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Open your Eyes to Yoga
by Charlotte Bradley, YogaFlavoredLife.com
Is it possible that a fitness program can enhance clarity of mind, increase your body’s natural immunity to disease and illness, strengthen and tone your muscles, and provide a sense of inner peace and balance? More than simply another workout, yoga can give you all of these benefits. Plus it’s just a lot of fun!
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years as a way to shape the body, focus the mind, and energize the spirit. In the western world, yoga has not always been viewed in such a positive light. However, as many people are coming to see and experience the real benefits, yoga is rapidly gaining popularity and has moved into the mainstream.
Health and Fitness Benefits
Yoga is a total body workout that works on many levels to increase your overall fitness.
- Decreases blood pressure
- Improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Helps you manage stress and regulate mood
- Increases your lung capacity
- Enhances your sense of well-being
- Increases flexibility
- Strengthens core muscles
Yoga is also an effective treatment for joint stiffness and can gently increase mobility that may have been lost due to surgery or injury. Many athletes come to yoga for rehabilitation and find it so useful and enjoyable that they later incorporate yoga into their regular training regimen.
“It sounds like a bunch of mystic bologna to me …”
While traditional yoga can help you get in touch with your spiritual side, if that doesn’t interest you, yoga is still a great total-body workout that helps you build muscle, lose body fat, and look and feel better than ever. You may be surprised to find how physically challenging certain styles, such as power yoga, can be. Focus on the physical practice and poses and reap the many physiological benefits. In time, I can almost guarantee you’ll grow to appreciate the mental benefits as well.
“I just don’t have enough time.”
Yoga philosophers believe that no yoga practice is ever lost. If you can only spend 10 minutes a day, or attend one class per week, you will still benefit and that benefit will never be lost. You can practice anywhere - in class, at home or at the beach if you’re really lucky! Yoga requires very little equipment (just a yoga mat for comfort and safety), a bit of space, and perhaps a DVD to guide you.
While it’s true that the more advanced forms of yoga are strenuous and will test even the fittest of bodies, there are many different types of yoga classes available. You can easily find a style of yoga that suits your needs. Whether you are looking for a tough workout, want to go deeply into poses to increase flexibility or are looking to unwind, there is a yoga practice for you.
So what’s stopping you? Open your eyes (and your mind) to yoga and find out just what it can do for you.
Charlotte Bradley is the publisher of YogaFlavoredLife.com and an avid yoga practitioner herself. She was a student of karate for many years and took up yoga tentatively only after a knee injury persuaded her to find a less high-impact form of exercise. Surprised by just how quickly yoga sped her rehabilitation along, Charlotte quickly found that yogic relaxation techniques lent her the proper focus to bring balance into her life and appreciate what she already had. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband and twin boys, Charlie and Patty, who keep her on her feet and on the go. Her golden retriever supervises Charlotte’s yoga workouts from a spare mat, with his eyes closed.
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