Practicing Yoga for Balance in Body & Mind

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Hello!  Welcome back to #FabulousFriday.  Did you know that the CDC recommends the average adult have 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity per week?  Many people wonder what they can do to incorporate the recommended weekly amount of physical activity needed.  An excellent activity to reduce stress and get the exercise you need is yoga.  In fact, yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.  

Yoga helps cultivate both physical and mental energy to keep your body healthy.  Yoga is an ancient system that applies the science of the mind to the art of living.  In the words of the famous yoga philospher, B.K.S. Iyengar-yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.  

Many Americans have busy, stressful lives.  According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating and quality sleep.  During times of stress, your body can release cortisol after releasing its "fight or flight" hormones, such as adrenaline, so you continue to stay on high alert.  In addition, cortisol triggers the release of glucose (sugar) from your liver for fast energy during times of stress.  Too much cortisol can suppress the body's immune system.  Yoga helps to regulate the production of cortisol, thus boosting the immune system.

According to research done by Johns Hopkins-yoga is also good for the heart.  Clinically, practicing yoga regularly may increase circulation, thereby lowering blood pressure and improving oxygenation of the body.  Although yoga may be a slower-paced workout than running, it has heart health benefits according to the International Journal of Yoga.  Many people get their heart rate up to the target heart rate zone when doing yoga, especially vinyasa yoga.  

Yoga can also help to provide more energy and brighter moods.  After practicing yoga, you may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings.  And, yoga can help to relax you and help you sleep better.  Research shows that a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep and stay asleep.  

Yoga connects you to a supportive community.  Participating in yoga classes can ease loneliness and provide an environment for group healing and support.  Even during one-on-one sessions loneliness is reduced as one is acknowledged as a unique individual.  

Moreover, the U.S. Military, the National Institutes of Health and other large organizations are listening to-and incorporating-scientific validation of yoga's value in health care.  Check back next Friday for more fabulous tips and tricks for a better life.  See you soon!  Warmly, Susan