Monday, June 29, 2009


A little off the subject of design, but I just got back from an amazing yoga class and I feel so much better. I started doing yoga about 6 months ago when school was pretty stressful and I was having a lot of muscle aches and pains and trouble sleeping. After my first class, I immediately felt better, just the stretching aspect of yoga was just what I needed after a long day of sitting through design classes. After a few months I started noticing my legs and arms getting stronger and my aches and pains lessening. I also had a better handle on some of the stress I was feeling from my last year of school. I always feel so refreshed after an hour long yoga class twice a week. I love that you don't need any equipment to practice it (except a mat if you want) and you can really do it anywhere from at home or outdoors or even in your hotel room on vacation. Yoga really has a lot of health benefits and is great for people of all ages. I've even had the five year old that I nanny for enjoy doing it!

Some of the benefits of yoga include:

Flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to muscles and joints. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders and hips.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg. Some exercises require you to move slowly in and out of poses, which also increases strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don't give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Benefits

Mental Calmness: Yoga practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are doing yoga. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping put things into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started.

Read more of this article here.

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