Benefits of Stretching and Flexing Your Body

stretchingThe topic of stretching continues to evoke a lot of debate and controversy in the fitness industry. Stretching is very important for flexibility, injury prevention and a range of motions. You should include stretching in your daily workout as it very important in achieving an ultimately functioning body. Stretching relaxes your muscles and helps in increasing blood flow as well as the supply of nutrients to your muscles and cartilage.

Maintaining a flexible body is very important and here are the reasons.

Improves athletic performance

A part of being fit means you can respond to changing environments and terrains. This, in turn, helps you in building different muscles in your body as well as keeping your mind in shape. When you have a flexible body, you have a greater motor control and the ability to respond to the demands of your environment well. With greater flexibility, you have a greater range of motion around your joints. This helps you utilize the full potential of your muscles. From the sporting point, the greater the flexibility you have, the better your performance.

 

Better functional movement

stairsFlexibility supports the better functional movement. Being flexible gives you the ability to perform vital movements that you need in your daily life. These are movements such as bending down to pick a pen, reaching for your phone, lifting a baby, sweeping the floor among others. If you are very tight and have a very limited range of motions, it becomes very difficult to perform these tasks.

 

Prevention of illness

Being flexible helps you in preventing injury and various types of illness. Having a leaner body helps your muscles to react to quick and uncertain body movements as well as strains you encounter during workouts. This flexibility also increases your blood flow to your muscles. It also improves your overall circulation to help you get protected from illnesses such as diabetes and heart diseases. With a flexible body, you also have flexibility in your arteries and this reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Good Posture

Flexibility aids in good posture. When you have poor flexibility, you place a lot of strain on your muscles and joints and this is not where strain should be. When you stretch, you increase your flexibility and this helps in balancing the tension that is placed across the joints of your muscles. When you have a stiff muscle, it may lead to overexertion and even the pulling on another part of your body, and this changes the way you hold your body. When you gain flexibility in the large muscles in your lower body, it can help reduce stress on your lower back and reduce chronic back pain.

Getting in shape

Flexibility training helps you to get in touch with your body. When you are working out, you are doing it so fast and it can be a bit difficult to get in touch with your body. When you stretch, you give yourself an opportunity to continue these moves while being in sync with your body. Despite the very many benefits of stretching, you should be keen not to overdo it. When you overstretch, you can easily raise the risks of strain, dislocation, and sprain.

 

 

How To Lose Weight Through Yoga

Do all various forms of yoga help and promote weight loss? With the many variations out there, which one is the best for weight loss? Yoga has gained immense popularity and with popularity, comes many myths and misconceptions. This guide evaluates the correlation between yoga and weight loss and how the exercise/practice affects our bodies. You need a good yoga mat and a place that allows you to do the practice without interruptions.

Correlation of yoga and weight loss

Yoga, by virtual of being an exercise, contributes to increased metabolism. Some of its exercises are physically challenging and helps in burning calories. The activities that are difficult increase the heart rate, lengthen and tense muscles, and make joints supple and flexible. As a direct form of exercise, and in partnership with a good diet plan, certain forms of the practice that involve speed, high tempo cardio workout and strength lead to weight loss.

What kind of yoga

If you do not have an experience of practicing yoga, you need to start with beginner level classes. As you advance, you will burn more calories in vinyasa classes. These are usually fast-paced series of poses that involve deeper stretches. Quick yoga may help one to lose weight. However, there are a few parameters that decide the pace of your weight loss. Dedication, determination, and discipline should be adhered to, for an effective weight loss campaign. The top sweat yoga styles that promote weight loss include;

Ashtanga

Ashtanga is a very hard style of practice, and its practitioners are among the most dedicated yogis. Beginners are advised to sign up for a series of classes to stay motivated. This style follows a similar sequence and once mastered, one can practice anytime at home on their own.

Power Yoga

Power yoga is extremely popular at gym and health clubs. It is based on building the heat and intensity of Ashtanga with many varies poses.

Integral Yoga

Just as the name suggests, integral involves integrating the body and mind with the goal of living a healthier life. Poses such as the cobra and plank positions promote high-calorie burn.

