If you can’t hold a tree pose or aren’t amazing at doing the downward dog, or if you aren’t even familiar with what any of those terms mean, don’t worry. Yoga has recently become a widely popular exercise trend in Western culture, but not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. If you’re generally unfamiliar with the concept of yoga, this article will help inform you about the wonderful history and many benefits of this ancient philosophy.
Yoga Is As Spiritual As It Is Physical.
Although the precise origins of yoga is under debate, it is commonly considered a spiritual discipline by religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. One of the six major schools of thought in Hinduism is called Yoga, and it goes way beyond just training the body. It even has its own set of views on natural, social and metaphysical subjects.
There has not been a lot of extensive scientific research on the benefits of yoga. However, it is widely reported that long term practitioners of yoga have had muscular, neurological and mental health improvements as well as reduced symptoms of ailments that commonly affect the average person.
Some studies suggest that regular yoga practice can reduce age-related declines in cognitive brain function. Hatha yoga, which focuses on exercise, breathing and meditation, has been shown to benefit one’s cardiovascular fitness, reducing the risk of suffering from a variety of diseases related to this.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction & Yoga
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a program that is meant to reduce both physical and psychological problems in people. Yoga is often used in MBSR as a form of meditation and exercise. One study found MBSR as having a drastic effect on the emotional state of people battling cancer, helping them psychologically adjust to their disease.
There has also been research conducted to show that MBSR can be help people diagnosed with schizophrenia cope with their symptoms. Although the results are inconclusive, some participants in the study said that MBSR helped them alleviate some of their symptoms by teaching them how to stay calm and react to situations in healthier ways.
Some Yoga Poses For You To Try
Here are 3 relatively straightforward poses to introduce you to yoga, and below them is a video of a 20 minute yoga routine that will further guide you into the world of yoga.
-Stand upright, as straight as you can, with your feet together.
-Relax your body starting at your head, working down through your shoulders and lower back.
-Keep your body weight evenly balanced under your feet.
-With your arms at your side, inhale deeply through your nose while raising your hands out to your sides and up above your head.
-With palms facing each other and arms straight above, feel your body stand at its fullest as you reach to the sky.
-Breath out through your mouth as you bring your arms slowly back to your side.
-Begin on your knees, place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart.
-Still on your knees, “walk” forward with your hands. You should feel a good, deep stretch throughout your back and arms.
-Press your palms into the ground, bring the soles of your feet to the floor while pushing your hips slowly towards the sky.
-While in the shape of an upside-down V, keep your knees slightly bent and let your head hang.
-Take 3 full breaths in and out.
-Stand with your feet as far apart as the length of your leg, in a lunging position.
-Turn your body forward, with your front foot pointed straight and back foot naturally to the side.
-Extend your arms out to follow the line of your legs with palms facing down.
-Bend your front knee slightly to feel a stretch through the back leg and hip.
-Make sure your front knee goes no further than your ankle.
-Hold for a minute while breathing fully.
Yoga as a school of thought: http://www.britannica.com/topic/astika
Yoga and cognitive function: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24795629
Yoga and cardio: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2934576/
MBSR and Cancer: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19023879