What is yoga
Yoga is a several thousand year old physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. Yoga routines consist of poses combined with breathing exercises. Over 20 million people in America now practice yoga on a regular basis.
8 proven benefits of yoga
Research in to regular yoga practice indicates:
- Yoga can improve cardiovascular health. Several studies have shown a link between practicing yoga and reduced blood pressure.
- Yoga can help with lower back and neck pain. Research from Israel suggests that yoga stretching exercises can help reduce lower back and neck pain.
- Yoga can help brain function. A recent study found that yoga can improve memory function and may reduce depression.
- Yoga can help with diabetes. A study of 30 people with type 2 diabetes found that practicing yoga significantly reduced their blood sugar levels.
- Yoga can help with stress and anxiety. Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, boost mood and improve control over anxiety.
- Yoga can decrease depressive symptoms. In conjunction with other treatments a 1 hour yoga practice for 24 weeks helped drop depressive symptoms.
- Yoga can lower risk of cancer. An oncology study found that practicing yoga twice a week for three months during cancer treatment can reduce the risk of it returning.
- Yoga can help you live longer. Adopting a yoga and meditation lifestyle can help remove some of the signs of aging.
How to make yoga a habit
The great thing about yoga is it can be practiced anywhere – lending itself to habit creation. Pick the method that works best for you:
- Find a local yoga class, phone them to book your place, invite a friend and then put it on your calendar. Making a commitment to the instructor and a friend will increase the chances of you going.
- Download a yoga app for your phone like “5 minute yoga,” “Fitstar yoga” or “Simply yoga” and then set a reminder on your phone. All you need are some comfortable clothes, a yoga mat and a little space on the floor. Yoga really is perfect for practicing anywhere.
- Buy a yoga DVD or book or find a yoga routine on Youtube and set a reminder to do it.