5 Great Reasons to do Yoga

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Yoga not only stretches every muscle in your body, it also stretches your mind.

The practice presents people with the opportunity to challenge themselves physically, mentally and spiritually all in one place: on their mat. It’s not just about how strong you feel when you’re holding a pose for several breaths, it’s about what comes up for you in that moment— you might realize what you’ve been struggling with or overcoming, or you might see, for the first time, how you really handle discomfort.

If someone practices yoga, they can become aware of their inner dialogue and how it affects their life. If you take control of your mind and harness your personal power in this way, you can lead a happy and healthy life.

Yoga not only empowers people, it strengthens their muscles, cleanses their bodies and increases their overall health. It’s a powerful practice with many positive side effects.

Here are the top 5 benefits of hitting your mat!

  1. Less Stress- All the deep breathing calms your nervous system down and your busy brain. New studies show that doing yoga actually may help decrease your cortisol levels—which is the dreaded stress hormone that causes weight gain and depression. Your body’s glands and organs function better when they’re not stressed and loaded with hormones like cortisol.

  2. Better Immune System– A study done in Norway found that doing yoga boosts your immunity at a cellular level. The researchers found the changes happened while the participants were doing yoga. It all makes sense because, moving and deep breathing helps your circulation, while allowing your organs to function better.

  3. Appetite Control- Researchers from the University of Washington found that those who do yoga regularly can better control their appetite with mindful eating. Yoga encourages people to become aware of their bodily sensations and their connection with the mind. This awareness helps people tune into the emotions behind overeating and reminds them to breathe deeply during a craving.

  4. Better Sleep- A promising study out of Harvard University showed that people with insomnia could get better sleep if they did yoga every day. Another study found that cancer survivors who did yoga two times a week slept better and had more energy. Let’s face it, all the deep breathing, calm thinking and stillness would be enough to put anyone to sleep!

  5. More Strength & Flexibility- So many of us forget to stretch properly before or after exercising, but yoga is all about that. Yoga sends oxygen and blood to your muscles, allowing them to restore and reset. Doing yoga regularly will increase your overall flexibility, strength and tone. It also improves your posture, which protects your spine and really, your whole body.

2 Poses You Should do Every Day

Forward Fold/ Uttanasana

  • This pose really stretches your hamstrings and simultaneously promotes blood flow to your head. Do Uttanasana once a day to relax and restore your legs, which allow you to do the things you do every day.

Instructions:

  • Stand with feet hip-distance apart

  • Stretch arms up to the ceiling

  • Fold over your legs, keeping knees slightly bent

  • Let hands rest on your shins or the floor

  • Let your head completely relax

  • Bonus- scoop up your big toes with your peace fingers and bend elbows for a deeper stretch

Supine Twist/ Supta Matsyendrasana 

  • Supine spinal twists do wonders for your spine and help stretch your glutes. When you’re sitting at your desk all day, or walking around with poor posture, this pose will give your back some love and get the blood flowing to heal your spine.

Instructions:

  • Lay on your back with knees towards chest

  • Scoot your bum over to the right

  • Let knees fall to the left

  • Extend right arm and look over right shoulder

  • Repeat on other side

  • Bonus: cross the bottom leg over the top in the twist for a deeper stretch


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