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Yoga Your Way to Improved Health and Wellness
We all know at least one person in our circle of friends who swears by yoga. They’re always on about their fabulous instructor and have yet to find a solution to your physical and mental problems that doesn’t involve rolling out a yoga mat.
Or you’ve decided it’s time for you to get in on the action - in which case our goal is to give you more reasons to believe you’re on the right track to achieving ultimate health and wellbeing.
3 Ways Yoga Directly Improves Your Health
Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the system devoted to rest and digestion. This allows your mind and body to achieve calm and come to a restful state much easier. Your muscles will relax, your blood will flow, leaving you feeling renewed, refreshed, and at your best. Below are just some of the variety of health benefits you can reap from practicing yoga on the regular.
IMPROVED SLEEP QUALITY
One study conducted on the effects of yoga regarding chronic insomnia required the subjects to keep a sleep diary for two weeks before the incorporation of yoga into their daily lives. They were to follow up with an 8-week sleep diary during which time they were actively practicing yoga once per day.
Compared with the 2-week pretreatment, the patients experienced improvement in the following categories while consistently practicing yoga:
- Quality of sleep
- Total time asleep
- Amount of time to fall asleep
- How long they stayed asleep
- Number of times waking in the night
Another supporting study conducted on a group of people 65 years and up had similar outcomes. The study reported higher quality of overall sleep, fell asleep more quickly, and fewer interruptions in their sleep cycle for those who practiced yoga regularly.
Here are some of our suggested yoga poses to help you drift off into the best sleep of your life:
- Child’s Pose - to coax your facial muscles into relaxation.
- Supported Bridge - to focus on breath control and calm your mind and center your energy.
- Supine Twist - to decompress and elongate your spine to calm the nervous system.
IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
The overall perception of yoga is that it is a meditative, relaxing activity and that you leave every session in a very centered state of mind. The gentle, calming nature of practicing makes it a generally soothing activity. This speaks volumes about what yoga can do for your mental health.
It is commonly known that depression means lower serotonin levels.
Yoga being a physical activity, boosts serotonin levels and relieves symptoms of depression.
Anxiety is another issue that can plague your desire to find peace of mind and spirit. Following a three-month yoga program, a group of women in a recent study showed the following improvements in their anxiety induced symptoms.
- reduce resting heart rate
- lower blood pressure
- easier breathing
Even more encouraging of the effects yoga can have of mental health is a study regarding its effects on PTSD. This involved a group of sixty-four women who were resistant to other forms of treatment for their PTSD symptoms. The women were split into two groups, one would receive trauma-informed yoga instruction for ten weeks, while the other would receive a women’s health education class. Results showed that while both groups showed significant improvement in their PTSD symptoms, the yoga group was able to maintain their improvements while the other group relapsed after improvement.
How can you argue with results this good? The meditative element included with consistent yoga practices will help cleanse your spirit and free your mind from many of the burdens that weigh you down. Hopefully you too can find a new level of peace and calm with practicing daily.
Because of the relationship that scientists and doctors call the gut-brain axis, we know that stress can cause physiological reactions in your gut including stomachaches, diarrhea, and constipation. We also know that yoga helps relieve stress through meditation and serotonin boosts.
The wonderful thing is, it can also help alleviate the gastrointestinal symptoms caused by stress as well.
Case in point, a study on the improvement of Irritable Bowel Disease symptoms through practicing yoga. This study supports the common belief that certain yoga positions can promote circulation and movement in the GI tract.
As a whole, yoga increases circulation to the digestive organs as well as decreases stress, both of which play a big role in digestive health — see 5 Yoga Poses for Digestion.
Flow with Luis Briceno
If by now you’re seriously considering taking up yoga as part of your health routine, we have the perfect match for you. Luis is OWL's very own resident yoga instructor. He is a 200 hour certified instructor and has been practicing since 2008.
The difference Luis's instruction brings to you as a student is his attention to detail and ability to listen to the body. He brings his own life experiences, practice, and study to his teaching methods. Luis welcomes all levels, including students with specific needs. He offers individual sessions to establish and build up your yoga practice, or to take your skills to the next level.BOOK NOW
BENEFITS OF ONE-ON-ONE YOGA
Like most forms of exercise, yoga can be challenging for beginners. But with one-on-one sessions with Luis, you’ll receive specific and informed instruction for any level of yoga knowledge and skill. He will walk you through the basics and make absolutely sure that you are comfortable before adding on more advanced skills.
Another benefit to having a private yoga session is that you’ll be working with someone who knows you and your goals. This means individualized instruction tailored to you and your body’s needs. It suffices to say that this kind of specific attention is the best way to target the exact pathways to great health that you wish to follow. Book a session and practice anywhere with our virtual class option!
Love Your Body
Take care of your body. There is no greater investment in this world than the investment you make in yourself. There is no time like the present to make your move. Your body is at its strongest when it is calm, centered, and cared for.
Julie is a self-made writer on a forever journey of fitness and health. As a high school music teacher, she has seen and experienced the challenges of maintaining good health while simultaneously balancing a career and healthy relationships.
Julie has always lived a healthy and active lifestyle. She loves the outdoors, hiking, and camping. Over the years she has continued to learn smarter and better ways to take care of her body while continuing to do the things that make her smile. Naturally, all of her teacher friends wanted to know how she did it - what was her secret?
Julie found herself explaining over and over everything she'd learned in her research, and sharing her experiences through trial and error. Her friends would take her advice, try some new things, and then come back to ask how to take it to the next level.
"You should charge for this kind of information!" Became a constant phrase, and so began her career of writing to share her knowledge with the world through health and wellness companies looking to spread healing and healthy habits within their communities. Now Julie gets to combine two of the things she enjoys most - writing and wellness - and use them to affect change in a real way.
When not making music with her kiddos, or writing wellness tips for a higher quality of life, you can find her reading, hiking, drumming, and fitnessing