Burning calories, flexibility and strength
Yoga is great for our physical lives because when our body feels good we feel good. A regular practice gets your body moving and stretching, your blood and lymph flowing and Yoga also burns calories. Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga.
When you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility (whereas if you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility). Regular yoga practise increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is spatially). People with bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns usually have poor proprioception. Still not convinced?
Well Yoga is about more than having a flexible and toned body since it has other incredible health benefits. Because Yoga builds muscle strength it can protect you from conditions like arthritis and back pain. Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through a full range of motion which can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used.
Yoga deals with symptoms of physical tension. For instance unconscious clenching habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face. the postures teach you how to feel dynamic and soft at the same time. Yoga not only helps release physical tension it also encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, and shift the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Yoga deals with tension and also the underlying causes of stress. Studies have shown Yoga can be helpful with high blood pressure and hypertension and lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is secreted in the body in response to an acute crisis. Prolonged high levels of cortisol can compromise the immune system and lead to “food-seeking behaviour” which is when you feel compelled to eat when you’re upset, angry, or stressed.
Yoga for happiness
Since stress is implicated in so many health problems—from migraines and insomnia to lupus, MS, eczema, high blood pressure, and heart attacks—it is worth neutralising. After all if you stress less, you suffer less. Studies have shown that a consistent yoga practice can lead to a significant increase in serotonin levels which enhances overall emotional health (since serotonin is one known cause of depression).
A natural way to stay healthy
If you still need convincing of the benefits of Yoga, studies of people with asthma, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes and obsessive-compulsive disorder have shown that yoga helped them lower their dosage of medications and sometimes get off them entirely.
So why not check out one of our Clapham Yoga/Pilates Studios!