- Improved flexibility and suppleness:
In our adult life our range of movement becomes limited – we just don’t move the way we did when we were kids. By limiting our range of movement we can become stiff and inflexible. Yoga postures (called “asanas”) take the body systematically through a broad range of movement to improve flexibility and suppleness including forward bending, back bending, side bending, twisting, balance and inversion.
- Increased strength:
Many of the poses in the yoga system are held for several long slow breaths to increase strength and endurance. Some poses are sustained, whereas others are repeated by moving in and out of the position several times. This is proven to strengthen muscles and bones.
- Better posture:
Many yoga poses work on spinal alignment. Yoga also helps develop self-awareness so we notice more quickly when we’re slouching or slumping and can adjust our posture.
- Breathing benefits:
Yoga teaches us to understand the process of breathing. By learning about the different phases of the breath – from the abdominal breath, to the diaphragmatic breath and the chest breath – we learn to use all parts of our lungs until this becomes habitual. Yoga also teaches us specific methods of breathing for therapeutic purposes from stress release to improved lung function.
- Less Stress – more calm:
The latest research on yoga from a neuroscience perspective has shown that the practices of yoga – postures, breathing, relaxation and meditation – all contribute to the release of stress. This is measured by a decrease in the stress related chemicals (adrenal based hormones) in our bloodstream, and an increase in the ‘feel good’ chemicals such as serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. Science is finally proving what the Yogi’s perceived 5000 years ago!
- Good for your heart:
Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with high blood pressure or heart disease. Yoga has also been linked to lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides and improved immune function.
Yoga has a huge repertoire of practices so there is something for everybody in the yoga ‘toolbox’. Shop around to find the right teacher and the right level to suit your capabilities.