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Understanding the Health Benefit of Yoga Poses

Understanding the Health Benefit of Yoga Poses
Understanding the Health Benefit of Yoga Poses

Practicing yoga has helped millions of people worldwide to improve their quality of life through maintaining physical and mental health. The core of every yoga exercise is the physical and mental benefits of various yoga postures (called asanas).

Each type of yoga position focuses on a particular body part or muscle group. The following is a list of some types of yoga poses and their health benefits.

Benefits of Standing, Seated, and Balance Poses

Standing poses help align the feet and the body while increasing flexibility in the legs and hips. They also add to the mobility of the neck and the shoulders while increasing the flexibility of the pelvis and lower back. Standing poses are beneficial for strengthening the legs, opening the hips, and improving the sense of balance.

On the other hand, seated poses increase flexibility and strength in the hips, lower back, knees, and groin. They open the hips and chest, lengthen the spine, and stimulate the reproductive, nervous, and respiratory systems. Seated poses help practice breathing exercises and relaxation or meditation techniques. They are also regularly used as a warm-up or as a starting point for other poses.

Balance poses help develop muscle tone, coordination, strength and agility. They are also excellent for elongating the spine. Balance positions open up the chest, the rib cage and the hips and improve memory and concentration power.

Yoga Poses to Release Tension and Increase Flexibility

Forward and twisting positions help stretch the lower back and hamstrings while releasing tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Forward poses also increase the flexibility in the spine, bringing about a sense of relaxation and balance. The primary purpose of a twisting pose is to give a deep massage to the body’s internal organs, thereby squeezing out toxins and stimulating digestion.

Moreover, the relaxation techniques, which are usually performed at the end of a yoga session, such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation, help reduce everyday stress levels and foster a feeling of calm, joy and serenity.

Studies have shown that yoga positions are one of the best practices for toning up muscles, lubricating the joints, and massaging the body. By going through various yoga positions, individuals can easily keep themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. But it is always recommended to avoid performing all the yoga poses at one go, as this may lead to adverse outcomes instead of benefits.

What is Zen Yoga? The Mindfulness of Mindlessness

What is Zen Yoga? The Mindfulness of Mindlessness
What is Zen Yoga? The Mindfulness of Mindlessness

Zen Yoga fuses the elements of Chinese medicine, Tai Chi, and Qigong breathing to cleanse the mind of thought to create pure energy and flexibility.

Zen yoga, believed to increase vitality and heal stress, has been claimed as a proprietary yoga style by some of its practitioners and schools. There is no ownership of yoga, though, since all types (Hatha, Laughter, Hot Yoga, etc.) are based on classical yoga’s primary movements and breathing. Zen Yoga does differentiate itself by originating not from India but from China. Before Buddhism, there was yoga. Zen monks did Zen Yoga.

Aaron Hoopes has been called the founder of Zen Yoga. He has a background in Chinese martial arts reflected in the progression through levels as the students advance in skill and familiarity. The practice is designed to place the body, mind and spirit in harmony and balance, similar to traditional yoga.

The Zen Concept in Zen Yoga

Zen Yoga’s aim is yoga with an empty mind without competing thoughts. The focus is on the present. Practice is for the here and now, not for health or salvation or to improve the body. These benefits may result from the course but are not a reason to practice. Although all yoga is a mindful practice, Zen-Yoga is genuinely in the moment. The difficulty for westerners is to be goal-less. There are no goals in Zen Yoga. The course is the Presence and is in itself an end goal.

Flexibility and Zen Yoga Poses

The backbone, so to speak, of Zen Yoga is the breathing and stretching and prolonged movement of positions into postures. The practice is promoted to anyone. It is not necessarily heat-producing nor aerobic. It does encourage flexibility, and strength is a by-product of the movement. Breathing itself elongates the spine and gradually focuses the mind.

