Improved Health and Happiness with Yoga: 30 Day Challenge
If you weren’t aware September is National Yoga Awareness Month. I’ve posted before about the importance of stretching and I recently started taking flexibility classes, but yoga has never been a big part of my fitness journey.
Since Sepember happens to be Yoga Awareness Month, it’s seems like the perfrect time to start a daily practice. I’ve signed up for a free 30-day challenge through doyouyoga.com and I welcome you to join me in this experience. It’s absolutely FREE! – thank god, cause I don’t have a spare penny outside my budget- All you need to do is create a profile and enroll in the program. The videos are 10-20 minutes long and can be done when you choose.
Before you decide to participate make sure you can dedicate the time. I want each of us to succeed in this experience. I will be the first to admit that dedicating an extra 10 minutes of my day can be a challenge. Before you write it off though, consider that adding just a few minutes of yoga to your daily routine has multiple health benefits.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga combines both physical and mental practices that work together to provide serenity of the mind, body and soul. The focus on breath during practice can lead to lower stress levels and help relieve anxiety, improving overall mood. This improved mood and lowered stress can lead to a greater sense of well-being. Not to mention, helping you let those annoying cat-calls roll off your back as you walk down the street.
Studies also show that yoga can lead to lowered blood pressure and heart rate. Participating in regular exercise like yoga helps to improve your bodies ability to pump blood, strengthening your heart and blood vessels. After only a few months your heart will pump blood more efficiently lowering your blood pressure and resting heart rate.
At the same time a regular practice helps improve flexibilty, range of motion and balance. Bikram yoga, performed in a heated room, has been found to be particually effective in increasing flexibily. Increased range of motion and balance helps to aid in activities of daily life. Activities like bending to shave your legs in the shower or reaching for that wine glass on the top shelf
Another added benefit of yoga is improved sexual funtion. The Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that women ages 22 to 55 who practiced yoga for 12 weeks experienced numerious improvements in sexual funtion. These ranged from increased desire, arousal, lubrication, oragasm and satisfaction. I’m willing to guess this has a lot to do with the fact we’re less stressed out. Then again, I’m no expert in yoga.
The list of benefits goes much further than this, but improved flexibility, sexual function and lowered stress are convicing enough.
If online programs aren’t your cup of tea, The Yoga Health Foundation is teaming up with studios around the country to offer one week of free classes. Or, why not do both?
I look forward to sharing in this challenge with you and hearing about your experiences. Let’s bend our way to improved health and happiness this month.
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