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Yoga for a healthy lifestyle

Did you know that September is National Yoga Month?

September is official National Yoga Month (a national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services) designed to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle. Let's practice all year!

What better way to celebrate than by taking the first step toward reaching your wellness goals. Petra offers both online and in person for you to learn at your own pace.

Petra has been teaching Yoga for 25 years. She offers private lessons and virtual classes.

Zoom group themed online classes: Astrology with Restorative Yoga meets twice a month New Moon and Full Moon class, Chakra Yoga workshop series, Yoga Therapeutics, Mindful Movement classes, De-stress through the Holiday's, Summer outside Yoga series, private or semi-private Yomassage, and Restorative Yoga with Reiki.

Top 9 Reasons to practice Yoga

1. Increased Muscular Strength

While a consistent yoga practice often gets recognized for improving flexibility, many overlook its ability to improve muscular strength as well. Poses like Down Dog and Plank, along with all the Warrior Poses build up muscle fibers to tone and strengthen your muscles.

And while many forms of physical fitness emphasize muscle strength, yoga balances both strength and flexibility. Yoga is a practice that creates balance (both mind and body) so we must remember to incorporate both if we want to maintain a sustainable practice to last us a lifetime.

2. Increased Flexibility and Mobility

Often the most recognized physical benefit of the practice is an increased range of motion in the tissues, joints, and muscles of the body. The yoga asana practice introduces a myriad of poses (forward bends, backbends, twists, hip openers, standing poses, supine poses, etc.) and all of these postures ask the body to form extraordinary shapes.

While yoga asana supports flexibility of the major muscle groups, joints, and tissues, what is often most evident is improved posture, increased range of motion in the joints, and less pain in the body.

3. Increased Bone Density

Through our study of human anatomy, it is already understood that weight-bearing exercises improve the density of your bones as you age.

A 2016 study performed over a 10-year period proved that a consistent yoga practice raised the bone density of the spinal column and the femur bones in its patients.

Poses like Down Dog, Plank, or the Warrior Poses strengthen our bones that are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis and ultimately help us avoid bone loss in those areas as we age.

4. Injury Prevention

With improved muscular strength, stronger bones, and healthy joints, your body is more prepared to handle load and a healthier range of motion, thus preventing strained muscles and/or broken bones. Furthermore, yoga introduces several balance postures, which improves coordination and prevents injury.

5. Improved Circulation and Blood Flow

Inversions, including beginner poses like Standing Forward Fold or advanced poses like Handstand, encourage blood flow from the legs and pelvis to the Heart.

When blood gets pumped back to the Heart, it gets an extra dose of oxygen from the respiratory function of the Lungs. Improved circulation of your blood helps you feel more alive and may even help you appear physically younger than you actually are.

6. Improved Metabolism and Digestion

You may be surprised to learn that the physical practice of yoga asana was originally designed for purification purposes.

One of the ancient yoga texts, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika produces several cleansing practices including Mayurasana (or Peacock Pose) – a shape which attempts to stimulate purification.

Twists are also believed to stimulate and aid in the digestive process and while there is not much scientific evidence to back that up, asana was designed to “stoke the digestive fires” which certainly helps to get things moving in and out of the body.

7. Increased Energy

A well-rounded yoga asana practice revives, renews, and refreshes your mind, body, and spirit bringing prana (otherwise known as life-force energy) to your body.

While you may feel supremely relaxed after a yoga class, a consistent practice continues to gift you a new sense of vitality to your life off the mat.

8. Better Sleep

While a dynamic practice like Vinyasa helps to stimulate and boost energy levels in the body, the close of every practice encourages rest. Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is always performed at the end of every practice and supports us in the process of surrender.

Thus, yoga has been proven to improve sleep quality and to aid in insomnia. A study performed at Harvard Medical School in 2012 found that yoga can help to improve sleep among people suffering from chronic insomnia.

Having trouble sleeping? Do some Restorative Yoga, legs up the wall pose or supported Savasana are perfect poses to practice before bed to help induce sleep.

9. Improved Mood

In addition to all the physical benefits of yoga listed above, yoga asana supports a mindful way of life. Pranayama, or regulation of the breath, incorporated with the physical asana practice helps to calm the central nervous system.

There’s No Shortage of the Physical Benefits of Yoga!

Bottom line? While we already know that a yoga practice benefits us on a mental, emotional, and physical level, Yoga offers us enough reasons to keep up with our practice.

Discipline, or tapas, is key to reaping the rewards. Carve out at least 10 minutes of your day to sit, breathe, and move the issues around your tissues and improve your well-being. Your body will thank you!

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