Rise and Shine with Yoga

FACT

Yoga lowers stress and improves mood, among other benefits.

Eight reasons why yoga is so good for you:

1. Lowers stress and improves your mood Some yoga methods use specific meditation techniques to focus the mind on your breathing that quietens the constant ‘mind chatter’, relieves stress and allows you to feel relaxed. Practising yoga can also boost oxygen levels to the brain, leaving you feeling happier and more content with everyday life.

2. Boosts confidence
Aside from the uplifting spiritual values, the act of meditation can actually boost your confidence. The process works by releasing tension from your mind so you can feel confident about your physical body. Without any forms of anxiety, you are able to establish an internal connection with yourself. This is consequently reflected in your perception of others and will help to better your relationships by improving compassion and awareness.

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3. Lower risk of injury
Exercise, such as running, is usually a series of rapid, forceful movements, which means that effort is at a maximum and there is a higher risk of injury and increased muscle tension. Often, strenuous exercise also engages an imbalance of opposing muscle groups whereas yoga concentrates on balancing this activity. Yoga unites your body and mind and therefore allows you to move in a way that results in an injury free, healthier you.

4. Helps you lose weight
Being overweight is a sign that there are imbalances in your everyday life and one major contributor to weight gain is excess stress. Practising yoga enables you to bring a deep sense of relaxation to your body and your mind, helping you to de-stress and allowing you to lose weight naturally.

5. Increases flexibility
People often say that they are not flexible enough to do yoga. The truth is it doesn’t matter how tight your muscles are as yoga asanas works by safely stretching your muscles and help you to practise it further. Moreover yoga also stretches other soft tissue in the body such as ligaments and tendons, increasing the range of motion in the joints and allowing you to move around more freely.

6. Improves muscle tone and strength
Many yoga asanas have a profound effect on your upper body strength, such as the downward and upward dog and the plank focuses on your core. Likewise standing poses strengthen your upper leg muscles and lower back. Essentially any pose will strengthen an area of the body if it is practised in the right way, without putting too much stress on specific muscle groups.

2013-03-08-COMOShambhala_yogasittinghuffpost.jpg7. Benefits breathing and lowers blood pressure
If you are to practise yoga consistently, your lung capacity will increase as a result of the deep breathing process. This will then have a positive effect on more intense sports that you might be a part of, increasing your stamina and endurance. Furthermore, meditation and calming yoga asanas slow down your heart rate which in turn lowers blood pressure and have also been linked with improving the immune system and lowering cholesterol.

8. Improves your posture
By practising yoga you maintain a healthier weight, become more flexible and improve your muscle tone and strength. You will find that your posture will greatly improve because of this. Your abdominals and back muscles can now fully support your weight and you will be able to sit and stand tall, preventing niggling injuries, aches and pains.

The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced pretty much anywhere, on your own or with other yoga enthusiasts. If you have been inspired to give yoga a go there is no better place to try it than on an amazing yoga holiday. With destinations spanning from Thailand to St Lucia, I round up five of my favourite yoga holidays so you can enjoy a luxurious healthy holiday whilst profiting from the extraordinary health and fitness benefits yoga has to offer.

ACT

Dust off your mat and start the day with this simple morning sequence.

Morning Sequence

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