Yoga : Health Benefits
Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits. Yoga can hardly be called a trend. Yoga increases flexibility and reduces stress, but the practice can do more than help you twist your body into pretzel shapes and find inner peace. These hidden benefits will help you in the kitchen, office and bedroom — and will give you five new reasons to show off your yoga skills (plus recommended poses for each one!).
1. Boost Immunity
A recent Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that boost immunity at a cellular level. And it doesn’t take long: The researchers believe the changes occurred while participants were still on the mat, and they were significantly greater than a control group who went on a nature hike while listening to soothing music. Yoga also helps to boost immunity by simply increasing overall health, says Mitchel Bleier, a yoga teacher of 18 years and owner of Yogapata in Connecticut. “As you breathe better, move better and circulate better, all the other organs function better.”
Strike a Pose: Doing Sun Salutations is a way of respecting the Sun and the Earth, and all it has offered us. It's also a way to warm up the body and get your muscles ready to do deeper stretching and more difficult yoga postures. You'll work every part of your body doing Sun Salutation A - your arms, shoulders, neck, spine, hamstrings, calves, and feet.
When you take an Ashtanga yoga class, it always begins with the opening chant, and then 5 Sun Salutation As in a row. In other types of yoga, they usually do variations on a sun salutation, so parts of this series may look familiar to you.
(read: Shilpa Shetty Weight loss secrets - Yoga)
(read: Shilpa Shetty Weight loss secrets - Yoga)
2. Sleep Better
Being relocated to an assisted living facility can result in sleep disturbances and depression in elders. This may be attributed to or worsened by lack of regular physical activity. Appropriate exercise programs may be an important component of quality of life in this group of transitional frail elders. After 6 months of performing yoga exercises, participants' overall sleep quality had significantly improved, whereas depression, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction had decreased significantly (p < .05). In addition, participants in the intervention group had better results on all outcome indicators than those of participants in the control group (p < .05).
Strike a Pose: Although it looks easy, Savasana (Corpse Pose) has been called the most difficult of the asanas. Indeed, many yoga students who can happily balance, bend, and twist through the rest of class struggle with just lying on the floor. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep your head centered, not allowing it to fall to either side. Extend your arms to the sides. Your hands on your belly. Inhale and exhale through your nose, follow the breath and feel the belly rise and fall under your hands. The breath, muscles, and mind should be completely relaxed.
3. Ease Migraines
Research shows that migraine sufferers have fewer and less painful migraines after three months of yoga practice. The cause of migraines isn’t fully understood, but Bleier says it could be a combination of mental stressors and physical misalignment that create migraines and other issues. Hunching over a computer or cell phone with your shoulders up and head forward causes over lifting of your trapezius and tightening of the neck. This pulls the head forward and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines.
Strike a Pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor. With your hands resting on the floor, begin to press down into your legs and draw your hips toward the sky. The key, Bleier says, is to keep your shoulders in line with the base of your neck, moving the back of the shoulders together so the shoulder blades are close. Lift your chest towards your chin and your chin away from your chest, so the upper trapezius muscles flow away from the head.
4. Boost Se*ual Performance
From East to West, people have turned to yoga for better bodies. Yoga doesn't up your fitness quotient alone, it can help you to increase your s** power also. Indeed, all you need to do some simple yoga asanas (postures). You'll get a body that's so flexible that you'll perform positions that you thought were meant only for the pages of Kamasu***. What's more, with some practice, your guy will be able to control his climax too. Studies have found that 12 weeks of yoga can improve s**ual desire, arousal, performance, confidence, orgasm and satisfaction for both men and women.
Strike a Pose: Sit with your feet together and your knees bent and reaching toward the floor. Slowly fold over your feet while trying to bring your knees closer to the ground while moving the groin back and engaging the pelvic floor muscles. “It’s a great hip opener, plus the pelvic floor engagement tones the muscles for orgasm,” says Bleier.
5. Fight Food Cravings
Regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, an awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. By causing breath awareness, regular yoga practice strengthens the mind-body connection, Bleier says. The awareness can help you tune in to emotions involved with certain cravings, and yoga breathing exercises can help you slow down and make better choices when cravings strike.
Strike a Pose: Sit or lay in any comfortable position and bring attention to the natural breath moving in and out through your nose. Next, bring attention to the triangular area around the tip of your nose and upper lip, paying attention to your breath hitting this space as you exhale, the temperature of your breath, and which nostril you’re breathing through. Try this for two minutes, working up to five or more. “The key is to try and be still and focus just on the breath,” Bleier says. “No moving, no reacting, just stay present.”
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