Pigeon or “Threading the Needle” promotes elongation of the spine by stretching the back, relaxing and aligning the shoulders. Thread the left arm under the outstretched right arm. The left ear is turned down and onto the earth. The left leg is bent, with the knee aligned with the left hip. The right leg is prone, parallel to the floor. The position is held with steady breathing for five minutes before unfolding and repeating on the other side. Advanced modifications (see photo 2) might be raising the right arm and tucking it behind the back at the right hip or pulling the bent right leg up to either hand. Further advancement is catching the foot with both hands in an overhead position.

Inversions such as head or shoulder stands cause the blood to flow from the feet to the head, the opposite of everyday life. Holding the pose for several minutes with deep, steady breathing allows an entrance into a trance-like position, clearing the mind and simultaneously refreshing it with improved circulation.

3 Easy Yoga Resolutions for Different Fitness Levels

3 Easy Yoga Resolutions for Different Fitness Levels
3 Easy Yoga Resolutions for Different Fitness Levels

Yoga is an easy fitness goal. Find which yoga practice fits your plans to improve stretch, flexibility, and mental relaxation for easy yoga resolutions.

Starting a yoga practice may be foremost in many people’s minds as an easy fitness start to the New Year or their new self. Yoga has gotten to be mainstream, with many considering it or, at the minimum, dressing in yoga attire to go to the supermarket. Here is how to begin a new yoga year with simple resolutions that won’t disappoint.

Choosing the First Yoga Class

Fortunately, many yoga schools have a first free class. If it isn’t advertised, ask about it. That said, don’t form any lasting permanent opinions about yoga from that first session. Much depends upon the teacher, the style of the class, the room, the fellow students, and how full your stomach was on that first day. Seriously, yoga on a full stomach prevents easing into some positions and causes extra pressure when folding the body over itself.

If this is first-time yoga, resolve to start with an open mind and try a few different classes. Suggestions follow to help this entrance into yoga.

  • Select a class called gentle yoga or relaxing yoga if exercise or movement hasn’t been a part of your life for the past year.
  • Restorative yoga is a good selection if you have a known injury or otherwise go to some form of rehab or a chiropractor. Likewise, Iyengar yoga uses props to help enter poses and eases the transition into a moment for those who feel stiff or have injuries or other issues.
  • Ashtanga and power yoga are for those who want athletic yoga and don’t want to be hampered in practice with too much lying on the floor. Both types of yoga utilize a certain degree of strength and athleticism but can be enjoyed by beginners.
  • Hatha or Hatha flow yoga is an excellent combination of ease and exercise for the new practitioner. Often each pose can be done on several levels to provide the experienced practitioner and the beginner a chance to participate.
  • Kundalini is a more spiritual practice but, of course, has poses and postures to learn.
  • Bikram has the advantage, like Ashtanga, of using the same set of sequences in every class to quickly learn the course’s pattern. Bikram is practiced in a very heated room. The heat helps the body become more flexible quickly and has both supporters and foes.
  • There are further variations of yoga classes, including stretch yoga, Pi-Yo (a yoga and Pilates combo), as well as laughter yoga, yoga with your dog, and numerous popular derivations here in the west.

How to Do a Deep Stretch or How to Have Your Fingertips Touch the Ground

Setting a goal of improved flexibility should be on the list, whether it’s fingertips to the ground or heels down on the floor in the down dog (see photo). Some people are naturally flexible, but all have to work to maintain a modicum of limberness.

  • Use the breath to achieve this goal by deeply inhaling in mountain pose (standing pose) and stretching higher toward the sky with the belly pulled in as you flow forward and out of the body toward the floor. It is different from crumbling over the stomach toward the ground. It hurts the upper body from the hips down.
  • Never bounce and force it, but with each inhale, push forward to the floor with an exhale.
  • In a down dog, walk the dog, that is, move the balls of the feet one at a time, pressing down to the heel. Feeling the heel on the floor is the first step toward maintaining the heel on the ground.
  • Lengthen or decrease the distance between the hands and feet in this pose as needed to get the heels on the floor.
  • Stretches need to be practiced in some form every day to maintain mobility. Watch a cat or dog stretch as they awaken and understand the need to practice frequently.

