Yoga - The mind and body practice for every body

Yoga is one of the primary tools in my personal resilience toolbox. Yoga helps me find a more peaceful and balanced state of mind and helps me to live in my body instead of my head. Many people recognize the physical benefits of yoga, like the improved flexibility, balance and strength.  But there is a growing body of research that suggests practicing yoga can have a wide range of physical and mental health benefits including:

Reduced stress and anxiety - a regular yoga practice has shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Improved Flexibility and Balance - Yoga poses help improve flexibility and balance by stretching and strengthening the muscles.

Reduces chronic pain: Several studies have found that practicing yoga can help reduce chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Yoga has also shown promising results in the relief of menopausal symptoms. 

Enhances heart health: Yoga can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and resting heart rate, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Improves sleep quality: Yoga can help promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep in people with insomnia. Yoga has also been shown to decrease fatigue in patients with cancer and cancer survivors.

Boosts immune system: Some studies suggest that practicing yoga can boost the immune system by reducing inflammation and increasing the production of immune cells.

Reduces depression symptoms: Yoga has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression, possibly by regulating stress hormones and increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA.

Improves cognitive function: Practicing yoga may improve cognitive function and memory, possibly by reducing stress and increasing blood flow to the brain.

Enhances overall well-being: Yoga can improve overall well-being by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving physical health.

Helps control blood sugar- A regular yoga practice can help control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes.

Lose Weight - While yoga is not typically considered a weight loss program, some studies suggest that regular yoga practice may be helpful in promoting weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. However, the evidence for the direct impact of yoga on weight loss is mixed. Yoga can be a form of physical exercise that burns calories and builds lean muscle mass, which may help with weight loss. Additionally, yoga can help reduce stress and improve sleep, which are factors that can contribute to overeating and weight gain.

Personally, a regular yoga practice helps me to keep my mind quiet and stay present in the here and now. Present-moment awareness improves my ability to respond out of a clear choice rather than out of habit or reaction. This brings greater peace to my life. The improved flexibility and balance help me feel stronger and more adaptable to the demands of my life. 

While yoga is not a religion, it helps me improve my self-awareness and connects me with my spirituality and provides an improved connection between my mind and body. This allows me to connect with my own intuitive abilities which facilitates better interpersonal connections and improved decision making. 

There are many styles of yoga and the postures are always adaptable to any body type and all physical abilities. It is a very inclusive practice that urges one to go within and connect with their own body. This practice cultivates a more peaceful and resilient nervous system. 

Regardless of your health challenges or goals, yoga is a full mind and body practice that can benefit both physical and mental health in a variety of ways. It is an inclusive and adaptable practice that can help you find better strength, flexibility and balance while improving your resilience to stress.  

Many people from all walks of life are realizing the benefits of this embodiment practice. If you are ready to try out the benefits of yoga, look for a beginners class in your local area. Be sure to find an instructor who is credentialled with yoga alliance, they will have the initials RYT (Registered yoga teacher) behind their name. Check out a few classes, styles and teachers until you find one that resonates with you. There is so much variety available, you are sure to find a class and teacher you will love. If you can't find a local class you love, there are plenty of available classes online for free or low cost.

Yoga is the ultimate personal practice, as it not only provides a host of physical and mental benefits, but it allows you to challenge yourself. There is no competition in yoga, only you and your body and yoga mat. Each day you show up on the mat will be different and each day will provide you with a new benefit or lesson about yourself you can carry forward into your day.

Tell us about your favorite yoga class.

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