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.

Pointers for Starting Yoga
  • Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
  • Find a yoga instructor in your area by asking other people or visiting websites such as www.YogaJournal.com or www.YogaAlliance.org
  • Start out with simple standing and sitting poses. Some forms can give you an intense workout. If in doubt, ask the instructor to clarify what will be taught.
  • As a beginner, it is advisable to choose a gentle, slow form of yoga. Consider one of the following:
    • Hatha yoga is the most popular branch of yoga from which a lot of other styles originated. Because the practice can vary widely, students should find out exactly what a class offers.
    • In Iyengar yoga, students hold poses, especially standing postures, typically longer than in other forms.
    • Svaroopa is a consciousness-oriented yoga that promotes healing. Students often begin this form in comfortable chair poses that help the spine.
    • Integral focuses on integrating yoga teachings into everyday work and relationships.
Office work can be a significant source of stress. To relieve the strain of working at the computer, practice the yoga exercises from www.MyDailyYoga.com. Anyone can do these simple exercises at their desk in little time.

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Member Comments

  • Next week I start a beginner yoga class with all exercise done from a chair or on the floor. I have a broken back for many years with steel rods in it. I also have a blood clot in one lung so was advised to do easier exercise. I also have low blood pressure and heavy exercise lowers it too much,it is 80/50. I need light exercise & walking and have to have extra salt daily to raise it. I must walk before all exercise classes to raise it. I will do this one day a week plus walking and will check on one more light exercise class to start.
  • I feel like yoga is a waste of my time when I could be getting a REAL workout in.
  • I feel like yago is a waste of my time when I could be getting a real workout in.
  • Thanks for the tips awesome
  • 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
  • SSSS62S
    yoga is a wonderful breathing system which produce positive effect on the internal organs
  • I will try this next week.
  • Don't forget about Kundalini yoga OR mediation style yoga!
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Starting this next week,,,:) have mat,video,am so ready...
  • 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.
  • I have find this was a great way to destress.
  • Weeeeelllll, I gotta do something! Yoga sounds cool, gentle with low-impact. I think I need to give it a try!

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.