Celebrate World Yoga Day
Happy World Yoga Day!
The word yoga means to yoke, or to unite.
In this practice we are uniting our body, mind and spirit. This creates a great inner peace which is a huge benefit of yoga.
Additional benefits include:
A Norwegian study found that yoga practice results in changes in gene expression that quickly boost immunity at a cellular level. The cellular changes occurred while participants were still on the mat. These were significantly greater than the control group who hiked in nature while listening to soothing music.
Yoga also boosts immunity by simply increasing overall health, says Mitchel Bleier, an 18-year veteran yoga teacher in Connecticut.
"As you breathe better, move better and circulate better, all your organs function better."
Recommended Pose: Sun Salutation
Reduction in Frequency and Severity of Migraines.
Research proves 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 tightens the neck and creates muscle imbalances that can contribute to headaches and migraines.
Recommended Pose: Bridge Pose
Boost Sexual Performance
Studies show that 12 weeks of yoga can improve sexual desire, arousal, performance, confidence, orgasm and satisfaction for both men and women. Much of this is achieved due to the increased blood flow to the genital area and the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles.
Recommended Pose: Bound Angle Pose
Improved Control over Food Cravings
Researchers from the University of Washington found that 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 and can help you tune in to emotions involved with certain cravings. Yoga breathing exercises can also help you slow down and make better choices when cravings strike.
Recommended Pose: Meditation
Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. An additional study found that twice-weekly yoga sessions helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. This can be attributed to yoga's ability to help people deal with stress, says Bleier.
"Sleep issues are like anxiety. Your head can't stop spinning, you don't know how to relax," he says. "Breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down."
Recommended Pose: Corpse Pose with Diaphragmatic Breathing