How Yoga Can Help with Your Physical and Mental Health

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With just a little bit of research, you can find there are dozens of methods you can implement in your life that can improve your health. However, most of these methods are created so that they either help you physically or they help you mentally.

So you have to choose separate routines to find what you need. If you’re like most people, the thought of keeping up with one method is taxing enough, let alone trying to keep up with two different routines.

Most people are strapped for time, making this even more stressful. That’s why you need to give yoga a try. It works to improve both your physical and your mental health, and it can be done all in one sitting.

Yoga Has Long Been a Source of Relaxation and Stress Relief

Yoga isn’t anything new. It’s been around for many years and the origin of this practice comes from India. People in ancient times began to use it and as time went on, yoga became what it is today.

It’s a practice that can help the mind discover how to obtain better mental control and relief from the things that plague you. By bringing awareness, it allows the follower to develop a better inward observation that can be a source of relaxation and stress relief.

Eventually, yoga became more popular and in the late 1800s made an appearance in the United States, thanks to Swami Vivekananda. Today, it’s an effective method that works to help to ease anxiety.

When you feel anxious, it overwhelms you emotionally, and it affects you mentally. You’ll feel on edge like you have knots in your stomach. You may have trouble thinking clearly and struggle to stop worrisome thoughts from running wildly through your mind.

Yoga can help with anxiety because, as you perform the disciplines, it lowers the amount of stress you have. Whenever you feel anxious, you end up getting a flood of hormones which can make the anxiety that you feel worse.

But when you perform yoga, it lowers the hormones and calms you down. Yoga is also known as a great way to relieve stress. Many of the disciplines used in yoga are known to soothe the mind.

By learning the different actions, you gain the tools that you need to not only bring your stress back to a normal level, but you also learn how to bounce back quicker when you do experience stress.

Many of the methods used in yoga target both anxiety and stress. You can use these techniques to find relief. One of the methods that yoga teaches for this is breath control. It teaches users how to learn to breathe in deeply through the use of pranayama.

These breath control exercises can be the alternate nostril breathing, simhasana, kumbhaka and deep breathing yoga. These breathing exercises in yoga work well to clear the mind. After performing one of the breathing exercises, you’ll notice that the stress is gone and you feel more relaxed.

Physical Ailments Aided By the Use of Yoga

Mental health isn’t the only part of you that can benefit from the use of yoga. You can help what ails you physically as well. Practicing yoga can effectively help deal with medical conditions that are linked to stress or acerbated by stress.

It’s also known to help aid management and even prevention of diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. Yoga is a good way to help lower weight, which is a known risk factor for developing certain medical conditions.

Because yoga is so effective at helping to alleviate stress, it can work to help deal with thyroid issues. Though it’s little, your thyroid gland is responsible for managing a great deal of how your body is able to function.

When it doesn’t work right, it can affect the entire body. Genetics play a role in thyroid problems and diseases, but so does stress. Many people don’t even know they have a thyroid condition because it’s such a silent physical ailment.

There are some physical symptoms – like weight gain or loss, hair loss, inability to tolerate cold, heart palpitations and more. By using yoga, you can boost the function of the thyroid by not only lessening the symptoms, but by relaxing the throat.

When you’re stressed and have thyroid issues, it can cause the thyroid to swell with inflammation and this puts pressure on the esophagus. Many people with thyroid problems complain that it’s difficult to sleep with the pressure they feel on their throat and yoga relieves that through stimulating the throat area.

There are many other conditions that yoga can help besides the thyroid. It’s known to help ease the pain associated with arthritis as well as help people who suffer from this with better mobility.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome disease is something else that can be relieved through the use of yoga. People who have this condition tend to have a higher level of testosterone.

Practicing yoga lowers the amount of testosterone by nearly a third. Yoga can also help you improve ovulation that’s impeded by PCOS. Those who struggle with indigestion or acid reflux will find that yoga helps by improving flexibility of the abdominal muscles plus boosting digestion.

If you suffer from diabetes, yoga can help with that because it’s beneficial in aiding with blood sugar control. It does this by boosting the way that body deals with the disease. It can help regulate glucose and boost insulin receptors.

At the same time, regularly practicing yoga can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI, which in turn helps improve many weight-related health issues such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and liver disease.

The disciplines of yoga can help your kidneys by boosting renal function. If you’re someone who suffers from headaches or migraines, yoga can help with that, too. Practicing the moves of yoga works to bring your blood pressure down, which is often one of the causes of headaches and migraines – even in people who usually have normal blood pressure levels.

Choosing the Best Type of Yoga for Your Health Needs

There are 13 different types of yoga that you can choose from for your health needs and each one is geared toward helping the body in a specific way. For example, one of the types is prenatal yoga.

This yoga was created just for pregnant women. If you’re expecting, you may want to choose this one because it can help not only keep you physically fit and relaxed before your child is born, but it also works to help stretch the body. If you’re not expecting, you don’t want this one because you don’t get the same level of poses because of the caution factor.

Hatha yoga is another yoga you might want to consider. The reason why you might want to pick this one is because it’s a good start for beginners. You don’t have to know any specific poses when you go in.

Plus, this one is good for people who may have some limited exercise ability because the moves aren’t as demanding as other types of yoga are. However, if you’re an advanced student of yoga, you may find this type is too easy for you.

Ashtanga yoga is a type that’s good for people who want to lose weight or get into shape. It can be used as an exercise program. However, because it’s more physically demanding, this type of yoga isn’t suitable for anyone who has joint problems in their ankles or knees. It’s also not a good choice for people who are couch potatoes.

Acro yoga is a form of yoga that was introduced in the early 2000s. It’s a mixture of yoga and aerobics. This type can be done with the help of another person, or you can perform the disciplines by yourself. You can choose this one if you’re a beginner, but you can also choose it if you’re more advanced.

