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When I first started practicing yoga, I came to the mat for the physical benefits. My body was worn out from living a fast paced life, intense exercise and stress. I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and had osteoarthritis in my neck. I was told I would have to be on medication and have surgery to heal my body. I did not want this and chose to look at alternative ways to heal.
One of the things my body needed was to slow down. I found yoga which helped me do just that. I learned how to use breathing tools - pranayama to calm my nervous system. I developed an improved relationship with my body. I became stronger. What I received from this practice was SO much more, though, as I will share with you.
Prior to yoga I was a runner, a tennis player, boot camper and a kick boxer. All of these sports can be physically hard on the body, not to mention the adrenals. Although they have their benefits, it is important to vary the exercises you do. This helps in creating balance in your mind, body and soul.
For me, practicing yoga two to three times a week was key to feeling more present and mindful in my life. I felt calmer and more focused in my body and mind. I developed an ease of maneuvering through difficult situations and relationships.
In fact, just this week a student came over to share her yoga journey with me - a similar story! Previously, she was a kickboxing instructor for many years. Her belief about yoga was that it was for stretching and toning and it was too slow to provide her any health benefits. Then she injured her back and had surgery. Her ability to move in the same way suddenly stopped. Everyone kept telling her to try yoga - finally she allowed her resistance to lower. This woman has been practicing yoga for a year now - she can finally touch her toes. When she started she could only touch her knees. She learned more compassion for herself and feels stronger in her body.
It has been proven that yoga is an excellent way to reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Yoga makes an ideal practice for women suffering from stress, overwhelm, and aches & pains in the body. It concentrates on restoring the function and performance of the body and mind.
There are different types of yoga. I suggest Yin Yoga, restorative yoga or gentle yoga if you are recovering from an injury or are in a state of overwhelm. Power or hot yoga may not be appropriate during times of healing, but they are great for physical conditioning and strength.
There are SO many benefits of yoga. Here some additional benefits!
Yoga nourishes your nervous system
For any of you who may be in a state of overwhelm or suffering from chronic pain, yoga is proven to support the nervous system. It can broaden the horizons of the mind and likewise support your mental well being.
Yoga boosts immunity
Studies show yoga helps boost immunity and strengthens the body. I have found that when I practice yoga regularly, my resilience is greatly improved and my lung capacity is strengthened as well.
Yoga balances hormones
Practicing yoga also helps maintain healthy hormone balance. And not just sex hormones either! Yoga supports the whole endocrine system. In fact, each of the 7 chakras of yoga are associated with an endocrine system gland.
I suggest practicing yoga for 15 minutes in the morning and evening, to help support healthy hormone balance. I find yoga to be a useful alternative to hormone medications which can be tricky to regulate.
Yoga changes your mindset
It is important to maintain a healthy mindset in order to cope with the challenges of life. Yoga encourages a positive mindset. There is so much you can take from being on the mat into your everyday life.
Yoga will also help develop a stronger relationship with your body. When your health fails, it can feel like the body is betraying you. The word yoga means “to unite”. So, if you are feeling disconnected from your body, do yoga!!
Written by Ivette Desai