Friday, July 15, 2011

The Benefits of Yoga

I did not get into yoga to get stronger or to become more flexible.  My body actually kind of "forced" me into yoga because it was too sensitive to tolerate any thing else.  Because of the Lyme I am on an aerobic restriction, and even if I wasn't, the fatigue makes it very difficult to have the energy to exercise.  So, during my most recent flare, I discovered yoga.  I'd been doing yoga on the Wii fit (which I know really doesn't count) for a couple of years, but I didn't realize that there's so much more to it.  Yoga has truly changed my life- the way that I view things, my relationship with my body, my reaction to physical pain, my ability to handle stressful situations.... I could go on and on.  I am blessed to have a one on one instructor who has taught me so much.  I'd like to share some of my favorite poses and then I'll talk about my favorite kind of yoga- Restorative Yoga!

"Pose of the Child"

"Modified Child's Pose"

"Tree Pose"

So, why yoga?  According to the MayoClinic, here are some of the great benefits:

  • Stress Reduction
  • Increased Fitness
  • Management of Chronic Health Conditions
  • Weight Loss

Okay, now on to my favorite kind of yoga- RESTORATIVE YOGA!!!  This type of yoga is very passive- it uses blankets, yoga blocks, straps, sandbags, eyebags, etc. to do all of the work for you!  It truly feels like a vacation for your body!  You hold each pose (as you are supported by your prop) for a given length of time (maybe 5-15 minutes, depending on the pose) while you just lie there and experience a great state of relaxation.  Sounds pretty good, huh?  My group instructor says it can really help with getting us out of that constant "fight or flight" mode that most people are constantly in.  According to her, it can also be helpful for fighting adrenal fatigue, boosting the immune system, helping chronic pain, and coping with grief or stress.  Here are some examples of restorative poses:

To learn more about yoga, check out these yoga sites:

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