People often tell me they’d “love to try Yoga”. Then they list the reasons why they can’t; or shouldn’t. Maybe they think they’re too busy, too old, too stiff. Others aren’t convinced that Yoga is a ‘proper’ workout. Maybe they just aren’t sure what Yoga can do, what many benefits Yoga brings. Join my class and prepare to be amazed by what Yoga can do for YOU.
Is Yoga for You?
Is Yoga for you? Well that depends. Do you want to feel stronger? Do you want to be more supple? Do you want to try a low-impact, highly effective exercise with countless benefits for body AND mind? Do you want to just feel BETTER?
Yoga is for anybody – and indeed any body. For everybody and every body. Yoga is indeed for YOU. Discover just what Yoga can do for you: yoga is for anyone and yoga is for everyone – regardless of gender or identity; age notwithstanding; fitness levels from nought to athlete. With yoga, everything can be done at a pace YOU are happy and comfortable with.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient method of exercise which focuses on building strength, improving flexibility and enhancing the breathing. The aim is to boost physical and mental wellbeing, and Yoga has been tried and tested over many years. Around five thousand years, in fact. The main aspects of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing.
What are the Benefits of Yoga?
Countless scientific trials on yoga have been undertaken and published. All these studies illustrate that yoga is both safe and effective – simply, a great way to exercise and stay active, and to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. We know – and, as we’ve said, the NHS agrees – that regular yoga practice could be helpful for many people.
1. Yoga can promote heart health: Yoga is already known to benefit patients with hypertension and heart disease. Some emerging studies show that that Yoga may help to improve heart health, according to the British Heart Foundation: “The beneficial effects could be due to the combined effects of practising yoga postures (which work the muscles), breathing (which can bring more oxygen into the body and reduce blood pressure), and relaxation and meditation (which calm the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress).” Another study, from the Journal of Physiology, indicated that regular Yoga could “improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and decrease the stiffness of arteries”.
2. Yoga can help avoid and alleviate aches and pains: The NHS states that studies have shown that Yoga is helpful for aches and pains – even the all-too-common back ache. The stretching and strengthening will help flexibility and ease stiffness, while improving posture could prevent many back problems.
3. Yoga is good for mental health: Mental health charity, Mind, estimate that 25% of us will experience mental health problems. Yoga doesn’t cure depression, stress, anxiety and other mental health issues, it can help to release stress and relieve anxiety, plus Yoga and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. Your Yoga classes can also provide the time aside for you, to relax your mind and focus on breathing. Yoga breathing techniques can help release tension.
4. Yoga can help you sleep: many of us struggle to get a good night’s sleep, and experts at the Harvard Medical School discovered that “sustained yoga practice improves both duration and quality of sleep.” The techniques learnt in class can be used before bed, too. This may release tension, calm a racing heart and mind, and help regulate breathing.
5. Yoga can help women in the menopause: Menopause can be debilitating and depressing, even painful. Menopause Yoga can help. Menopause Yoga brings a therapeutic approach to managing menopause. Some postures can help hormonal levels, others reduce stress and anxiety or aid sleep. Different styles of Yoga can help women cope and deal with the different seasons of life. Menopause Yoga can help women feel more energised, able to cope – and simply get their lives back.
6. Yoga is Safe: Yoga-related injuries are rare, to say the least, but as with any exercise discipline it is vital to learn from a qualified, accredited, insured and experienced teacher who allows you to work at your own level. Any occasional injuries which do occur tend to be repetitive strains or caused by over-stretching.
7. Yoga could help avoid falls: Yoga helps to improve balance and flexibility as well as strengthening the lower body and lower leg joints.
8. Yoga may help ease Arthritis: Many arthritis sufferers practise Yoga to keep active. Yoga can be a low-impact form of exercise which can really help them improve their strength and flexibility. Again, due care should be taken as certain postures may be contra-indicated for some sufferers – so an experienced teacher is a must. It’s also advisable to consult with a doctor before embarking on ANY new exercise programme.
9. Yoga is ageless: You are NEVER too old to take up Yoga. Many people start in their seventies but it’s also suitable from childhood.
10. Yoga is for any level of fitness: A good yoga teacher will allow you to work at your own pace. Ensure you choose a class suitable for your fitness level – some teachers even offer chair-based yoga. My classes are for anyone and your strength, fitness and flexibility should quickly start to improve. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s an easy option either. My classes can deliver a sweat, not just a stretch!
There are SO many more benefits of Yoga – some have been thoroughly researched, others are more anecdotal; but Yoga unarguably benefits people. Some of the well-researched benefits could warrant a blog of their own, while the possible potential benefits include:
- lowering blood sugar and cholesterol
- boosting the immune system
- improving concentration
- helping metabolism and the digestive system
- enhancing self-esteem
- even helping with allergies.
More research is needed but I have no doubt that more and more benefits will be proven and publicised. Until then, if Yoga is working for you – and it works for me – keep doing it! Are you not already doing it? Trust me, it’s never too late to start – but why wait? Begin reaping these benefits, and many more, right away – as the saying goes, a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.
Don’t just take my word for it, even the NHS agrees: “regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.” Even if that were all Yoga could help with, everyone should do it. Time to feel better…