September is National Yoga Month and if you’ve never tried yoga before then now’s the time to try. Research has shown numerous benefits that yoga can have on the body and mind:
Better Sleep – Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that insomniacs had an easier time winding down at night, falling asleep faster and sleeping longer after practicing yoga for one hour three times per week. Also, a slower extended breathing practice before bed can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and promote relaxation.
Improved Mood – Yoga lowers cortisol levels. A study from Boston University School of Medicine reports one hour of yoga practice raised levels of the brain chemical GABA (low levels are linked with depression) by 27 percent compared with a group who read quietly.
Joint Health – Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is the space-filler in our cells and the natural lubricant in our joints. As we age, the body slows the production of HA, resulting in achy and stiff joints. Meridian theories in Traditional Chinese Medicine suggest that practicing Yin Yoga on a daily basis can help stimulate the production of HA.
Improved Sex Life – The Journal of Sexual Medicine has found that yoga promotes the release of hormones that speed up sexual arousal.
Now that you’re ready for your first class, here are few tips to keep in mind…
1. Wear Comfortable Clothes. Yoga classes consist of a lot of forward bending. You should wear non-constricting clothes that your body can move freely in.
2. Inform the Teacher of any Pre-existing Conditions. There are many variations of yoga poses. If there is a pose you physically are incapable of doing, the teacher will be able to show you an adaptation that’s right for you.
3. Yoga is NOT a Competition. For most sports and athletics, it’s intuitive to be competitive. However, when in the studio, try not to judge yourself too harshly against the class’s star pupil(s). Even if everyone in the class can pull a headstand do not succumb to negative thinking. The moment you let those unhealthy thoughts into your mind just smile and think, “If I continue my practice then someday, I too, will get there.”
4. Keep Breathing. Yoga is the union of body and mind. The ability to control one’s breath, known as pranayama, is crucial to building and maintaining that relationship.
5. Return to Child’s Pose. If at any time you feel you cannot proceed with the class flow, simply return to child’s pose or lay on your yoga mat in corpse pose. It is very important to listen to your body.
(The acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.)
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