Benefits of Yoga
Here’s a pretty heavily abridged summary of some significant aspects of Yoga’s benefits!
Yoga helps to correct musculo-skeletal imbalances by strengthening and tonifying core muscles within the body which have often become redundant, and then in turn enabling overworked peripheral muscles to relax and let go. Result = alleviation of tension and physical stress.
Our understanding of how our overall physiology relates to the state of our internal organs is generally vastly misunderstood. (I’m also an acupuncturist and understands these relationships well) Different organs connect with different layers of connective tissue within the body. The postures stimulate the connective tissue and fascia, which in turn then stimulate the organs back to balance. Also, the various yoga postures similarly compress and stimulate organs themselves which enable them to relax – in turn similarly relaxing the muscle groups they relate to.
As soon as your stress reflex becomes activated within the body, your breathing rhythm becomes effected, this sends the body into a downward spiral of stress (note how many relaxation techniques involve deep breathing). Yoga helps to relax your diaphragm and consciously re-establish a more natural breathing rhythm.
All of the various stress responses above effect your hormones, creating an overly acidic state with elevated levels of cortisol. This in turn effects the natural balance of feel good hormones within the body. Yoga and relaxation helps to stimulate endorphins and the relaxation response and reduce elevated cortisol levels. Anxiety also particularly benefits from this, along with a lot of associated (often addictive) behaviours which are often driven by these imbalances.
Sense of Presence: (Being in the moment!)
When we are stressed we tend not to be present within our physical feelings, emotions, and our attention and awareness becomes scatty and jumpy, Everything around us has to then become more fast and furious to enable us to feel as the stress has numbed us out to experiencing our actual feelings. We can then also tend to make poor decisions. Yoga calms your brainwave patterns bringing you more into the moment, feeling more naturally appreciative of more the more subtle things in life!
Stillness of Mind:
When your body is stressed and overworked, then your mind is also restless. I’m an expert on the body-mind connection and can talk to you all day about this. Calm the body down and the mind will calm down too. Certainly not a bad thing!
Well, couldn’t really miss this one out could I! Of course difficult to quantify, you could think it’s a load of nonsense this idea of a broader sense of self and inner satisfaction that all is well, but it would be one hell of a coincidence that over time so many people have aligned the practice of yoga with feeling this sense of inner wellbeing if it had no grounds for reality. But, like the practice itself, it’s a journey one has to engage with, rather than imagine the answer to.
Sense of Community:
Particularly with our classes (since you actually get to speak to people at our classes + socials) being in class gives you a sense of shared humanity, shared experience of trying to strive towards greater wellbeing and a practice which lifts you above the subjective nature of modern day culture. It might be 2015 folks, but a yoga class can be pretty timeless as you try to achieve the inner peace which each person has similarly strived for since the advent of humanity! Not withstanding that different people have different approaches of course!
And there’s more…
If you’d like to find out more about how yoga benefits you on a subtle level such as how it affects your Chakra system and alleviates discordant energetic impressions from the body, then do go and check out my work on the Body-mind connection!