Ways in which yoga promote weight loss

When the poses are practiced under the guidance of a qualified trainer, the benefits will be quick to show. Excess weight can be quickly shed with health restored. Weight loss is promoted via;

– Stimulation of the vital force of the liver

– Activation of the thyroid gland

– The body creates the right pH balance

– Activation of the internal heat in the nervous system

– When moving the body with strength

– Having the heart rate raised up through various moves.

Contemporary yoga forms such as power yoga are abundant in movements that promote agility and calorie burning. Any kind of exercise that elevate your heart rate contribute to fat burning or muscle building of which result in weight loss. For a true weight loss via yoga, you need a balanced diet routine so that you do not sabotage your weight loss efforts with bad eating habits.

The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Yogis have been publicizing and sharing the benefits of consistent yoga practice for thousands of years and finally scientists are now confirming much of what yoga practitioners have known all along. There are broad mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of consistent yoga practice. Many of the yogic theory and practice lead to increased self-knowledge.

Many of these benefits have been researched and confirmed through scientific study while others are purely anecdotal, having been upheld by those who regularly practice and experience the benefits of yoga practice. The emotional advantages of the practice are most fulfilling and long lasting.

The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Practicing Yoga

In an overview, regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, relieves chronic stress patterns, increases body awareness, centers attention, relaxes the mind and sharpens concentration.

Self-awareness

Yoga strives to increase self-awareness on both the physical and psychological levels. Practicing it can provide those with chronic pain useful tools to deal actively with their pain and counter the feelings of helplessness and depression. It releases the buildup of lactic acid to steer an improved self-awareness.

Mental performance

A common technique used in yoga is breathing through one nostril at a time. Studies about electrical impulses of the brain have shown that breathing through one nostril results in increased activity on the opposite side of the brain. This helps in improving communication between the right and left side of the brain.

Mood change and vitality

Mental health and physical energy may be difficult to quantify, but those who participate in yoga over a period reports a positive effect on their energy levels. There is increased brain activity and enhanced cognitive performance. It helps one heal mentally and physically towards a healthy and happy life.

Helps in relieving anxiety and depression

Activities such as relaxation, socialization, meditation, and exercise are helpful in reducing the anxiety and depression levels. Yoga enables the accomplishment of these by helping regulate a person’s stress response system. It has the ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as improving respiration resolving anxiety and depression.

Boosts memory and improves concentration

The practice of yoga has been documented to be effective in improving one’s memory and concentration. It offers a perfect way of clearing the mind and calming one’s senses. As one removes the static noise in their head and focus the mind, you get in a position of remembering things, you get a better concentration and better performance.

Yoga reduces the effects of traumatic experiences

People who have been abused or involved in violence/combat develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients who are suffering from this mental illness frequently experience nightmares and flashbacks. Hatha Yoga has been known to provide an adequate remedy for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Considerations in adopting yoga practice include the style of practice, instructor credentials, experience, style, and level of ability, schedule, and the desired outcome. Yoga can be practiced in many styles from more aggressive and active forms such as Ashtanga and power yoga to more meditative ones such as Hatha.

The Pre-Classical, Classical, Post-Classical and Modern Historical Milestones of Yoga

The actual history of yoga has many places of obscurity and uncertainty due to the oral transmission of its sacred text and the secretive nature of its teachings. The early writings of yoga were transcribed on crisp palm leaves that were easily lost, damaged or destroyed. The developments of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, with some researchers urging that it could be as good as 10,000 years ago. The long history of yoga can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice and development.

Pre-classical yoga

This was the beginning of yoga that was characterized by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India, 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts called the Rig Veda. Vedas represented a collection of texts that contained songs, rituals, and mantras used by the priests.

Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the priest as they documented their practice and beliefs in the Upanishads. This was an extensive work that contained more than 200 scriptures. The Upanishads took the idea of ritual sacrifice from the Vedas and internalized it, teaching the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action, and wisdom.

Classical Yoga

The classical period is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras, which is the first systematic presentation of yoga. This stage tries to categorize the various ideas, beliefs and techniques that conflicted and contradicted each other during the pre-classical period. The classical period existed sometime in the second century.