Change your Mind, Easing the Brain, Kindness to Yourself in Yoga Meditation

Starting present in the here and now is a gift to oneself. If only a few minutes a day or a week, practice this year to clean out the busy mind by either chanting in class or emptying thoughts during savasana.

Zen yoga focuses on the present, although all yoga does. Any physical exercise requires concentration and letting go of outside stimulation. The brain needs downtime to refresh and approach life on a new scale. Focusing inward doesn’t mean thinking only of yourself but not thinking. Experiment with being in the moment. This, too, is a vital yoga goal.


Tibetan Yoga Poses: Fountain of Youth?

Tibetan Yoga Poses: Fountain of Youth?
Tibetan Yoga Poses: Fountain of Youth?

Practice Tibetan yoga poses for vitality, rejuvenation and flexibility. These simple exercises have a long history of providing youthfulness and strength.

Unless you’re Captain Jack Sparrow, finding a teacher of Tibetan yoga is almost as tricky as finding the Fountain of Youth. The origin of these exercises comes from a Himalayan monastery that was found by a British Army colonel, who brought the secret of the rites to the West, according to Alan Davidson, founder of ThroughYourBody.com. The monks claimed that these rites prolonged life. Tibetan yoga is physical yoga with poses similar to other styles, but these exercises should be performed quickly, unlike many Hatha routines.

Staff to Plank Pose Combination

The staff pose to upward plank pose is a Tibetan yoga exercise that combines two well-known postures you will find in Hatha and other yoga styles. This combination improves wrist strength and neck agility. The arms, glutes, core and legs get stronger from these poses, according to Yoga Journal. Start sitting on the carpet with your legs straight in front of you and your hands next to your sides. It is a staff pose. The back is straight, as are the arms with the hands in line with the shoulders. Tilt your chin toward your chest. Then, press your hips toward the ceiling and move your head back to look up. Your neck, spine, and thighs form a straight line. The knees align with the ankles.

The Down Dog and Cobra Combination

The down dog and cobra are two distinct yoga poses but moving back and forth between them is a Tibetan yoga exercise that stretches the legs, shoulders, abdomen, and neck. Start in a downward-facing dog pose to do this exercise. The body makes an inverted “V” in down dog with the arms and legs straight and the palms and feet on the floor. From down dog, gently drop the hips and legs to the bottom to move into cobra. Keep the upper body off the floor, arch your back, and look upward. The hands are in line with your shoulders, and your arms are straight.

Coming In and Out of the Camel

Camel pose in Tibetan yoga is less extreme than in other yoga styles. Camel pose is only a minor backbend in Tibetan yoga. It stretches the abdomen and neck, according to Yoga Journal. It also strengthens the glutes. Kneel with your shins on the floor and your knees, hips and shoulders in line to do this pose. Tilt your neck forward first and then extend the neck back. As you stretch the neck, relax the lower back and slide your hands down the outside of your thighs as you arch your back. Pause briefly and then return to the starting position.

Strength and Flexibility

Practicing a short Tibetan yoga sequence increases strength and flexibility while warming up the body. Starting your day with a few yoga exercises is an energizing way to begin, though you can also use the poses as an afternoon pick-up. LifeEvents.org recommends doing Tibetan yoga two to three times a day.

Enjoy the Health Benefits of Yoga

Tibetan Yoga Poses: Fountain of Youth?
Tibetan Yoga Poses: Fountain of Youth?

Build Flexibility and Strength While Experiencing Deep Relaxation

Yoga improves your health by improving your strength, flexibility, balance, and posture. Yoga enhances attention and mood and helps in the prevention and management of disease.

Yoga is a physical discipline that’s been practiced in the East for thousands of years. As the practice becomes more popular in the West, more and more people have begun to talk about the health benefits of yoga. Yoga develops strength and flexibility, improves balance and posture and can help treat chronic illnesses like asthma and heart disease. It’s even believed to relieve the symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How Yoga Exercises Improve Flexibility, Strength, Balance, and Posture

Yoga postures, or asanas, stretch the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even the fascia sheath that surrounds the muscles, enabling yoga practitioners to acquire more flexibility than those who follow conventional exercise routines. Yoga stretching movements help flush out lactic acid from muscular tissue, resulting in tension, stiffness, tiredness, and discomfort. Yoga asanas lubricate joints, allowing practitioners to move more freely.

