Health & Wellness Articles

Relax Your Mind and Body with Yoga

Yoga: An Introduction

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Is stress wearing you down? Are your muscles tense and your posture less than perfect? Bringing yoga, a touch of Eastern culture, into your Western lifestyle may be the perfect answer to help you unwind both your body and mind.

People of all ages and physical abilities have been practicing yoga for more than 5,000 years for general well-being. Today, an estimated 12 million Americans practice yoga for conditions as varied as addiction, fatigue and weight management.

De-stress and Lower Your Health Risks
Studies show that yoga, like many forms of physical activity, can actually help relieve stress. Emotional stress from daily life often contributes to physical stresses like muscle tension and constricted breathing. Because of its impact on the circulatory system, stress is also linked to cardiovascular disease. By alleviating physical and emotional stress, you may reduce your risk of heart disease and other illnesses.

Some hospitals are making yoga and meditation classes available to cancer patients, and reductions in stress levels have been observed. It is yet unclear, however, whether stress reduction influences long-term prognosis for cancer. But studies show that stress relief helps bolster the immune system’s ability to fight diseases, including cancer.

Yoga reduces stress by encouraging deep, rhythmic breathing. It also promotes relaxation by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to each part of the body. Some forms of yoga include meditation or the repetition of a soothing sound or phrase.

Because yoga also lengthens muscles, stretches joints and limbers ligaments, the exercises may actually help reverse some physical effects of aging like arthritis, stiff joints and general aches and pains.

So, take a deep breath, and open your mind to this ancient form of exercise.
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About The Author

The American Institute for Cancer Research The American Institute for Cancer Research
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is a charity that has contributed more than $70 million for research on diet and cancer. AICR educates Americans how to make dietary changes to lower their cancer risk.

Member Comments

  • CHADRICKWEST
    How great is that? Offering yoga classes to cancer patients seems only natural. Iíve experienced great results practicing Kundalini Yoga. I feel more relaxed and creative. As a dancer, I am more flexible and have more energy. It has even increased my intuition and has lead me down the path of inner discovery. Youíve got to check it out and see what kinds of Kundalini Yoga benefits youíll experience. http://www.yogate
    ch.com/kundal
    ini_yoga_benefits - 5/30/2014 3:28:23 AM
  • SSSS62S
    yoga is a wonderful breathing system which produce positive effect on the internal organs - 7/11/2013 11:27:23 PM
  • I will try this next week. - 6/14/2013 3:32:16 PM
  • Don't forget about Kundalini yoga OR mediation style yoga! - 11/4/2012 6:59:16 PM
  • I am so happy that I decided to attend a yoga class. Don't wait until you have a partner to go with you. Just do it ! I know you will love the feeling of being relaxed at the end of the class. - 3/30/2012 12:10:46 PM
  • I have been teaching yoga for almost 10 years. Everything about the health benefits are true, and that is borne out by the comments I regularily get from my students after class. Personally, i feel more relaxed, happier, and better equipped to deal with day to day stress. I often hear that people are not able to do it because they are not fit or flexible or they have weight issues. If you WANT to get fit, more flexible and loose weight, they just do it! Remember to move at your own pace and go slowly if you are just starting out. You will feel wonderful, and you will get better at it as you keep doing it! - 8/23/2011 5:13:29 PM
  • Starting this next week,,,:) have mat,video,am so ready... - 7/3/2011 8:42:50 AM
  • ALEXANDRA64
    I started Yoga a couple of months ago and LOVE IT!!! Definitely a good addition to anyones workout or schedule! It has improved my ability to do every other kind of exercise as well as improved my body awareness and alignment. You just can't go wrong with yoga unless you have a bad instructor or try to do too much. - 3/10/2011 8:21:02 AM
  • I have find this was a great way to destress. - 2/9/2011 6:04:12 AM
  • Weeeeelllll, I gotta do something! Yoga sounds cool, gentle with low-impact. I think I need to give it a try! - 1/13/2011 9:48:45 AM
  • I recently discovered Bikram yoga (thanks to some word of mouth and a great introductory offer), and plan to incorporate it into my exercise routine as a complement to the various cardio exercises I do (running, soccer, ice hockey, etc.). I find that it not only stretches all my joints, giving me greater mobility and working out the kinks of my impact exercise, but it strengthens my core as well. Bikram is practised in a hot room (around 105F) which was alarming at first, but my body is adapting to that as well, and I feel I will also be better able to perform in the summer heat thanks to these adaptations my body is making. - 6/4/2010 8:56:15 AM
  • There are some excellent desk exercises on the yoga site mentioned here. I'm looking forward to trying them when I get back to work. - 2/24/2010 11:37:12 PM
  • EVACLAIRE
    I took a yoga class during college and I didn't really take it seriously. I just started taking yoga again with my sister and it has been a great way to relax me. 75 minutes of relaxation once a week is wonderful!! I highly suggest it to everyone - 1/26/2010 5:51:35 PM
  • I love yoga and still incorporate some of the poses into my stretching, but don't take a class anymore. I miss that a lot, but time constraints and family commitments have let it slip off the radar. - 1/13/2010 7:44:34 AM
  • I have found that when beginning an exercise program, just doing the warmups, and doing them very slowly (as in tai chi) gets things to start loosening up without injury. That way, too, one can learn what irritates any painful body part without damage and work around it instead of forcing injury and getting more pain. Besides, I believe yoga is all about holding the poses to strengthen the muscles, and doing them slowly to NOT to tear the muscles. - 12/5/2009 5:35:03 AM

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