On & Beyond the Mat – The Blessings of Yoga
Lets face face it, we all know Yoga is great for you and has countless benefits to your mind, body and spirit.
But beyond these amazing rewards we already know, there may be even more bonuses to Yoga than we thought! Here are some more facts you may not know about Yoga and how it can improve your health & wellness:
- Makes You Relax: Yoga encourages you to relax, slow the breath and focus on the present which shifts the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system helps you to calm, lowering your heart rate, decrease blood pressure and increase blood flow to the organs.
- Regulates the Adrenal Glands: Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn’t mean much to you, think about this. The adrenal glands normally secrete cortisol in response to a crisis which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high after the crisis, this can compromise the immune system. Chronically high levels of cortisol erode memory and can lead to permanent changes in the brain. Excessive cortisol has also been linked with depression, osteoporosis and increases the “food seeking behavior” which causes weight gain in the abdomen section.
- Lowers Blood Sugar: Yoga helps to lower your blood pressure. This can be beneficial in many ways such as lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels which encourages weight loss and improves sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Lowering blood sugar levels can decrease your risk of diabetic complications such as heart attack, kidney failure and vision loss. It also lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while increasing your HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
- Boosts Immunity & Drains your Lymphs: When you come in & out of postures and stretch & contract muscles, you move organs around which increases the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products.
- Improves Focus: A big component of Yoga is being in the present. Studies have found that if you practice Yoga regularly it will help improve coordination, reaction time, memory and IQ scores. Meditation has also been found to increase problem solving abilities and help with recalling information better.
- Increased Body Awareness and Control: Meditation appears to have a useful effect on the immune system functions like being able to identify when to boost or lower when the body needs. Yogis have also shown to be able to control heart rhythms, generate specific brain-wave patterns and raise the temperature of their hands.
- Decreases Stress: We all know Yoga decreases stress but it has been linked to a decrease in depression, improves body image and overall happiness. This is because those who practice Yoga show a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters). This decrease in stress has been linked to help with IBS and other digestive problems as well. Yoga also encourages self discovery and betterment which has shown to improve self esteem when regularly practiced. In the self examination process we also find we examine our bodies and the nutrients we feed it influencing a healthy diet.
If you’re interested trying a Yoga class, please call or book at our front desk to reserve your spot!