by Dustin Burnham, Certified Personal Trainer, NASM-CPT, ACE-LWMC
September is National Yoga Month! The practice of yoga has evolved over thousands of years, and today its ubiquitous presence in yoga studios and health clubs testifies to its incredible benefits. A regular yoga practice can correct misaligned joints and muscles, leading to significantly reduced chronic pain and, in turn, better sleep. The meditative nature of yogic breathing and the flow of the poses create an altered mental state that opens the mind for greater creativity and allows the practitioner to look at the world in a new way. This results in a sense of calm that improves focus and helps to develop a lifetime of wellness and happiness.
Neck and shoulder pain, stress that makes the mind race at night and other chronic ailments not only make it difficult to fall asleep, but can also reduce sleep quality and length. Poor sleep greatly slows the body’s ability to heal and has been shown to cause significant weight gain. Studies have shown that improving one’s breathing technique and losing weight through yoga can eliminate reliance upon breathing aids for sleep apnea sufferers. Further, chronic neck and back pain, as well as tight muscles that often ache as a result of poor posture, can be greatly alleviated by the application of a few simple yoga poses.
Creativity and new ideas require a different way of looking at the world. The guided meditation that is part of all yoga practices has been shown to alter mental states and foster new ways of looking at the world. By removing stress and distraction, yoga practitioners can open their minds to new ideas and generate new and exciting concepts. This highly focused mental state is key to relaxation and happiness.Excessive distractions from phones, high stress jobs, kids and other areas of life have been shown to cause restlessness and frustration. Yoga allows the practitioner to disentangle from the chatter and needs of the busy mind and enter a deep state of calmness. Yogis often report significantly greater happiness, and a huge part of this relates to their ability to change their mental state.
Yoga keeps the body healthy and the mind clear. Yoga can be many things to many people, and the best thing about it is it can be for everyone. We all wants to feel fitter, be more active, better off in state of mind, more peaceful, and pain-free. It’s all about finding the class that is right for you.