Benefits of Yoga

SOME of the benefits of yoga …

  • Flexibility – of course! you already knew this.. it increases and maintains your muscle and joint mobility which not only allows you to move more freely with less pain but also speeds up your recovery from all sorts of physical activity. Increased range of movement also helps prevent injury. Important to note is that you don’t need to be very flexible to start River Yoga… inflexibility is one of the main reasons why you should start as soon as possible! I will not frown upon or make fun of your level of flexibility – I will give you modified options of any pose which is currently not appropriate for you.
  • Stress Relief – yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body by encouraging relaxation and lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improved digestion and boosting the immune system, as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
  • Pain Relief – yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing Yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions.
  • Head to toe strength & stability – many muscles in your body that are under used will be awakened, enabling them to support neighboring muscles which increases the stability of your joints and total body strength. You don’t need to be good at balancing to start, if you can stand on two feet you are ready!
  • Weight Management – yoga can aid weight control efforts by reducing your cortisol levels, as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well being and self-esteem.
  • Improved Circulation & Lymphatics – as a result of various poses (especially the twists and inversions) and their intelligent placement in a sequence, yoga efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells and removes de-oxygenated blood. It also assists in clearing blockages in the one way valves of the lymphatic system. How often in your regular exercise regime are you twisting and being turned upside down?
  • Cardiovascular Conditioning – even gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during regular exercise.
  • Better Body Alignment – yoga helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.
  • Focus on the Present – yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware of what’s really happening in our world, helping create ‘mind body’ health. This opens the way for improved co-ordination, reaction time and memory.
  • Better breathing – each class teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function and trigger the body’s relaxation response (aka – the parasympathetic nervous system).
  • Stronger Bones – by putting healthy unusual directional stress on your bones it increases their strength.
  • Lower back & neck health – I was trained to teach yoga in a way that has been adapted to suit western bodies which helps heal and prevent most lower back and neck injuries. This allows you to safely enjoy and continuously deepen your yoga experience no matter what level you are at.

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