The Many Benefits of Yoga
Two years ago, I became a regular yoga practitioner. I immediately realized how much better I felt on many levels. Taking regular classes allows me to unwind and get some of that coveted "me time" we all deserve. Yoga is an essential part of my own self care routine. Let's take a look at some of my own personal favorite yoga benefits.
Yoga may help improve the appearance of your skin.
Yoga? Seriously? Until I began practicing Vinyasa flow yoga, I used to think of yoga ONLY as a relaxing, meditative practice. I was wrong. Yoga is so much more than sitting calmly and saying "Om."Are you looking to regain that lost healthy glow your skin once had? Yoga may be the ideal exercise to promote glowing skin.
Could yoga help skin conditions like rosacea and eczema?
- Research continues to show a link between your gut and skin health. If your digestive system is not maintaining a balance of good vs. bad bacteria effectively, it may show in your skin with conditions such as eczema, acne and rosacea. The poses you use while practicing yoga may help aid digestion,according to many yogis. This in turn, would likely improve the condition of your skin. What does the science tell us about whether yoga improves digestion? Right now, the only evidence appears to be anecdotal. Yoga teachers "are probably not basing it on Western-style analytic techniques that followed a control trial design," says Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, Chief of Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center. "We just haven't gotten there yet with yoga research, testing particular poses or breathing techniques for particular outcomes."
Plus, certain poses may also make you look younger.
- Have you seen oxygen facials on the menu at your favorite spa? Many aesthethicians perform oxygen facials on clients as a pampering skin or body care treatment. Asanas -- yoga postures -- help to increase oxygenation, so you may notice a reduction in the visible signs of aging. Not only will yoga help improve strength and flexibility, but it may make you look younger.
Yoga can be a form of detox -- but not in the way you may think.
Detox.Toxins. They've become such buzzwords, haven't they? Vinyasa flow yoga is a fast-paced form of yoga that many believe is ideal for ridding the body of toxins because of the output of sweat. Vinyasa is also known as "hot" yoga, as the room can be around 85 to 90 degrees. While many people believe you can rid your body of toxins by sweating, science tells us that is not true. Toxins are not released via the sweat glands. True "detox" can only be accomplished by your liver and kidneys. What I find makes yoga a form of detox is that it helps me focus and clear my mind of negative thoughts.
Let's call yoga a "detox" for the mind. While you are focused on each movement, you are truly in the moment. Your mind isn't thinking about the fact that you forgot to add tomatoes to the grocery list or that the towels need to be folded and put away. It truly clears that "mental clutter" from your head and it is a feeling that is quite freeing.
Yoga may boost your metabolism.
How can such a gentle practice boost metabolism? Certain poses actually stimulate the thyroid gland, which results in greater regulation of your metabolism.
1. Locust Pose
If you are looking to strengthen your lower back, firm your buttocks, and rev up your metabolism, Shalabhasana (locust) is a great choice. Even though Locust is considered to be more of an advanced pose, it is very effective if you’re trying to speed up your metabolism and can easily be mastered with a bit of practice. In addition to its metabolic benefits, it strengthens the entire back side of the body.
2. Plow Pose
The plow pose, also called Halasana pose, can be difficult to master. Once you are comfortable performing this seated pose, your body benefits in many ways. Doing the plow pose causes a circulation boost in multiple parts of the body including the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands. With this increase in circulation comes an endorphin rush, which is believed to help speed up your metabolism.
3. Bridge Pose
Most of us call this pose “the bridge”, but its actual name is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. The bridge is quite gentle on the body, but is still highly beneficial. Using gravity, this pose tones your upper body. It is one of many poses able to increase your metabolism by stimulating your thyroid gland.
4. Fish Pose
The fish pose (Matsyasana) is another effective fat burning yoga exercise. This is also the ideal pose for those of you who hold stress in their shoulders (don't most of us?), as it releases “feel good” hormones-- endorphins-- into the bloodstream. Those with aching backs will find this pose to be particularly helpful.
5. Twisted Chair Pose
This one is essential if you’re trying to increase your metabolism. The chair pose, or Utkatasana, literally uses every single muscle in your body, stimulates blood circulation, and is believed to help digestion. A perk of this pose? You can do this at work in your desk chair and still reap the benefits. I work from home and it's part of my day as I write!
Are you a yoga practitioner? Aside from the health and wellness benefits, have you noticed any changes in your skin?
Yours in health + harmony,
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