Yoga originated in India approximately 5000 years ago, it is a form of exercise that focuses on
strength, flexibility, balance and breathing. There are many different styles of yoga including
Ashtanga, Iyengar, Sivananda and Hatha to name just a few.
Despite yoga being around for so long it is only recently that medical experts have recognised the
health benefits that regular yoga practice can bring:
- Improves Flexibility
If the thought of being able to tie yourself up in knots until you look like a human pretzel is
not appealing then the health benefits that come with improved flexibility should be. Tight
hips can lead to knee strain and tight hamstrings can result in back pain. Becoming more
flexible through yoga can reduce joint pain and correct bad posture.
- Muscle strength and tone
In yoga the main piece of equipment you use to exercise with is your own body. Lifting,
moving and holding your own bodyweight through a serious of moves and poses is not only a
great workout (ask anyone who does chin ups) it is also a great way to build muscle tone and
strength. Strong muscles can protect from arthritis, back pain and prevent falls.
- Joints & Bones
Weight bearing exercises not only build muscle strength it strengthens and protects bones
too. Stronger bones means that fractures and breaks are less likely to occur and wards off
osteoporosis. Yoga takes your joints through their full range of motion, working all of the
joint cartilage and can therefore help prevent arthritis.
- Unwinds the mind
We know that stress is linked to many health problems for example migraines, insomnia,
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eczema and high blood pressure. Yoga, coupled with its focus
on controlled breathing, can help quiet the mind; develop coping skills and patience leading
to a more positive outlook on life.
- Boosts immunity
A recent Norwegian study found genetic evidence of yoga’s impact on the immune system.
Yoga boosts immunity at a cellular level and this boost occurs so fast (within 2 hours of start
of practice) that you could still be on your yoga mat whilst it is happening. The study showed
that yoga practice changed the expression of 111 genes in circulating immune cells.
You do not have to be fit or flexible to practice yoga and there is no age limit either. Yoga can be
learned from videos or books however I strongly suggest that beginners find a class to join with a
qualified yoga instructor who will correct your posture and offer alternative poses to work around
any injuries you may have.
Sign up for a class today.