volumes to the significance of yoga and it’s ability to transform lives for the better. No longer is yoga being considered as just a fancy strength for flexible or bendy bodies.  Yoga is a health system backed by scientific research and studies that support the long held benefits of this ancient practice.

No longer is yoga being considered as just a fancy strength for flexible or bendy bodies. Yoga is a health system backed by scientific research and studies that support the long held benefits of this ancient practice.

To understand how yoga transforms, consider the yoga elements listed below.

  • Yogic breathing has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. This type of breathing may shift the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. This shift from fight-or-flight to a rest and digest response aids in more effective digestion, may decrease the heart rate, blood pressure, and increase blood flow which aids in healing. Breath work is the foundation of yoga therefore, if you can breathe you can practice yoga.

 

  • Meditation aids in concentration and focus. Meditation is a practice, so if you’re just starting out don’t beat yourself up if you can’t sit still for five minutes. Consider meditating for 1-3 minutes at first and progress slowly to longer times as you feel led. Meditation also affects the brain. According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison meditation reduces grey-matter density in areas of the brain related to anxiety and stress.

 

  • Yoga postures, a low-impact modality that increases blood flow everywhere in the body. You feel better and you brain is performing with more efficiency due to the greater energy and oxygen. Studies have also found that yoga improves coordination, reaction time, and memory.

Next year, consider observing National Yoga Month. Considering that more than 50% of people practice yoga for stress relief give this simple low-cost, start where you are system that you can use to transform the health of your mind, body, and spirit for the better.

Written by Sherrell and originally published in AFIYA magazine