Some yoga schools promote a more strenuous, physically active practice, while other schools focus primarily on relaxation and breathing techniques. However, all styles of yoga provide practitioners with the opportunity to improve muscular tone and core strength. Increased core strength improves posture and balance and your awareness of your own body, making it less likely that you may hurt yourself when practicing yoga or engaging in other activities.

Why Yoga Asanas Promote Relaxation and May Boost Your Mood

Whichever style of yoga you choose to pursue, students must master mindful breathing. Certain classes of yoga, such as Kundalini, place a strong emphasis on the breathing techniques, or pranayama, that are at the heart of the practice. Yoga breathing techniques teach practitioners to lengthen and deepen the breath, which increases lung capacity and elicits the relaxation response, to lower stress hormones and usher in feelings of calm and well-being.

Though scientific study on the effects of yoga exercises on attention and mood has not been completed, yoga practitioners and instructors assert that yoga advantages include enhanced concentration and mood. Scientists believe that yoga asanas and breathing techniques may relieve depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety.

How Yoga Benefits Chronic Medical Conditions

A yoga school called Integrative Yoga Therapy, or IYT, has developed in the West to help medical professionals use yoga as an adjunct therapy for a wide range of chronic medical problems. Yoga benefits those with heart problems by lowering blood pressure and slowing the heart rate. Yoga can provide relief for the symptoms of insomnia, arthritis, asthma and other chronic medical conditions.

Regular Yoga Practice Offers Multiple Benefits

The practice of yoga asanas and breathing techniques can increase strength and flexibility while improving balance, posture and body awareness. Yoga’s deep breathing techniques help to initiate the relaxation response, which eases the effects of stress and can help practitioners feel calm, relaxed, alert and focused. Yoga’s physical and mental benefits are even helpful in treating chronic physical and mental illnesses, like heart disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Practice Yoga to Lose Weight

Practice Yoga to Lose Weight
Practice Yoga to Lose Weight

Combine Mind-Body Fitness with Cardio Training for Optimal Results

Yoga has been shown to increase muscle tone, strength, endurance, balance, body awareness, relaxation, stress reduction, and self-esteem.

MYTH: Yoga is an “All-in-One” workout

Many students (and teachers) of Yoga like to think that their practice is comprehensive enough to meet all of the body’s needs for physical activity.

FACT: For Weight Loss, Add Cardio

The ACE 2005 Study on Yoga confirmed that the benefits were huge in balance, toning, flexibility, and strength. However, students undertaking intense “Power Yoga” routines incorporating movement did not target aerobic heart rates.

Furthermore, the researchers note the trade-offs involved with trying to morph yoga into something it’s not, stating that any “efforts to boost the cardio benefits of yoga will only result in reduced flexibility and balance benefits.”

The touted weight-loss benefits of Bikram or “Hot” Yoga are often loss of water weight through profuse sweating.

MYTH: Cardio Can Replace Yoga for Weight Loss

Often, fruit metaphors are used to describe the shape of an overweight torso: apples and pears. An apple-shaped student who only does cardio without strengthening, toning, or sculpting will only become a smaller apple.

Some additional form of activity has to be undertaken for the apple to transform into an hourglass.

FACT: Yoga Helps with Toning and Sculpting, Balance, Flexibility, and Strength

A regular yoga practice combined with a normal cardio routine will ultimately get the most bang for your buck.

Instead of various sweaty weights and noisy aerobics classes, achieving weight loss goals can be as simple as a power walk to your neighborhood studio and a blissful, relaxing class.

MYTH: Traditional Workouts Suffice to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Today’s epidemic levels of obesity in the industrialized world, the prevalence of fad diets and the continuing struggle that most adults have with achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight indicate the need for a drastic change from traditional fitness philosophies.

