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Yoga: Finding Strength & Serenity

Yoga: Finding Strength & Serenity

Written by: Amy Jade

Grab a cup of tea, cozy up on the couch with your favorite blanket, and turn on the sounds of calming noises and rainforest sounds as you dive into this article about the many benefits of practicing yoga. 

Yoga, a 3000 year tradition, and considered in Western society as a holistic approach to health, is a mind-body medicine that emphasizes the combination of an individual’s physical, mental, and spiritual parts to improve overall health. Practicing yoga promotes compassion, strength, calmness, a greater sense of well being, and awareness of the self. 

Consistent practice leads to self awareness, changes in life perspectives, and the ability to enjoy life with improved energy and genuine happiness.

Improving physical & mental health

The physical science behind yoga is that it produces a physiological state opposite to the body’s normal flight-or-fight stress response. By counteracting this stress response, yoga helps the individual achieve a sense of balance and calm throughout the mind and body. Evidence shows that stress is directly correlated with cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Yoga decreases physiological arousal by reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and slowing down the breath. The mindful focus on the breath and internal self can be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety or depression. By accepting yoga as a stress management technique, the risk of physical and mental illness can be reduced.

Promoting strength & flexibility

Many yoga poses improve the range of motion of joints and strengthen muscles around joints. More flexibility means more lengthening of muscles which help reduce muscle pain and loosen up accumulated tension. Being more flexible can be beneficial as you age. It reduces the risk of joint pain, back pain, and the chance of injury in case of a fall. There is increased blood and nutrients to tissues which keeps bones strong and healthy. Being flexible increases the body’s capabilities and allows greater freedom of movement which allows an individual to be active in old age. 

Increasing mindfulness 

Yoga is beneficial in mindfulness and self awareness. Practicing yoga brings you into the present moment, forgetting the worries of the past or the future. Yoga aims to guide you to quiet your mind and form a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you. The breathing techniques connect the body in the present and builds awareness of everything that is happening around you during that time. By practicing mindfulness, it is easier to accept ‘what is’. Being aware of any feeling or emotion in that moment and accepting it as it is, with no judgements or reactions.