Calming chaos with yoga

Originating in ancient India, yoga was practiced as a means of achieving moksha—a theological goal of spiritual liberation and enlightenment. Similarly, in modern Western times, yoga provides a temporary gap of peace and freedom in our normally chaotic lives. Yoga involves conscious breathing, meditation, and restorative poses that encourage relaxation while connecting the mind and body into one. Though it can seem intimidating at first, yoga is a great activity for all ages and abilities as it offers many physical and mental health benefits, just some of which are listed below.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced yogi, head over to the weekly yoga sessions held in the Ballrooms on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Reduces stress and relieve anxiety

With its focus on relaxation and mindful breathing, yoga has been shown to reduce stress by way of significant decrease in the secretion of cortisol (the primary stress hormone). Additionally, studies have suggested that yoga can help people cope with anxiety and its symptoms as it highlights the importance of serenity and tranquility. By practicing yoga, people can attain a unique sense of stillness and peace that can ultimately improve stress levels and anxiety symptoms.

Improves flexibility and balance

Lack of flexibility is a big reason for people not wanting to try yoga; the different stretches and poses have shown to improve both flexibility and balance. Though yoga may prove to be difficult at first, frequent sessions will gradually increase flexibility and balance through both its simple and complex routines. So even if you aren’t flexible, don’t be afraid to try yoga because it will help stretch out those muscles and even improve balance!

Enhances cardiovascular system

Multiple studies have found that yoga is heart-healthy and promotes cardiovascular wellness. It has shown to lower blood pressure and the heart rate, which are important to maintain as they can be significant factors in heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. Yoga’s exercise and relaxation aspects are some of the reasons why it has been added to many cardiac rehabilitation programs. Keep your heart healthy and happy!

May reduce chronic pain

Many people are affected by chronic pain whether it be from an injury or a condition such as carpal tunnel or osteoarthritis. Research has suggested that practicing yoga can decrease types of chronic pain. Though more studies are needed, adding yoga to your routine has shown to reduce pain and improve function.

Encourages mindfulness

A large component of yoga includes deep reflection and meditation that promotes the mindfulness of being present in the moment without judgment. Mindfulness is critical in reducing stress and improving both physical and mental health as well as your overall well-being. This important dynamic is pertinent in everyday situations such as school, athletics, diet/exercise, careers, and more. Practicing yoga has been suggested to enhance this sense of awareness and appreciation.

Improves overall fitness

Though it doesn’t seem like a workout, yoga is a great source of exercise that can be beneficial to your overall health. While it relaxes your mind, yoga can also improve muscle strength and endurance as well as cardiorespiratory fitness (the body’s ability to supply oxygen to the muscles during prolonged physical activity). No, it isn’t the same as going to the weight room, but it certainly has its own list of benefits!

Something you can do almost anywhere

Even with all these benefits, one of the best parts of yoga is that you can do it almost anywhere. You can sign up at a studio or go to the Ballrooms on Wednesdays to keep yourself accountable. You can do it in the comfort of your own room (thanks to YouTube). You can even grab some friends, throw down some mats, and practice at a local park or even the MARC Lawn. Yoga is a great way to relax, destress, and exercise without having to worry where or when you can participate!

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