The Health Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga is a combination of meditation, stretching and strengthening exercises that has been practiced for centuries, especially in the West where there are several different forms.
And as the word has spread about yoga, the number of new classes being offered in local communities has begun to explode over recent years.
This is because for the majority of students, the benefits have been extraordinary; there are physical, emotional and mental benefits to these exercises, positions and routines. Far more so than you would imagine when you watch this graceful and gentle art being performed by an expert. As little as 10 minutes yoga practice can make a difference to your mind and body.
Ideally, yoga should be taught by trained experts to the beginner so that there are minimal risks of physical injury and torn muscles. Most gyms hold yoga classes as do YMCAs and free standing exercise classes.
One of the significant physical benefits is the increased flexibility that practitioners experience. Yoga positions act upon various joints and include many that are not included when you practice the more popular exercise routines.
Through increased flexibility and motion, the joints also increase the lubrication of the ligaments and tendons. In research that has investigated various yoga positions researchers have discovered that seemingly non-strenuous positions will act upon other parts of the body in an interrelated manner.
Yoga works with the body to improve toning of the muscles too. Muscles that have become flaccid or weak are stimulated with repeated motion and strengthening moves. Much of the movement that stimulates stretching and strengthening also improves the blood supply to the muscles and organs of the body. This additional blood supply helps to flush out toxins and provide nourishment to the cells.
Some of the other physiological benefits of yoga include stabilizing the autonomic nervous system and pulse rate through meditation; respiratory rate decreases, blood pressure decreases, cardiovascular function improves, dexterity skills improve and reaction time improves. People who practice yoga also find that their respiratory efficiency improves, their posture becomes more erect and their weight normalizes. People report better sleep habits, increased endurance and increased energy levels with a better integration of body parts function.
Another benefit to the integration of yoga in your lifestyle as a form of exercise is found in the increased sense of awareness that the student begins to develop through regular practice. Practitioners are often able to detect subtle changes that indicate a developing health disorder or infection that enable them to take corrective and positive action more quickly.
Individuals who begin to practice yoga exercises also report that they have better moods and less mood swings. They also report better social adjustment, improved concentration, improved memory and better attention span. Practitioners find that their hostility decreases, their ability to learn improves and their depth perception also improves.
Yoga students also report further mental benefits that include a calmer more relaxed attitude that is carried with them throughout the day. Concentration on the body functions during yoga poses increases the ability of the practitioner to meditate and disengage their thoughts which helps to calm the mind. This also leads to greater reduction in stress and a reduced number of disorders that are related to stress such as anxiety and weight gain.
Aromatherapy and yoga
Although it may not seem obvious, aromatherapy is actually the perfect partner to yoga. Vaporizing essential oils throughout a session helps to create a beautiful relaxing mood ideally matched to the objectives of harmonizing mind, body and soul, as yoga was originally intended to do. Using essential oils during a session really does enhance and deepen the whole experience, taking it to a new level.
After practicing yoga, an aromatherapy bath or massage can really help to counter the effects of the work-out you’ve just had. Roman chamomile, black pepper, ginger, lavender and marjoram essential oils all help to soothe and relax tired muscles. Gentle as the movements and poses may appear, when practiced properly, yoga delivers a workout equivalent to anything you will find at the gym!
There are just so many, many benefits to practicing yoga for the mind and the body, and all of them help contribute towards improved health, flexibility and a calmer mind and spirit. Those who practice yoga find that they are able to maintain a normal weight with less effort and have less trouble with joint conditions such as arthritis.
Combine yoga together with aromatherapy, and you will introduce the absolute best of both worlds into your life! Check out or range of essential oils now so you can enhance your next yoga experience.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2013. Written by Sue Charles