Patanjali described the practice of yoga into an eight-limbed path that contained the steps and stages towards achieving self-enlightenment. Patanjali is often viewed as the father of yoga and his yoga-sutras strongly influence most styles in today’s modern yoga.

Post-classical yoga

A few centuries after the existence of Patanjali, yoga masters created a system of practice that was designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. These masters rejected the teachings of ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body, as the actual means of achieving the enlightenment.

Tantra yoga was developed with revolutionary techniques to cleanse the body and mind and break the knots that bind the physical existence. The exploration of the physical-spiritual connections and body-centered practices led to the creation of what is referred to as Hatha Yoga.

Modern Period

Yoga practice began to gain popularity in the west at the beginning of the 19th century. It was deeply influenced by the spiritual and religious ideas that represented a radical break from the grass-root yoga lineage from the Indians.

In the late 1800s and 1900s, the yoga masters began to travel to the west. This attracted a lot of attention and followers. It started in 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago when Swami Vivekananda wowed the attendees with his lectures about yoga and the universality of the world’s religions.

In the 1920s, Hatha yoga was significantly promoted in India with the notable works of T Krishnamacharya, Swami and others practicing the Hatha. Krishnamacharya opened the first Hatha Yoga School in Mysore while, in 1936, Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of holy Ganges River. Sivananda was a prolific author who wrote over 200 books on yoga and established nine ashrams with numerous yoga centers located around the world.

The importance of yoga to the West continued until Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. After that, more western and Indian teachers have become pioneers, popularizing the Hatha yoga and gaining millions of followers.

The Future

Today, we have very many styles in which yoga is practiced. It has evolved substantially over time. Even if we wanted to preserve it exact way it was thousands of years ago, really we could not. Yoga is undergoing a punctuated step in its evolution. Emerging new styles are cropping up with lots of academic focus.

The India civilization can claim to be the oldest enduring civilization in the world. Yoga practitioners have largely benefited from the India’s protracted experimentation with life and the exploration of the mysteries of the mind.

To create a good life, we are not looking at the ancient practices of yoga, but the current practices that are shaping the art. The great evolution of yoga is returning focus from the ancient things to present things. Modern yoga creates an awesome way of connecting ourselves, our creativity and our intuition.

Top 10 Physical Benefits of Yoga

As humans, we need to keep our expectations in check about our bodies, as the body is prone to wearing out. One way of repairing our aging tissues is through yoga. Developed in India thousand years ago, Yoga has become a popular form of exercise all over the world. It is a healing system of theory and practice. Increased stress levels have influenced the rise of yoga.

The purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. Most of the practices revolve around breathing exercises, meditation and assuming of postures that stretch and flex various muscle groups. It delivers many benefits to those who incorporate it into their everyday lives.

The physical benefits of yoga

At the start, we must understand what we can gain out of this awesome practice. At the physical level, yoga and its cleansing benefits have proven to be extremely effective for various disorders. Its advantages include the following;

Increased flexibility

Yoga practice has moves that act upon the various body joints. Flexible joints require less energy to move through a greater range of motions allowing the body to perform important movements such as walking, kicking, running and jumping.

Increased lubrication of joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Yoga positions lubricate different tendons and ligaments of the body. The body that might have been quite rigid experiences a remarkable flexibility in those parts that do not consistently get worked upon.

Massaging all organs of the body

Yoga is the ultimate form of activity that massages all the internal glands and organs of the body. It acts in an exemplary manner on various body parts stimulating the organs and keeping away diseases.

Core strength

The practice strengthens the body core thus improving one’s posture. It helps in healing and reducing injuries thus contributing to the overall body strength.

Increased energy

An Oxford study found that the practice of yoga keeps the body moving. The body needs and wants to move, and the practice is a wonderful means if doing it. There are modifications for each pose that give the various intensity of the workouts.

Insomnia

Studies have pointed out how those who practice yoga have fewer sleep interruptions as compared to those who don’t practice it. It lowers stress levels and boosts the mind with relaxation resulting to better sleep.

Improved blood circulation and better memory

Yoga practice improves blood circulation not just in the body, but also in the brain. It brings an enhanced ability to focus and concentrate resulting in better memory.