FACT: A Regimen Including a Form of Mind-Body Fitness is More Likely to Succeed for Long Term Goals.

The primary goal of a regular yoga practice is relaxation. The hormones associated with stress and the eating and sleeping behaviors of people suffering from too much stress can contribute to weight gain. Reducing stress alone can contribute to a student’s ability to shed unwanted pounds.

Yoga also brings a sense of enhanced body awareness that many other practices do not necessarily encourage (e.g., “No Pain, No Gain”), and self-confidence grows incrementally as a student becomes more aware of the incredible things his or her body can do.

Many students find that this self-awareness is inspiration enough to adjust dietary habits, sleep habits and other contributing factors to obesity. When you no longer find yourself at odds with your self-image and body, you are more likely to take proper care of it.

Though official studies are still underway, evidence is already being found that a regular Yoga practice can be the key to maintaining a healthy body weight.

In the 2005 issue of the journal “Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine”, a paper was published that supported this link: In a lifestyle study of 15,500 adults in their 50s, researchers collected information about ten years of participants’ weight history, physical activity, medical history and diet. The study authors found that regular yoga practice was associated with a decreased incidence of age-related weight gain.

Yoga for Middle-Aged Men

Yoga for Middle-Aged Men
Yoga for Middle-Aged Men

Fitness Program for Aches, Impotence, Weight Gain Relief

Many men looking for meaningful fitness activities find yoga has been described as a cure-all for many physical ailments of the middle and senior years. It really can help.

Sometimes yoga is described as a panacea for all the ailments of the middle-aged man, from indigestion, hair loss, bad backs, joint pain, obesity, depression, anxiety, and impotence. In reality, yoga has many benefits, but it isn’t magic.

Yoga for Hair Loss

Losing scalp hair can be genetic. Hair can also be lost during times of stress, diet, or due to illness or medications. Inversions increase circulation to the scalp. Blood nourishes the area.

Proper breathing will decrease tension and anxiety. A calm mind puts the body back in balance, so stress-related problems such as hair loss could diminish.

Yoga for Middle-Aged Weight Loss

Yoga also emphasizes a proper diet. And has been shown to decrease middle-aged spread. Any regular exercise that moves a person off the couch will induce some weight loss and a feeling of well-being, but yoga can benefit in the following ways:

  • Ashtanga yoga is an athletic style of yoga that builds up heat within the body and can effectively be combined with a weight loss program.
  • Bikram is very popular for those wanting to get thin and initially heats the body externally in an overheated room. Water weight via sweat is instantly dropped, and with decreased food consumption, pounds are also lost.

Yoga for Men with Achy Joints and Bad Backs

Undoubtedly, yoga is a program that will increase flexibility. Select a Hatha style with props or Iyengar yoga, ideal for modifying poses and easing the body into a posture. Massaging with a bolster may help break up tight fibrous muscle tissue. A good instructor should be aware of back problems to modify the body and strengthen opposing areas to diminish the pain eventually. Yoga isn’t really about extreme flexibility, although becoming more limber in mind and body is a certainty of the practice regardless of its start. Regular exercise can lubricate joints and help back pain.

Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

Studies have verified the power of practice on mood disorders by elevating the brain’s GABA levels. The physical aspect of improved blood flow and concentration but decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing endorphins works to improve mood. The April 2009 Harvard Mental Health Letter details positive results of yoga for anxiety and depression, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Achieving physical balance in postures seems to create emotional balance as well.

Yoga and Impotence

Psychological aspects of impotence can be helped by regular practice with its stress reduction techniques.

  • Postures such as Kandasana that focus on the endocrine system and increasing oxygen intake have been discussed as a possible help, if not a cure.
  • The Cobra Pose increases oxygen intake while maintaining a flexible back and strengthening the shoulders, abdomen and arms. “Baby cobra” is a modification.
  • Anal lift affects the ductless endocrine gland. Mulabandhasana poses also affect the anus and pelvis.

