Mark your calendar because the International Day of Yoga will be celebrated this year on Thursday, June 21st. This annual occasion recognizes yoga’s universal appeal, as well as the many benefits practicing yoga provides.
A brief background: Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.
In honor of this month’s yoga celebration, let’s discuss some ways in which practicing yoga can transform your life and brighten your mood – mind, body and spirit!
The Value of Pause: We live in a busy, fast-paced society with never-ending to-do lists. Yoga is an opportunity to pause the mind and body and pay close attention to what’s happening with each pose and/or breath. Learning to focus the mind on one thing at a time may seem like the most difficult thing in the world at first, but with practice it becomes easier.
Stress Relief: Various studies of a wide range of yoga practices suggest that yoga can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. By encouraging relaxation, yoga will help lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body.
Pain Relief: Research shows that practicing yoga postures, meditation or a combination of the two, will reduce pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases. This is also true for those suffering from arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions. Emotional pain can sometimes be eased through the practice of yoga as well.
Breathe More Effectively: Anxiety and tension can cause us to breathe in a rapid, shallow way, which can lead to more anxiety. When training in Yoga you are taught to take much slower, deeper breaths than you usually would to help improve lung function, trigger the body’s relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to you.
Increase Flexibility:The practice of yoga can make your body more flexible, giving your muscles and your joints a greater range of motion. Most people enter their first yoga class as stiff as a board, but gradually this changes as they start to use the correct muscles. Over time, ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making stretching more possible. In addition to flexibility, greater strengthen can be achieved over time too.
Weight Management: All levels of yoga can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels whilst kicking calories and stress out of the body. Similar to going to the gym or working out, practicing yoga regularly makes us feel good. As a result, this encourages us to eat healthier and provides a heightened sense of well-being and self-esteem.
Health Benefits: Benefits of yoga include lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, improving the process of digestion and boosting the immune system. In addition, yoga is also known for easing symptoms of conditions such as fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
Awareness: Yoga helps you attend to all aspects of your being – body, mind, breath, emotions and the inner self. Believe it or not, it is said that due to this awareness yoga will help your concentration, coordination, memory and reaction time.
Inner peace: All in all, yoga unites body, mind, spirit and the universe. It brings that much needed and longed for peace and ecstasy in every individual. The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more spiritual place in their lives. We could all use some inner peace and yoga is a great place to find it!
Sand Hills Community Wellness Center offers a variety of yoga classes perfect for everyone! Whether you’re a yogi pro or just starting out, we encourage you to browse through our website to see all of the classes we offer. In addition to providing yoga in multiple levels, we have some unique offerings such as chair yoga, gentle yoga and classical yoga. Be sure to check it out and come take a class with us to reap the many benefits it provides as well as celebrate International Day of Yoga! Learn more at: http://sandhillswellness.wixsite.com/sandhillswellness/yoga-judo.