Aids in pregnancy

Yoga for pregnant women offers a better way to relax and stretch. It relieves the tension muscles associated with pregnancy. It strengthens the core and entire body and gets it ready for birth. Gentle yoga and meditation teaches how to relax and breathe in preparation for labor.

Boosts sexuality

If you would like to feel more relaxed, confident and invigorate your sexual life, then you need to try yoga. It can improve sexuality by stretching, strengthening and warm up the body, leading to better posture, control, sex drive and confidence.

Weight loss

Yoga has a big role in helping one lose weight. It burns calories facilitating a better healthy lifestyle and relationship with the body. It builds strength, raises the heart rate and makes one shed some pounds.

A Beginner’s Guide to Home Yoga Practice

Starting a home-based yoga practice can be an excellent way to maintain and deepen your lessons. It offers a great option if you struggle to fit classes into your schedule or when you want to practice more often. A home-based training can be customized to whatever you need it to be. It can start and end at any time based on your mood and physical needs. It can utilize any genre or volume of music that gets you started.

Why start home-based yoga practice

The very many benefits associated with establishing a regular home yoga practice should motivate you to get started. They include;

Self-knowledge

Practicing yoga on your own helps you learn how to self-regulate and self-soothe. You get a greater responsibility to pay attention and choose on what favors you most.

Self-help

With more practice, you become better in accessing how you feel compared to the first time sat on the carpet and the progress you are making. You choose on the practice that counterbalances your mental, emotional and physical aspects.

Self-indulgence

Practicing yoga on your own is a charitable act. You can take whatever time you want with your set tone, pace, and intensity. You develop a discipline to you shall always strive to maintain.

Exponential growth

When you perform regular practice, the effects of each session do not have a chance to wear off before you come back to the carpet. That consistency offers benefits that keep on doubling.

What You Need to Start Yoga

One of the greatest aspects about yoga is that there are no special instruments you need to get started. However, to enhance your practice, the following components are required;

– Yoga books

– Yoga DVDs

– Yoga CDs

– Yoga Mat

– Yoga clothing

– Quiet practicing space.

How to Design a Home Yoga Practice

There are four steps that can get you started for your home yoga practice. These steps give you the confidence to start classes on your own without getting bored. You will be motivated with benefits that keep you forever going.

Step 1. Learn how properly to breathe

The most crucial thing in yoga is how to breathe. This is especially when you are holding the postures. You need to learn the paramount Dirga pranayama breathing, that is used during the yoga. You need to master the art of breathing in/out via the nose down to the belly.

Step 2. Start on a quick meditation and intention

Sit in an easy or accomplished position, or any other comfortable sitting position. Take some few minutes focusing inwards while meditating. You may equally set your goal or prayer at the beginning of your session.

Step 3. Use the primary and beginner postures

Start with the warm-up sequences before trying the basic yoga poses and sequences. The natural positions include; seated twist, dog, cat, down dog, cobra, mountain, child, triangle, forward and bend. When you are comfortable with the basics, its time, you advance.

Step 4, End with relaxation pose

Shavasana is the relaxation pose and always signifies the end of your yoga practice. It involves resting with your back then consciously relaxing the body for about five to fifteen minutes. Another good act is to conduct a short meditation while seated after Shavasana to get you back to the real world.

Choosing a comfortable place

When it comes to a training place, it would be best to have a small private room in your house for daily yoga practice. Your practice will create positive vibrations in the room that provide healing, strength, and comfort to you and other at home. Choose a quiet place anywhere at home which is large enough to allow you roll out your mat. The room should be clean and well ventilated, away from furniture, sharp objects, and any other possible distractions.

Basic guidelines for home-based yoga practice

You need to be guided on when to practice yoga or not. Menstruation, high blood pressure, pregnancy, and knees injuries may act as some of the special occasions where you need to make a concrete decision whether to practice yoga or not. The basic guidelines include;

– Modify the posture for your body

– Moderate the level of intensity

– Choose your postures wisely

– Set defined duration of practice

– Wear loose and comfortable clothing

– Do not eat or drink water before a yoga practice.