Someone new begins yoga somewhere every day… At this point in life, there is no need to feel foolish as the newbie in class. No one cares, and the teacher is glad to have another student. Find a good beginner class at the Y or a community center to start. Some local schools only have beginner classes since all the students are new to yoga. There is no doubt yoga will improve well-being. A year from now, the new student is experienced. Begin now, where you are.

The Health Benefits of Yoga

The Health Benefits of Yoga
The Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga’s Effects on the Mind, Body, and Soul

Yoga can improve physical health & psychological disorders. Yoga has many health advantages, including better body image, decreased sadness, and weight reduction.

Yoga enhances the mind-body connection, which can improve your mood and physical health, and even lighten various psychological disorders. Improved depression, body image struggles, eating disorders, and even physical problems such as back pain and asthma are some of the health benefits of yoga practice and meditation.

The health benefits of yoga are initiated because you’re focusing on inner peace. Yoga is founded on the principles of self-realization, relaxation, concentration, and harmony. According to research, yoga advantages include alleviating a variety of illnesses, ranging from back pain to tiredness.

The health benefits of yoga: depression

Yoga can lift your mood and disposition, especially when combined with traditional treatments, by focusing your attention on how your emotions are expressed in your body. Negative feelings that are blocked or suppressed may come to the surface during certain hatha yoga poses, which move negative energy from “stuck” places in the body.

Psychotherapist Stephen Cope wrote Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. In this book that reveals many health benefits of yoga, Cope states that yoga creates familiar feelings of well-being. The National Institute for Mental Health in India found a 73% success rate in treating depression with the Sudarshan kriya technique. The relationship between yoga and depression is still undergoing scientific scrutiny – but whether you’re depressed or not, yoga can’t hurt your mood!

The health benefits of yoga transcend your mood and how you see yourself.

The health benefits of yoga: improved body image

Women who practice yoga report higher levels of body satisfaction, less self-objectification, and increased contentment with their physical appearance (compared to women who do not practice yoga). Women who practice yoga also report experiencing fewer symptoms of eating disorders, perhaps because yoga teaches you to listen to your body’s input and develop an awareness of your physical feelings. It, in turn, makes you less preoccupied with your appearance, gives you more positive views of your body, and helps you incorporate healthy eating habits in your life. Yoga may also help you tune out society’s messages that thin is the only excellent body shape, and only beautiful people are valuable. A healthy body image is one of the health benefits of yoga.

The health benefits of yoga: weight loss

According to a National Cancer Institute-funded study, regular yoga practice (30 minutes once a week) was connected to weight loss in subjects between 45 and 55. Yoga isn’t about burning calories; it’s more about becoming more aware of your body and when it’s full of food, stress, or conversation.

The health benefits of yoga concerning weight loss are that it’s easier to stop eating when your mind-body connection is strong. It is your knowledge of your body that improves, not necessarily the calorie burn. Yoga improves mindfulness and encourages a “gentle strength”, which positively affects weight loss and weight management.

The health benefits of yoga: improved physical health

Research is proving connections between good physical health and yoga. For instance, epileptic stress, back pain and fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis are all health problems that have been proven to be reduced by yoga practices – and that’s just barely scratching the surface of all the scientific research about yoga and health!

The health benefits of yoga: improved sensuality

Yoga can even improve your relationship and love life. When my husband and I participated in a weekly yoga class, we found ourselves much more romantic in the evenings! Depression and health problems aside, it can improve your overall disposition and mood. Even struggles like fear of intimacy and anxiety-based phobias can be enhanced with regular meditation and yoga.

Yoga Therapy Alternatives to Surgery and Medication

Yoga Therapy Alternatives to Surgery and Medication
Yoga Therapy Alternatives to Surgery and Medication

Yoga is a holistic practice that benefits overall wellness. Yoga empowers the practitioner to be self-healing and can address specific conditions.

The infinite variety of yoga movements has something for everyone. However, yoga is not practiced exclusively for the hale and hearty, the fit and flexible, and those suffering from ailments and injuries. Yoga may help repair bodily imbalances caused by cancer, diabetes, hormone problems, and digestive issues, among other things. It can also soothe pain and discomfort and facilitate healing after an injury or chronic physical ailments manifested by genetics or lifestyle.

