benefits of yoga
WHAT ARE THE
benefits of yoga
It may just seem like complicated poses and salutations to the sun, but yoga is a physical activity with surprising health benefits. While one of the oldest practices in the world, yoga also involves intimate psychological reflection that can reap benefits among today’s often overwhelming society. This mind-body activity has become increasingly popular in the past decade, both among people practicing the exercise and studying its impact.
Recently, neuroscientists have started to investigate the brain mechanisms behind yoga practice. As shown by brain scans, compared to non-yogis, regular yoga practitioners have a greater volume of grey matter in regions that are important for executive functioning. Executive functioning describes a collection of cognitive processes such as attention, memory performance, fluid intelligence and decision making. In fact, studies have reported improvements in memory tasks after just one yoga session.
The benefits of yoga on the brain stretch beyond improved cognition. Yoga practice also shapes the neural mechanisms involved in how our body responds to stress. When facing a stressful situation, such as running late for the last train, our sympathetic nervous system brings about a “fight or flight” response. Such a response enables us to cope with the circumstances. For instance, this would trigger an increase in our heart rate and greater energy to be available for us to run and catch the train. Moreover, stress induces cortisol release in the bloodstream, providing extra energy sources. Once the stressful situation has ended, our parasympathetic system takes over. This causes a “rest and digest”
response, bringing our physiological states back to equilibrium – a condition known as homeostasis. Once you have jumped on the train, for example, your parasympathetic system slows down your heart rate and makes you relax on your seat. However, stressful situations can last longer than a couple of minutes, prolonging the sympathetic activity. Eventually this becomes detrimental, wearing out the body, and making it more vulnerable to disease. Interestingly, yoga-based practices have the potential to reduce the stress response by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, as well as by decreasing cortisol (the “stress hormone”) release.
Given the benefits of yoga practice on cognition and stress, this discipline could be adopted in the design of protocols with the potential to improve our mental health. Depression and anxiety, are two affective disorders which impair sharp functioning of our prefrontal cortex (involved in planning, reasoning and, social behaviour). These conditions are also known to increase cortisol levels in the bloodstream. Evidence suggests that yoga practice can improve these conditions, however more insight into the typology and frequency of training is needed. Further research would allow for a standardised design of yoga-based interventions.
With poor mental health affecting our society at a global level, it is essential to start investigating non-invasive treatments, such as yoga practice, that can help improve, and prevent detriment to our well-being.
This may just be the beginning of our understanding of the beneficial roles of yoga on our brains and psychological wellness. While scientists continue to clarify how and why yoga influences our wellbeing, you may want to grab a mat and aim at “mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in healthy body, through yoga practice!
The yoga wheel is a new therapeutic tool that allows simultaneous extension and flexion of the spine.
Deep heart opening and core strength, due to the comparatively large contact surface, your spine experiences guided extension and stable support in backbends. This contributes immensely to the preservation and promotion of a healthy spine.
No need of any special prerequisites to successfully practice with it.
Wherever your yoga practice is, beginner to advanced, It helps to reduce tension and renew fascia/connective tissue.
what are the benefits of using a yoga wheel?
1. It helps to do difficult stretches more safely.
Backbends and inversions are challenging postures and many of us avoid them.
The yoga wheel is a simple and safe way to ease people into these types of asana.
2. It can prevent injury
The yoga wheel keeps you upright and gives you the support that traditional poses cannot offer with traditional props or with no props.
3. It improves your flexibility
If you add the yoga wheel to your yoga routine you will have more confidence to stretch further.
It improves the mobility of your hip flexors which are important to master backbends and inversions. This will give you in a very short period of time a lot of breakthroughs.
4. It gives you dynamic support and better breathing.
The Western lifestyle, with long periods of sitting still, often results in a sunken posture. The body always gets better at what it does. This means that the mobility of the spine to the rear decreases and the body structures at the front become firmer and immovable.
With the yoga wheel you will extend a healthy radius of movement backwards and at the same time open the front of your body. You will also improve your ability to breathe because your diaphragm can perform better.
5. It makes you stronger
The yoga wheel will build up your strength and stamina. In a very short time of practising with the yoga wheel you will feel much stronger and healthier.
6. It gives you more variety in yoga poses.
When we practice on our mat, we normally work in closed systems. Both feet and hands are on the mat and do not slip. If we change that geometry and put the yoga wheel under one leg, a lot more muscle groups need to be active to hold the position. A closed system has now become an open system, requiring more power, balance and coordination. The practice becomes more intense and has greater variety.
7. It stimulates your fascia/connective tissue
Fascial tissue is mechanically stimulated by tension and pressure. Regeneration processes are triggered and the structures repair themselves to a certain extent. This requires moderate stimulation, which you will learn to do in a safe way in our course. Relieve your tensions and knots in the tissue. The secret is in massaging and activating the neck area and the lumbar area, areas that are known to be the most strained and most susceptible to injury.