These days if you are looking for a physical activity to meet specific emotional and physical needs, you are in luck! Even though yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, many individuals are just now discovering the physical and mental health benefits of this exercise.
Yoga is used as a complementary and alternative medicine that is centered around a mind-body intervention that is used to reduce health effects of generalized stress. Those who have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) reported having reduced depressive symptoms after participating in yoga and breathing practices 2 to 3 times a week in 90 minute classes. Those who suffer with depression should participate in yoga and deep breathing classes at least twice a week, plus at-home practice to significantly reduce symptoms.
According to the American Osteopathic Organization, “yoga focuses the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing”. Yoga can also help with the following:
· Calm the nervous system and balance the mind and body
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce stress
- Improve coordination
- Increase flexibility
- Increase concentration
- Improve sleep
- Aid in better digestion
- Improves proprioception (feedback to brain regarding joint position and motion)
- Improves mood
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety
Yoga also teaches and promotes the practice of mindfulness which can be used in all aspects of life, but is more so associated with mindful eating. Mindful eating creates a nonjudgmental awareness of the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. Those who practice yoga are likely to be more attune to how their body’s feel regarding hunger, fullness, and emotional eating. Those who practice yoga on a regular basis tend to have a lower body mass index compared to those who do not.
If you would like to begin practicing yoga, Cullman City Parks and Recreation have yoga classes at the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center and the Donald E. Green Senior Center. Yoga is a great practice for those of all ages and skill levels. Classes can be modified to fit every individual’s physical needs, even if there are limitations.