While every case is specific, some general principles can be applied broadly to the topic of therapeutic yoga.

Pranayama and the Body’s Natural Healing Power

The breath is the body’s most powerful tool and most direct form of energy in its healing power. Prana is transported throughout the body by deep breathing in positive ions carried by oxygen molecules. It also stimulates the thymus gland, located beneath the sternum and connected to the fourth chakra. This gland controls the body’s immune functions.

Yoga’s Relaxation and Visualization Techniques Alleviate Stress and Promote Healing

Many relaxations and meditation exercises can help calm the mind and direct its energies towards the necessary positivity that stimulates the body’s healing power and restores balanced hormone production. Though meditation can be a complex process for some, any breathing or visualization exercises that relax the mind and body can be beneficial, regardless of the duration of the exercise. Whether or not the practitioner reaches a “meditative state” is irrelevant. “

Numerous practitioners have reported benefits from Yoga Nidra (yoga sleep), a guided type of relaxation accessible on CDs, DVDs, and in certain studios. The principle of yoga Nidra rests on setting a positive intention before the practice and allowing the subconscious mind to rest on that intention as one enters deep relaxation through a progressive series that relaxes the body, the mind, the conscious, and finally, the subconscious mind.

This procedure may be utilized to activate the body’s natural healing ability. It has been used to treat addiction, chronic illness, and conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression, often with dramatic results.

The Restorative Aspects of Mind/Body Practices

Hatha yoga’s asanas (poses) may be used to treat virtually any injury to the body’s soft tissues and misalignment of the skeletal structure and disorders affecting internal organ function when done correctly with yogic breathing. It involves directing the body’s healing energy to the area needing treatment using the breath and the mind’s awareness. It is also simply a matter of stretching, massaging, or aligning the space with simple movements.

In cases of strains, sprains, and soreness, passive stretches are best applied. In addition, such styles of yoga as Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga should be practiced. Suppose pain in the body arises from misalignment of the spine, pelvis, or joints. In that case, Iyengar Yoga and Hatha Yoga are recommended to address proper alignment of the body as it moves. The Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method are also systems of movement therapy that effectively treat ailments and retrain the body and mind.

Anatomical Effects of Poses

Asanas are often classified, which differ depending on the yoga tradition being cited. For example, some may organize them by orientation (standing, seated, prone, etc.), others by their effects on the body’s chakras, and others by the kind of energy they stimulate in the body (yin and yang, for example). Therapeutic applications can also organize Yoga asanas.

A few examples of disease or disorders of the internal organs commonly treated with asanas are gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, poor kidney function, and conditions of the female reproductive organs. Specific asanas have been designed to target particular parts of the body inside. Consult books, websites, and teachers for tips on specific asanas as they relate to certain conditions. The more one practices asana, the more one sees inherent logic in the application of asanas to specific areas of the body:

  • Asanas that compress the lower abdomen massage the organs in this area, such as the large intestine and colon.
  • Asanas that stretch and relax the soft belly relieve menstrual pain.
  • Asanas that twist the torso cleanse the digestive organs and soothe discomfort caused by too much acidity or toxicity in the oesophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
  • Asanas that massage or compress the back have a calming effect on the kidneys and alleviate menstruation discomfort.
  • In certain instances, asanas that invert the body alleviate headaches and congestion.

Poses’ Energetic Effects on the Endocrine System

The endocrine system’s main glands are aligned along the axis of the spine with the body’s seven major chakras. Asanas have the ability to excite or soothe the energies associated with these chakras; they have a direct effect on the associated endocrine glands. Thus, specific asanas can help treat thyroid disorders, reproductive issues, digestive problems, mood disorders, and depression simply by restoring the average hormone production of these glands.

Consulting professionals and professional resources in yoga to find treatments for special conditions can be a powerful complement to traditional Western medical treatment. It has been shown to accelerate healing, maintain health, and promote a holistic state of wellbeing in the hands of a regular practitioner.

