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Benefits of Yoga~

The benefits of Yoga are more than you probably think.

Did you know there are more than 100 different forms of yoga? Some are fast-paced and intense while others are gentle and relaxing... All are transforming.

The following are some of the most practiced form of yoga today...

Hatha~ The form most often associated with yoga. It combines a series of basic movement with breathing.

Vinyasa~ This is a series of poses (asanas) that flow smoothly into one another.

Power~ This is a faster, higher intensity practice designed to build muscle.

Ashtanga~ This is a series of poses (asanas) combined with a special breathing technique.

Bikram~ Also known as "hot Yoga" is a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.

Iyengar~ This is a type of yoga that uses props such as blocks, straps, wheels, etc. to help you move your body into the proper alignment.

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Yoga offers numerous health benefits. Below are just a few...

Yoga Increases Your Blood Flow

Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses such as headstand, handstand and shoulderstand encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart where it can be pumped into the lungs where it can be freshly oxygenated. This can help if you suffer from swelling in your legs due to heart or kidney problems. Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells which carry oxygen to the tissues. It also thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are the leading cause in these often fatal incidences.

Yoga Drains Your Lymphs and Boosts Immunity

When you contract and stretch muscles, move organ around, while coming in and out of asanas (poses), you increase the drainage of lymph fluid (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

Yoga Increases Your Heart Rate

When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range you lower your risk of heart attack and studies have also shown that it alleviates depression. While not all yoga is aerobic, if done vigorously it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range where these benefits can be achieved. But even yoga practices that don't get your heart rate into the aerobic zone can still improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that consistent yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increases endurance, and improves your maximum uptake of oxygen (Vo2Max) during exercise. These are all good reflections of improved cardiovascular conditioning. This all means that you can do more intense exercise with less oxygen.

Yoga Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Two studies of people with hypertension published in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch. After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26 point drop of systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15 point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). The study reported the higher the initial blood pressure the greater the drop. Good stuff, ha?

Yoga Helps You Focus

An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory and even IQ Scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and can acquire and recall information better, most likely because their less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.

These are all but a few of the many benefits of yoga. I will discuss more in future posts.

Until then,

Namaste~