Can yoga help you to get fit?

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Yoga promotes flexibility through the whole body through a combination of active and passive static stretching of the muscle body and also through dynamic stretching that occurs in a vinyasa yoga class or series of yoga poses such as a sun salutation. Tendons and ligaments are more limited in their stretching capacity than muscles but yoga improves their flexibility too, especially when practicing in a warm room, the mellow 30 degree infrared heat at Glow Yoga is ideal

Strength, stamina and muscle tone are achieved through a regular yoga practice particularly working standing poses, balances and inversions or partial inversions such as down dog pose as they require sustained muscular isometric contractions

Yoga promotes healthy joints through the squeeze and soak action the cartilage receives as the body is moved in ways that don’t occur in daily life (think of a mop being wrung out to be able to absorb more liquid effectively). This is why we “dry up” and shrink with age and limited mobility. When a yoga posture is released for example a twist, the area that has been wrung out is flooded with fresh nutrient rich fluid that is crucial in the health and range of motion of the joint

The cultivation of slow, deep and mindful breathing is the cornerstone of any yoga practice and this has profound affects on the movement of the diaphragm, the capacity of the lungs and the overall health, wellbeing and therefore fitness of the entire body (and mind)

Yoga helps to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels are chronically high, they have been proven to be a contributing factor to the storage of visceral fat, stored deep around the internal organs and in the abdominal cavity. It can also contribute to other health problems such as heart disease, insulin sensitivity, kidney malfunction, a compromised immune system and also reduce the strength of connective tissue and a loss of muscle tissue. Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest response) through breath work and postures in which to actively relax such as Savasana and active relaxation contributes to the production of serotonin, the feel good hormone.

Glow Yoga is available at Covent Garden (and in May) the Fitzrovia studios.

 

 


17 April 2013