Yoga is a commonly known mental, physical and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainhism, Sikhism. The word Yoga means to unite or join together; therefore it brings the body and mind together as one. This is achieved through a series of postures, breathing and meditation.
In the 1980’s yoga became a popular form of exercise and was not only used to promote better health but also longer life and a heightened understanding of the “Self” (inner-being). Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma and heart patients. In a national survey, long-term yoga practitioners in the United States reported both physical and mental health improvement.
Through the three main principles of yoga (exercise, breathing and meditation), it has been scientifically supported to show both a normalization of blood pressure and an increase in oxygenated blood flow to the various organs of the body. We think that we are doing our bodies good by relaxing on the couch after a long day, but in reality we are not. The body stores stagnant energy which causes the organs to remain de-oxygenated which will eventually create physical disease.
When practiced on a regular basis, yoga also promotes strength which helps to build strong and lean muscles. Other benefits of yoga, just to name a few include: toning of the digestive system, strengthens abdominal muscles, naturally detoxifies the organs, helps reduce fat, eliminates unpleasant smells from the body, regulates the menstrual cycle, improves memory, and improves flexibility.
If you do not already practice yoga or partake in any type of physical activity I would recommend starting at a beginners level. I do highly recommend the “10 Minute Solution” series. It is five 10 minute work out segments of basic yoga. You can start with 10 minutes and then work yourself up to 50 minutes or you can mix and match to create your own workout.