September happens to be National Yoga Month. Have you tried yoga? It’s been quite some time since I personally tried yoga. I wasn’t drawn to it immediately. I actually found it to be very challenging. Yoga appears to be an unassuming exercise but it can really challenge your body, mind and spirit.
So what exactly is yoga? Yoga is a multi-disciplined practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Yoga combines varying physical postures, breathing exercises and mediation. There are different types of yoga that range from gentle to challenging. The challenge with yoga is that you have to maintain a physical posture while controlling your breathing. It takes focus and concentration to maintain your posture and control your breathing at the same time, it’s like “mind over matter.” You need balance in order to maintain posture, thus your center, which is your core, your back and abdominal muscles become engaged. When you engage your core, you increase your core strength. Not only does your core get engaged but multiple muscles, tendons and ligaments are activated when maintaining posture. Muscles become lean and flexibility increases.
The physical benefits of yoga are numerous as outlined above, but in addition, we in the medical community see it’s benefits in the following:
- it helps to reduces stress
- it can lower heart rate and blood pressure
- it can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia.
If you are looking to take your fitness to another level or if you simply want to mix up your routine try yoga, you may be surprised how your body, mind and spirit transform.
by Marjorie Binette, MD