Iyengar yoga is one that has an emphasis on holding a pose, doing poses in order and increasing the intensity of the pose. While it’s good for both beginners and the advanced, it’s not good for anyone with balance issues due to the length of time spent in holding each of the poses.

Aerial yoga is another one that’s a combination of yoga and something else. This one not only uses the exercises found in Pilates but also has a gymnastics flair. A suspended hammock type device is used to perform the poses.

What’s good about it is that the hammock can be used to support so it takes the strain off the back. People who should not use this type of yoga are those who have high blood pressure due to the postures used.

Yin Yoga is slower than some other types of yoga. When posing, the user will hold the pose for longer because the desired outcome of the discipline is not only mental relaxation, but to go further and aim for a full body relaxation.

If you’re someone who’s had lengthy struggles with anxiety or stress, this one is a good yoga choice. But if you have or have had problems with your back, you should avoid this one.

Jivamukti Yoga is one that not only focuses on exercise but also uses a more meditative approach that’s found in a spiritual style. This one is good for those who want to exercise, but want to do so by following specific tenets. It’s not good for those who don’t like meditation or a more spiritual slant.

Kundalini yoga is a yoga that taps into the energy you have and combines specific breathing exercises along with specific poses. Users will at times chant or sing while exercising and engaging in the poses.

While it’s good for those who are beginners, or advanced and for those looking for calmness and serenity, it’s not recommended for those who are not looking for a more physical yoga.

Anusara yoga isn’t one of the most used types of yoga. Though this form is helpful for flexibility, and can help with posture and strength, it’s not as disciplined as other forms of yoga. So those who are looking for a tougher workout won’t find it with this one.

Bikram yoga is also known by the label of hot yoga. These poses are performed in environments uses higher temperatures. The idea behind it is that it helps to relax the muscles and the body. It’s good for people who have stiff joints, but not for those who have trouble working out in higher temperatures.

Restorative yoga is one that’s great for people who struggle with stress or anxiety, especially if the stress is impacting your physical health. There are fewer poses to do and less physical effort. It’s great for people who aren’t used to working out, but should be avoided if your goal is building physical strength.

Vinyasa yoga is one that focuses on the flow of the postures. The movements are fluid and these poses are combined with breathing. You might want to choose this one if you’re looking to build your muscle strength but you would avoid it if you were looking for a form of yoga that ensures the moves are properly conducted.

Tips for Beginners Just Starting with Yoga

If you’re new to yoga, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. It’s important that you make sure you’re comfortable while you’re doing the poses, but you also want to be sure that you’ve chosen the right one for you.

It’s okay to change if you get started and find that you don’t like one. Start by researching the various types of yoga and deciding if you’re going to do it at home or seek classes.

If you want a class, make sure you find a good teacher. Not everyone is qualified to teach yoga effectively. Know what you’re doing before you get started. It can be helpful if you familiarize yourself with some of the terms or the movements of whichever yoga you choose to do.

Make sure the clothes you wear for your workout fit comfortably without chafing. You’ll want to dress weather appropriate. When you first get started, you might find that you can’t do certain poses.

If you struggle to do so, then you’ll need to learn modifications. You can seek guidance from your yoga instructor or use helpful props to aid you. Go at your own pace. It’s not a race.

Take your time and learn the movements. Don’t do poses that you’re not physically comfortable doing. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself. Some people don’t view yoga as a way of working out.

It is, though – and just like traditional exercise routines, you have to make sure that you maintain proper electrolytes and stay hydrated. Know your limitations. Yoga isn’t about “pushing through” with any meditation or movement that bothers you physically or mentally. It’s okay to accept what works for you and let go of what doesn’t.

How to Shop for the Best Yoga Gear

It’s essential that you get the best yoga gear. The better the quality, the more durable the equipment will be. Not only that, but the better the gear is, the safer it will be for you to use.

Your clothing should be items that are breathable. You’ll need yoga pants or pants or shorts that are comfortable and allow for ease of movement. Avoid pants that are too tight or ones that have any type of protruding embellishments.

When choosing a yoga top, you’ll need one that’s not loose. Loose clothing worn as a shirt can be a hindrance when doing poses. Not only can the shirt rise up and impede your vision, but loose shirts can get tangled up in the movements and this can throw you off your movement or even block your vision if you’re upside down.

Make sure that you wear a form fitting bra so that you’re comfortable. You don’t want a loose bra that can chafe the skin and you also don’t want to wear an underwire. You can buy sports bras to use for yoga workouts.

You may also want to invest in a non-slip yoga headband to keep your hair out of your eyes and also to keep sweat from your forehead from running into your eyes. Yoga mats are an essential item regardless of the form of yoga you’re doing.

Not only do they provide padding, but they also can prevent you from falling. You’ll want a long lasting, nonslip mat. Pay attention to the length of use as well as traction feature of the mat that you purchase.

The type of foam that’s in the mat matters, too. You can find various thickness levels as well as various lengths. When making your choice, be sure to look for ones that are made of non-toxic materials.

Because you’ll be lying down for some yoga poses, you’ll also want to be sure your mat is long enough. Avoid cheap mats. To keep your mat neat and clean, you’ll want to either get a mat that comes with a carry bag or buy one separately.

One piece of equipment that helps with stability is a yoga block. These offer support when bending in certain poses like bending sideways or backwards. Another piece of equipment to consider is a yoga belt also known as a yoga strap. These can help you stretch and boost flexibility.

Engaging in yoga is a commitment to a form of exercise that can benefit you in many ways. It not only helps your body with mobility and other physical issues, but it works to calm your mind and bring peace to you on a daily basis.

You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment, and you can do yoga routines that last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more. Tailor it to your personal preferences and it will be something you look forward to regularly.