Yoga, What’s All The Fuss About?
So, what is all the fuss about? Read on and you be the judge. There has been a boom in interest over the past 6 years. No doubt, in part, driven by the sheer number of insta yogis posting power moves (handstands). But, to be honest what doesn't quite sit right with me as showing power moves might get people thinking yoga is unattainable for them. I’ve spoken to lots of people who, when asked about yoga, say “I’m not flexible enough” or “I can’t handstand”. Two statements that suggest those attributes are unachievable and as such turn people off even considering taking part in what for some has been a life-changing experience. Let’s be clear, yoga is not about handstands, it’s about health & well-being.
Benefits for the Body
All the stats suggest individuals who have been practicing for more than 12 months, experience increased flexibility and stress relief. In the US more and more doctors are beginning to prescribe yoga and meditation to patients for a variety of symptoms.
Check Out Some of The Reasons
Balancing the Mind
One of the most popular benefits of yoga is its positive effects on the mind. The most notable being yoga’s focus on mindfulness, which eases stress and cultivates relaxation in the body. Yoga has also been shown to improve sleep.
Check out the following from Neha Gothe and her approach to yoga research and you will see where I’m coming from. Multiple studies have proven that yoga can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, it can also help control feelings of anxiety and depression. A variety of studies made up of groups with pre-existing mental health conditions (depression and anxiety) shows those who did yoga had a significant decrease in symptoms. Whereas those who didn’t do yoga stayed the same or got worse. The same study was conducted on individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of which 52% of participants who did yoga were no longer diagnosed with PTSD by the end.
Noteworthy, there is currently no way to pinpoint exactly how yoga helps with these conditions. The theory is it helps you learn how to control your breathing and muscles. It is said “you can center yourself in yoga and develop greater control.”
Strengthens Your Muscles
Good exercise will tone and shape your body, yoga is no different, it’s just as good for your core as it is your glutes. The different styles target different parts of the body with techniques aimed at stretching and flexibility which goes beyond that of traditional exercise. Using props like rollers, you can release the build-up of lactic acid sitting in your muscle tissue.
Yoga is Good for Your Diet
Those indoctrinated into the yoga family tend to be conscious about what they consume. Let’s be honest it isn’t going to happen overnight, but the mindset develops through learning.It’s one of the facets that promotes healthy eating habits.
Yoga Helps Your Heart
It’s well publicised that as we age we need to take care of our heart, it's the engine room for our entire bodily function. Studies show that yoga can help lower blood pressure. In the UK 1 in 4 adults, approx 12.5 million suffer from High blood pressure or Hypertension which increases the risk of:
- Heart Failure
- Coronary Artery Disease
Yoga may help improve heart health and reduce many factors that contribute to heart disease. In a study of patients who modified their diet alongside regular yoga exercise, participants saw a 26% decrease in bad cholesterol. Progression of heart disease also stopped in 47% of participants.
Enhanced Quality of Life
In summary, yoga could help you to improve your body shape, improve your mind, become fitter, stronger, reduce stress & anxiety, improve your sleep and diet, as well as potentially reduce your risk of symptoms that can lead to disease.
With all that being said, is there value in giving Yoga a try? Is this what the fuss is about?