Over the past few decades, the Eastern meditation and exercise practice called yoga has grown in popularity both in the United States and the across the globe. While many are relatively familiar with poses such as the downward dog and child’s pose that have been adopted into exercise classes like Pilates and Barre, much of the population remains unversed in the full health benefits of yoga beyond just getting into shape.
Yoga if often incorporated into a holistic health approach to medicine because its low-impact movements and breathing techniques offer benefits for all areas of a person’s well-being— from the emotional state to the physical makeup. In this blog, we are going to explore how consistently practicing targeted poses and breathing rhythms can help decrease stress, relieve pressure in muscles and joints, and even promote better sleep at night!
First, let’s start with a general overview-
According to an article titled Benefits of Yoga: What’s Your Yoga Personality from the Dr. Axe Food is Medicine blog, “Yoga is meditative, “mind-body” movement practice.” While many forms of exercise are primarily physical, yoga adds controlled breathing into the physical aspects of exercise to both strengthen and relax the body simultaneously.
Evolving over time, new schools of thought regarding yoga have surfaced, each focusing on different aspects of mind and body health. Some yoga poses push the physical body more vigorously. Others narrow in on repetition and consistency, requiring practice over a period of time before mastery is possible. The type of yoga a person chooses to practice should be dependent on their own personal health needs.
So, what is prescriptive yoga?
Through years of study, researchers have found that practiced on a semi-regular basis, yoga can help prevent certain illnesses. Because yoga helps to increase blood flow, release pressure buildup in muscles and joints, and promote relaxation, yoga can actively help fight the following health issues:
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic pain
- Toxic buildup
- Irregular digestion
- Sleep disorders
How does yoga accomplish these things?
Many people unknowingly hold stress in parts of their body that, over time, have damaging effects. Whether it’s clenching, slouching, or tensing, the buildup of toxins in the areas that are harboring the stress can cause chronic health issues. Yoga helps identify where the buildups are occurring and through intentional muscle movement, breaks down the toxin buildups. When practiced regularly, yoga actually prevents these buildups from occurring and thus prevents the chronic issues that follow as a result.
On a mental and emotional level, the benefits of yoga are vast because yoga devotes much time to relaxation and meditation. Yoga is advantageous in calming the mind and the spirit in two ways in particular —identification of stress and replication of calming techniques. In our fast-paced society, people do not often take the time to stop and identify stress. Because yoga allows intentional space for relaxation, a person can more easily recognize stress as it enters their thoughts and force the mind to come back to a place of rest. After consistently practicing these relaxation techniques, yoga can help a person apply these same tactics in stressful situations that arise from day to day.
The takeaway: No matter your current fitness level or health conditions, yoga can help create a positive rhythm for your body and mind that we are sure will improve your overall wellbeing.
If you are interested in giving yoga a try, check out Bliss Yoga in downtown Columbus. For the month of August, we are partnering with Bliss to offer you a fun discount that just might get you on that yoga mat and into a better flow of life!
Posted in: Elizabeth Adams MD, Mindfulness