Yoga can help you live a more healthy lifestyle.

Yoga is often viewed as an activity that encourages balance and flexibility. This ancient tradition includes meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. These practices can result in measurable improvements in cardiovascular health, such as lower blood pressure and better sleep.

Improved overall fitness

The federal exercise guidelines list active forms of yoga, such as Vinyasa or power yoga, as examples of moderate-intensity exercise. The less intense forms of yoga and those that are active can increase muscle strength, flexibility and balance. These are important for physical fitness and well-being. Research suggests that yoga encourages slow, deep breathing. This can help lower blood pressure by five points on average after just a few months.

Sustaining self-regulation

Yoga’s meditative, relaxing aspect can help you stay calm during stressful times. Stress is a part of daily life and activates our body’s fight-or-flight response. This causes a rise in heart rate, blood pressure and the release of stress hormones. All of these are bad for your cardiovascular system. The opposite effect, the rest-and-digest response, is activated by yoga. This “relaxation reaction” can be developed over time through regular yoga practice, making you less sensitive to stress and more open to intense emotions. One study found that yoga can reduce cortisol levels by just 90 minutes.

Greater awareness of mind and body

According to a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health survey in 2012, over 80% of yoga practitioners reported that their practice has helped reduce stress. Nearly two-thirds of yoga enthusiasts reported that yoga inspired them to exercise more often. Four in ten reported that yoga inspired them to eat healthier. These changes could be due to the increased awareness of mind and body that yoga practitioners experience. You’re more conscious of your positive feelings when you eat healthy food and exercise. 

What is the transformation over time?

Some people discover that yoga can transform their lives after years of practice. Their goals are more spiritual, charitable and less materialistic. Although the connection to heart disease is unclear, research shows that people with a greater sense of purpose are less likely than those with a lower sense.

There is good evidence that yoga, low-fat vegetarianism and moderate exercise can reduce blockages in the arteries. This is without the need for medication. 

Yoga: How to get started

You should consider a beginner or gentle class if you are new to yoga. This is especially important if you are over 65 or have any health conditions. For the best results, choose a class that includes all four pillars: postures, breathing techniques, deep relaxation, meditation, and deep relaxation. Many senior centres and community and health clubs offer yoga classes in addition to studios.


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