guest post: yoga, yoga, and more yoga

I am so excited to have a guest poster today! Carolyn Fallon writes a health and wellness blog and is passionate about…what else? Yoga! She’s sharing her thoughts on the benefits of my most favorite thing here:

Yoga: A Life-Changing Practice

The American Yoga Association defines yoga as a practice dating back more than 5,000 years to ancient India. It revolves around postures to increase flexibility in the body and breathing and meditating exercises to exercise the mind.  Exercise, breathing and meditation work together to put pressure on the body’s glandular system and to improve overall health for people of all kinds.  

Today, there are more than 100 schools of yoga practices.  The most popular school is that of Hatha Yoga, which is based on physical movements or postures and on breathing exercises.  Another well-known school is Raja Yoga, which combines the postures and breathing exercises with meditation and study.  Tantra Yoga, another school, focuses on expanding all levels of consciousness.  

Physical Benefits
The regular practice of yoga provides the practitioner with physical, mental and emotional benefits. Physically, yoga helps practitioners improve overall flexibility and balance. It can also help them increase strength and build muscle tone.  For those practitioners suffering from pain, yoga can aid with pain management and even preventing pain, particularly for back pain sufferers.  Another physical benefit of practicing yoga is better, deeper breathing since the breathing technique and exercises in yoga teach practitioners how to better use their lungs.  Due to it’s many physical benefits, and the fact that it greatly increases joint health at every age, Dr. Glen Axelrod of St. Joseph’s Hospital Center for Orthopedics explains that many professional sports teams are now using yoga as a regular part of team training.

Mental Benefits
Mentally, yoga can also be very beneficial.  Yoga provides stress relief for practitioners since the practice demands that people are “in the moment” while completing their exercises, which leads them to momentarily forget the stressors and provides the mind with a calming, relaxing break.  Yoga also helps practitioners become more in-tune with their own bodies since they are required to be aware of their body as they adjust their exercises through the practice.  This allows practitioners to become more comfortable with their bodies, thus building self-confidence and helping them achieve better posture.  

Emotional Benefits
Finally, a regular yoga practice also has emotional benefits since it can enhance a person’s understanding of life.  The internal well-being that yoga practitioners develop allows them to be calmer about every day situations, to have overall peace of mind, and to get to know themselves better.  Yoga practitioners tend to see the world differently – in a more positive way — and to feel more harmony with the world around them.  

The physical, mental and emotional benefits that the practice of Yoga offers people can truly make an impact in the way they see, understand, and live their lives.  With so many types of yoga available, and the ability for anyone to participate, it’s a wonder that more people aren’t practicing it and reaping the abundance of benefits that it truly does offer.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor.

Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/

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