The Benefits of Yoga

Some of my patients already know this but I love yoga! I am an avid believer in the benefits of yoga and often encourage my patients to give it a try.  Here are some ways yoga has been proven to improve physical and mental health and thereby promote longevity.  

Physically, yoga helps strengthen your muscles and bones.  By lifting your own body weight in many of the poses, it allows you to build and tone.  Some yoga classes even incorporate weights to increase the intensity.   Another proven benefit (of not only yoga but all types of exercise) is the increase in blood flow.  Here, at TLC we believe in the power of circulation; we need our microcirculation (all the tiny blood vessels/capillaries) to stay as open and clear as possible to allow proper nutrient and oxygen delivery to all the cells in our body so they can function efficiently.  Exercise is a great way to do this in addition to drinking plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces) and undergoing heavy metal chelation therapy/detoxification. 

Yoga also physically helps increase flexibility and balance.  Many think that you have to flexible to do yoga but everyone of all ages can do it – you just move at your own pace and through continued practice, you will start to improve your flexibility.  This agility, in turn, will help prevent the aches and pains that may occur as a result of every day movement and will also help posture. 

Mentally, yoga has amazing benefits and one of the main reasons I practice yoga is because it has greatly helped with my anxiety.  Studies have shown that yoga lowers cortisol release, which is the primary stress hormone.  While practicing yoga, you are encouraged to focus on your breath, to be mindful of the in and out of air, the expanding and contracting of your lungs.  This is a meditative practice and a technique that can be very useful in every day stressful situations. Whenever there is increased stress or anxiety or panic (which causes a rise in cortisol), the practice of mindful breathing will slow the breath and therefore slow the heart rate and promote a sense of calmness.  If practiced routinely through yoga, this act of mindful breathing will eventually come naturally in times of stress.  Furthermore, the meditative practice of mindful breathing will allow you to be more mindful in other aspects of life and live more presently.
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