How Yoga Reduces Stress

How Yoga Reduces Stress
How Yoga Reduces Stress

Worried, Anxious or Depressed? Do Yoga.

Are life problems making you anxious? When worry takes over, stress mounts. Gone is inner peace. Depression often follows. The practice of yoga helps you reduce stress.

Psychologists can help anxiety-ridden people sort out their problems and suggest solutions. But what about the damage stress does to your heart, blood pressure, and immune system? According to Timothy McCallum, M.D., author of Yoga and Medicine, one way to get calm and undo the damaging effects of high anxiety and stress is to practice yoga. His book explains the healing benefits of yoga for 40 conditions or diseases. “The breath is utilized in yoga to relax the neurological system, which in turn helps to quiet the mind,” writes Dr McCall. “Yoga asserts that when the mind is still, more wisdom from within becomes available, promoting both creativity and healing.”

Calm Your Mind

Yoga requires concentration. The postures (asanas) are new, and they need reflective practice. While focusing on correct body alignment to do a pose beneficially, it is hard to dwell on your problems. “In yoga, you do spiritual practice that affects the physical,” Dr McCall explains. “You calm and strengthen the nervous system, which has a positive effect on the mind. You cultivate peace of mind, and it affects the nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system.” In yoga, repetitive, nagging, obsessive thoughts about what you fear, or hate are examples of the “monkey mind.”

Most people think that the constant mental dialogue in their heads is regular. They are thinking continuously about past hurts or failures, or future dreams and hopes, but rarely experiencing the goodness of the present moment. Yoga trains you to live in the now and experience freedom from negative habitual thoughts. That alone will help with stress reduction, according to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spiritual Healing and Life Science Foundation.

Yoga for Physical Fitness

Yoga is a mind-body discipline that dates back to ancient Indian philosophy, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) website. In addition, yoga is an involved religious practice for many practitioners worldwide. Yet following the tenants of any religion, or even having any beliefs at all, is not necessary to gain significant benefit from practicing yoga.

While many people practice yoga to elevate their spiritual life, many others are merely seeking improved physical fitness. In the United States, yoga is often offered at gyms and spas and some hospitals as part of a wellness program. “Yoga has been proven in studies to improve mood and sense of well-being, reduce stress, slow the heart rate and blood pressure, and expand lung capacity. In addition, it improves muscle relaxation and body composition, and aids with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia, “states NCCAM.

Yoga Helps Meditation

Yoga has spiritual effects hard to ignore. In the conscious act of controlled breathing and focused awareness of the body, yoga practitioners frequently report an experience of “mindfulness.” In this state, you can achieve an understanding of your being in a non-judgmental way. While doing yoga, the goal is to achieve a harmonious and balanced state of mind and body which can be used as a doorway to meditation. A meditative state of contentment may not last long for the beginner, but with regular yoga practice, it will become prolonged. Teachers will spend time leading the class in a chant or mantra in some techniques, the most popular being the sound “Om” Chanting, especially in a group, calms the nerves.

How to Study Yoga

Yoga is a far more complex system of practices than a few simple exercises. It is an art, according to B.K.S. Iyengar, a yoga teacher whose comprehensive methods are famous worldwide. There are many kinds of yoga classes in almost every major city globally, and they won’t be hard to find. Some are more strenuous than others. The quality of training can pose a problem since some teaching certificates from certain yoga schools are easier to obtain than others.

Teacher training and experience is crucial. One way to get started is to study yoga by watching yoga tapes. They can be rented or checked out of the library. After watching various workout tapes, not necessarily doing them, you will comprehend that yoga has many different forms and styles to accomplish many other ends. One single method, or some schools of yoga and styles, may not be what your body needs for a healthier and happier life. Choose with wisdom.


Yoga has thousands of variations, and some specific yoga poses may not be suitable for you. In addition, you can get injured doing yoga improperly. Yoga is not for everyone. Yoga is not an instant fix. It takes time and patience to undo years of physical neglect. People with medical conditions or diseases should get the advice of their physician before starting a yoga program. Yoga is not a substitute for good medical care but can complement it.