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Yoga is a disciplined mind and body exercise that focuses on breathing, posture, and mindfulness. The practice of yoga is over 5,000 years old. No matter how old or new the practice is, the amazing health benefits of yoga for women especially should not be ignored.
Often people think of Yoga as religious in nature or only for those that don’t eat meat or for those that can’t do more rigours exercise. The truth is that it can be none of those things or all of those things. It all depends on what YOU want to make out of it.
Yoga is an individual experience of someone with very individual goals.
Purpose of Yoga
There are five main goals or elements of yoga. These five main elements are :
- Physical Health – This is not just a simple act of exercise. But this also includes the food that we eat. The practice of Yoga is more than what we do physically on the mat.
- Mental Health – Yoga allows one to quiet the mind. Stillness is healing for the soul. And the mind/body connection is undeniably strong.
- Social Health – Interaction with the world around you and those whom you keep close have a profound effect on our overall health.
- Spiritual Health – We all have different beliefs. Yoga allows us a connection to the higher power. Whether that is God, the universe, the Earth, or whatever it means for you.
- Self-Realization – Lastly, this means recognizing the “oneness with the truth”. An extension of Spiritual Health. We have all that we need in us.
Health Benefits of Yoga for Women
Yoga is great for increasing flexibility over time. It may not happen overnight, but nothing does, right? Being more flexible can help prevent injuries and strains and just simply make life more enjoyable.
Muscles strength and tone will increase with Yoga. Yoga is not just sitting and breathing. There are a lot of movements that require tremendous strength. The fantastic thing about Yoga, though, is that there are different levels and you can build up to the more complex movements.
There are a lot of lengthening exercises in Yoga. As we increase our flexibility and strength and learn new positions, our overall posture will improve. Many of us spend a lot of time hunched over a computer or a phone and Yoga really helps to battle the damage that this can do.
A straight spine can alleviate strain and balance the whole body.
Yoga is a great low impact program for those looking to lose weight.
As with most strengthing programs, Yoga can help improve bone strength. For women, this is especially important as we age.
Studies show that Yoga is known to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Lowers Stress Levels
Through deep breathing exercises and practicing mindfulness, Yoga helps us manage stress levels.
Regular yoga practice has been found to be very beneficial to those suffering from lower back pain and neck pain.
Yoga can help lower cortisol levels, helping to regulate the functioning of your adrenal glands.
Yoga for Menopause! Who would have thought? Yoga has been shown to alleviate some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes!
Yoga in Ayurveda
Yoga is very prominent in the practice and experience of Ayurveda. If you are new to Ayurveda, please check out this article on Basic Ayurveda. Practicing Yoga AND other Ayurveda principles will allow one to take their emotional, spiritual and physical health to another level!
Luckily you don’t need much for Yoga. You really don’t need anything other than yourself and a positive attitude. But there are some basics that I like to have on hand, though, because it makes things more comfortable for me (especially in the beginning)!