Yoga is an ancient discipline. It means union or connection. It includes breath control, meditation, and learning specific postures. There is no certain definition for yoga however; Shelia Levenhagen, a HomeFit yoga instructor, simply describes it as freeing.
Sheila said, “I love the practice of yoga because it gets me out of my head.” She said that by connecting breath, movement, and shifting into a pose as you refine that pose allows stress and tension to melt away.
Many people don’t realize the benefits yoga has for your body, so I decided to dig deep on why this is true. In an article called, The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise, by Alyson Ross and Sue Thomas they researched 81 studies comparing the effects of yoga on the body. In the study they said yoga is depicted as “a tree and comprises eight aspects, or ‘‘limbs:’’ yama (universal ethics), niyama (individual ethics), asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (control of the senses), dharana (concentration), dyana (meditation), and samadhi (bliss).
Without getting into some of the tedious details, the studied concluded with in both healthy and diseased populations, yoga may be as effective or better than exercise at improving a variety of health-related issues including: regulating blood glucose, lowering stress, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, and increases levels of immunoglobulin (strengthening your immune system.)
Stefanov O’Callaghan is another great yoga instructor at HomeFit. Her take on yoga is that the meditation you gain from regular yoga causes the brain’s fight or flight center, the amygdala, to shrink. This is the part of the brain that controls stress. She explained it like this, “In our previous nomad existence the fight or flight center was an essential tool, made for a quick response when danger came. In our modern world it is often initiated by modern stressors such as work or finances, and we find ourselves in a constant state of stress because these problems don’t resolve quickly like a problem would several hundred years ago.”
As we end February, continue to love yourself and try out a yoga class. Make it a time for you and relieve any stress you have. The benefits will naturally come as you care for your body.