nurses know what's good for you
the first one, 77 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga, focuses on all the reasons how and why a regular yoga practice can help keep your mind and body healthy.
here are some highlights from that piece; click here to access the full article.
77 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga
July 8th, 2008
By Alisa Miller
Over the past several years, yoga has experienced an upsurge in popularity in the western world. While many associate yoga with new age mysticism or the latest fad at the gym, yoga is actually an ancient practice that connects the mind, body, and spirit through body poses, controlled breathing, and meditation.
Health Benefits Within - From lowering blood pressure to increasing pain tolerance, the following health benefits can all be discovered within the body:
~ Blood pressure. A consistent yoga practice decreases blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation of the body. These two exercises can help lower blood pressure.
~ Immunity. Yoga practice has frequently been correlated with a stronger immune system. Read this article for more on the immune system and yoga, including some poses that specifically work on areas of immunity.
~ Pain. Pain tolerance is much higher among those who practice yoga regularly. In addition to pain tolerance, some instances of chronic pain, such as back pain, are lessened or eliminated through yoga.
~ Metabolism. Having a balanced metabolism results in maintaining a healthy weight and controlling hunger. Consistent yoga practice helps find the balance and creates a more efficient metabolism.
Health Benefits Without - Just as many health benefits occur within the body, there are many benefits that can actually be experienced from without the body. From better sleep to more energy and strength, this list provides several benefits found on the outside of the body:
~ Aging. Yoga stimulates the detoxification process within the body. Detoxification has been shown to delay aging, among many other health benefits.
~ Sleep. Because of the many benefits to both body and mind that a yoga routine can provide, many find that their sleep is much better.
~ Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.
~ Sexuality. Yoga can improve your sexuality through better control, more relaxation, and more self-confidence.
Emotional Health Benefits - Due to the strong mind-body connection of yoga, there are many emotional benefits to be gained from a consistent yoga practice. Find out how yoga can help improve emotional health with this list:
~ Stress Reduction. The concentration required during yoga practice tends to focus your attention on the matter at hand, thereby reducing the emphasis you may have been putting on the stress in your life.
~ Depression. Some believe the negative feelings that you may be repressing are brought to the surface during some types of yoga exercise. When this happens, the negative energy is no longer stuck within you, but released through exercise. Regularly releasing this negativity leads to a reduction of depression in many people.
~ Concentration. Researchers have shown that as little as eight weeks of yoga practice can result in better concentration and more motivation.
~ Calmness. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.
Body Chemistry - Several aspects of body chemistry such as glucose levels and red blood cells are affected by yoga.
~ Cholesterol. Yoga practice lowers cholesterol through increased blood circulation and burning fat. Yoga practice is a great tool to fight against harmful cholesterol levels.
~ Glucose. There is evidence to suggest that yoga may lower blood glucose levels.
~ Sodium. As does any good exercise program, yoga reduces the sodium levels in your body. In today’s world of processed and fast foods that are full of sodium, lessening these levels is a great idea.
~ Endocrine functions. Practicing yoga helps to regulate and control hormone secretion. An improved endocrine system keeps hormones in balance and promotes better overall physical and emotional health.
Exercise Health Benefits - As a form of exercise, yoga offers benefits that are sometimes not easily found among other exercise regimens. All of the following gains are benefits to practicing yoga.
~ Muscle tone. Consistently practicing yoga leads to better muscle tone.
~ Breathing. With yoga, breathing is more natural and controlled during exercise. This type of breathing provides more oxygen-rich air for your body and also provides more energy with less fatigue.
~ Balanced workout of opposing muscle groups. As with all of yoga, balance is key. If a muscle group is worked in one direction, it will also be worked in the opposite direction to maintain balance. This balance results in a better overall workout for the body.
~ Endurance. Working the entire body, yoga improves endurance and is frequently used by endurance athletes as a supplement to their sport-specific training.
Disease Prevention - Studies indicate that following a consistent yoga practice can help prevent the following diseases.
~ Heart disease. Yoga reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, keeps off weight, and improves cardiovascular health, all of which lead to reducing your risk of heart disease.
~ Osteoporosis. It is well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, yoga’s ability to lower levels of cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
~ Alzheimer’s. A new study indicates that yoga can help elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels. Low GABA levels are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Meditation like that practiced in yoga has also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
~ Type II diabetes. In addition to the glucose reducing capabilities of yoga, it is also an excellent source of physical exercise and stress reduction that, along with the potential for yoga to encourage insulin production in the pancreas, can serve as an excellent preventative for type II diabetes.
Symptom Reduction or Alleviation - While this list is not comprehensive, the following diseases or disorders can all be helped by maintaining a yoga practice.
~ Arthritis. The slow, deliberate movement of yoga poses coupled with the gentle pressure exerted on the joints provides an excellent exercise to relieve arthritis symptoms. Also, the stress relief associated with yoga loosens muscles that tighten joints.
~ Migraines. Regular yoga practice has been shown to reduce the number of migraines in chronic migraine sufferers.
~ Constipation. Due to the practice of yoga and overall better posture, the digestive and elimination systems work more efficiently. If the practitioner also has a healthy diet, any constipation will be eliminated through yoga.
~ Back pain. Yoga reduces spinal compression and helps overall body alignment to reduce back pain.
the second article, The Ultimate Guide to Yoga: 100 Blogs, Tutorials, and Resources, is a listing of various websites that cover everything yoga, including webzines, articles, blogs, podcasts, teachers, studios, and much more.
Click here to see all the sites they found worth checking out -- including the blogsite of yours truly, such an honor! :)