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How Yoga Can Improve Your Strength, Balance, Flexibility, And Your Health

Tone and strengthen your body while you lower blood pressure … ease back pain … reduce the risk of heart disease … and improve your memory with YOGA!

In today’s 24/7 world with shocking news bombarding us, electronic devices beeping for attention, and an inbox full of emails that seem to need an immediate reply, it’s no wonder stress levels are at an all-time high. In fact, research shows 90% of all doctor visits are linked to stress-related problems. Yoga can be a perfect remedy. It’s one form of exercise that helps relieve stress while improving strength, balance, flexibility, and overall health.

Did you know yoga can do more than just strengthen and tone your body? Recent research shows it can have a powerful effect on your health—making it a perfect remedy for everything from heart disease to high blood pressure to anxiety and depression.

For years, yoga was considered a fringe practice embraced mostly by celebrities and "New Agers." But today yoga studios are cropping up all over the country, and millions of people are giving it a try.

You may already be familiar with some yoga moves such as downward dog and mountain pose, but yoga is more than that. It's a total mind-body workout that includes: postures (like tree pose), breathing practices, deep relaxation, and meditation that helps transform your health in dozens of ways.

Yoga works across multiple systems in your body at one time to help:
1. Improve in balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination
2. Reduction of your risk of heart disease
3. Relieving migraines
4. Fighting of osteoporosis,
5. Fighting and prevention of Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or fibromyalgia
6. Undoing the harmful effects of stress
7. Helping you stay calm and release tension 
8. Dramatically ease lower back pain and even alleviate arthritis pain 
9. Lower the need for diabetes medications by as much as 40% 
10. Rev up your immunity by raising levels of disease-fighting antioxidants in your body 
11. Switch on genes that promote health — works even if you’re a beginner
12. Reduce depression, chronic pain, and even improve PTSD symptoms
13. Lower your risk of falling and help you regain your balance if you stumble

That's not all. One study showed how yoga increased the flexibility of blood vessels by 69%, and even helped to shrink blockages in arteries without the use of medications!

And you may even be able to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and fight age-related declines in memory through the meditation component of yoga. In fact, yoga does so much for your health that studies show people who do yoga use 43% fewer medical services, and they save anywhere from $640 to more than $25,000!

Here's a breathing technique and yoga move to get you started. Release tension with Abdominal Breathing
Abdominal breathing is a basic yoga breath that all beginners should start with.
This technique gets you to breathe deeply to create abdominal movement.
To start:
A. Lie on your back with one or both hands on your abdomen.
B. Breathe slowly and deeply, drawing air into the lowest part of your lungs so your hand rises.
C. Once you can do this breath lying down, you can give it a try while sitting or standing.
D. Try this technique while you practice a posture, while meditating, or any time you want to calm down.

Ease into Yoga
Here's a standard stretch that you’ll link with your breath for a more mindful practice.
Starting position:
A. Sit or stand with your feet slightly apart; arms relaxed at sides.
A. As you exhale, slowly lower your chin toward your chest so you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your neck.
B. As you inhale, raise your head backward, looking up to the ceiling.
Go only as far as comfortable, feeling a gentle stretch in the front of your neck. That’s one rep. Do 3 reps.
Where you’ll feel it:
Back and front of neck.

Note: If you are elderly, have any neck problems, or have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before doing this move.

Why not give yoga a try and see how it can help your health? There's no risk.

Original Post by
Lauren E. Elson, M.D.
Harvard Health Publishing Editor

Source: Harvard Health Publishing

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Nice article


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