Yoga for health

I've recently returned to Yoga after a break of many decades. Now it seems I'm hooked and it's become one of my key health activities for this year. I urge you to make it one of yours.

Yoga is a particularly good form of exercise for older women, as it enhance core stability, balance, stamina and flexibility. I'm currently working on postures to help lift mood, cleanse the body and improve stamina. What a way to start the new year!

For those who are not yet converts let me give you a quick review of what Yoga is and how you too can benefit from it.

Yoga is an ancient  form of physical exercise which  combines postures with meditation and breathing. There are many styles; the most popular being Hatha. I do Ashtanga, which is actually quite dynamic and demanding and I'm still a little surprised that I can keep up!

So, what are the health benefits?

According to the John Hopkins School of Medicine Yoga has been shown to -

  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce the pain associated with chronic diseases
  • Eliminate headaches and insomnia
  • Increase stamina in athletes
  • Improve quality of life for some individuals with cancer 

Here  in the UK in the last few days there has been some press coverage about Yoga and health. Recently published studies, involving hundreds of patients, has demonstrated that Yoga practice can help control the joint pain, morning stiffness and depression associated with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. This in turn helps to improve physical function and quality of life.

Other research  has also demonstrated the health benefits of meditation on brain function and suggests that regular meditation might go someway towards  preventing Alzheimer's Disease. I've recently become aware of the many benefits of Laughter Yoga. I'll be attending a training course in this practice at the end of next month and I'll share my experiences with you all. So watch this space!

If you're new to Yoga I would recommend a teacher led class. The right teacher is worth their weight in gold and its worth getting one that comes recommended. Also, if you have specific health issues and (like me) need alternative postures and options, having a teacher supervising your practice is safer.  If you live in the north east of England Liz,  my yoga teacher, runs classes in Newcastle and Tyneside and comes recommended.

Make time for yourself. Here's to a good stretch and flex!

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