What is yoga?
Yoga and meditation typically go hand-in-hand and have been around for thousands ofyears. They have been used as an alternative form of exercise to keep the mind and body healthy and happy. Practicing yoga improves balance, endurance, flexibility, and strength, while meditation helps keep the mind sharp, relieves stress and anxiety, and can strengthen your immune system.
Following a few simple poses, breathing techniques, and positive coping skills can help retirees manage stress, improve mental clarity, manage chronic conditions, and promote a healthier lifestyle. With so many health benefits linked to these traditional practices, many Baby Boomers are taking notice and incorporating these techniques into their lifestyle
The practice of yoga is about creating balance in the body by developing both strength and flexibility. This is accomplished by performing a series of postures or “poses” which are designed for specific benefits to each part of your body. There are many different styles of yoga being practiced today. While almost all of these styles is based on a series of postures, each style has a particular emphasis. Consult with a certified teacher to determine the best style of yoga for your physical fitness and overall health goals.
Always Remember – Safety First!
When engaging in any form of physical activity, it’s important to put your safety first. Be sure to wear the proper attire and get warmed up before you start. Remember that yoga isn’t supposed to hurt. If you feel pain, stop.
Benefits of Yoga
Many people view yoga as just a fancy form of stretching. But the benefits of yoga go well beyond that. Along with being a great stress reliever, yoga can improve your flexibility, strength, posture and breathing and lung capacity.
These benefits apply to both men and women:
Yoga improves flexibility: Yoga poses work by safety stretching your muscles and all other soft tissues in your body. No matter what your yoga-level is, you will likely feel the benefits within a short period of time.
Yoga improves strength: Some styles of yoga are more vigorous than others. But no matter what type of yoga you’re doing, you will improve your core strength. This type of functional is very useful for every day life and beneficial as you age.
Yoga improves posture: Increased flexibility and strength helps you improve your posture. With better core strength and the body awareness you create by practicing yoga, you are more likely to recognize when you are slouching or have bad posture and correct it.
Yoga improves breathing and lung capacity: Most forms of yoga emphasize long and deep breathing. This can help expand your lung capacity and improve endurance.
Treats Back Pain
Believe it or not, doing a few yoga poses throughout the week can help with chronic back pain. Studies have shown that stretching exercises and poses have improved spinal flexibility and helped ease lower back pain problems in people after justone week of yoga.
Helps with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Iyengar yoga, which is a type of yoga that uses blocks, belts, and other positioning props, has been shown to help people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Hot yoga, like Bikram and gentle yoga, has also been shown to help because of its slow, easy-paced poses and movements that benefit the joints, bones, and muscles.
While you may not want to move or get out of bed when nursing a hangover, experts say that doing yoga can detox your system and get you feeling fresh much faster. Certain yoga poses like “plow”, “bow”, or “shoulder stand” work on the thyroid gland, whichimproves the metabolism to kick those toxins out of your system. By reversing the blood flow and bringing more circulation to the brain, your body will create balance and spring back to life. Not only are you getting rid of your hangover faster, but also blasting fat and cellulite.
Improves Heart Health
When it comes to heart health, Baby Boomers need to be waryand maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. Thanks to yoga and meditation, keeping your heart healthy is easy. Studies have shown that yoga is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease because of its cardiovascular benefits that eliminatearterial plaque. Meditation also helps lower heart rate and improve blood circulation. Meditating one time a day for ten minutes can help you relax, reduce stress hormones, lower your blood pressure, and allow forbetter blood flow.
If you suffer from asthma then you might want to take up yoga. Research has shown that adults with mild to moderate asthma who did an eight-week session of yoga combined with their regular meds saw a marked improvement. Pranayama is a type of yoga that focuses on breathing techniques that have shown to be especially effective againstasthma.
If you have trouble with your daily fiber intake and can’t get things moving easily then practicing yoga can be a tremendous help. There are many yoga poses, twists, and moves that massage internal organs that help food move along in your digestive system. Yoga also stimulates the lymphatic system that helps flush out toxins, making your body cleaner. Meditation can also help with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) by reducing the frequency of stress-related flare-ups.
In order to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle you need to get enough rest so you can function the next day. If you have trouble sleeping or suffer from insomnia, yoga can greatlyimprove your sleep quality. Doing yoga twiceaweek helped people sleep better, reduce stress, and lower anxiety. Meditation and breathing techniques also help clear your mind so you can relax and slow down your thoughts, allowing you the peace of mind to get a good night’s sleep.
Yoga and meditation have been linked with emotional health boosts.Studies have shown that yoga and meditation help improve cognitive-behavioral performance as well as aid with mood swings, menopause, schizophrenia, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Practicing yoga in a group setting also stimulates the production of oxytocin, which is the love hormone, and it also produces higher serotonin levels, which is the happy hormone. Combined, these hormones dramatically improve someone’s mood.
No one likes to endure the pain of a migraine. That’s why it’s beneficial to practice yoga to fight them off. One of the recommended moves that alleviate migraines is the “bridge pose.” You lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart on the floor. With your hands on the floor, press down into your legs and draw your hips up. The trick is to relax the tension in your muscles from your neck and shoulders, which can be misaligned or stressed from hunching over a computer or phone all day long.
A healthy dose of yoga and meditation will keep your brain sharp and clear. Simple yoga practices and breathing techniques allow you to free your mind from “clutter” that trickles down to your physical well-being. Slow breathing and yoga poses will help your memory and keep your thoughts more organized once you get rid of stress, anxiety, and negative thinking. Reaching a place of quiet peacefulness is the key to healthy memory function.