Recently I was with my friend who had just come from a Saturday morning yoga class, and I was instantly jealous—in a good way! She said the same thing I always do, I need to do this more.
Google search “health benefits of yoga” and see what pops up. Well, a lot to be exact! Yoga has been shown to help physical, mental, emotional health—basically everything. As an osteopathic physician, we are taught to look at the whole picture in order to make a diagnosis. Treating one part may not be enough, it may go beyond what is right in front of us. This is the case with yoga.
I know you are thinking: yoga is a bunch of bending, twisting and stretching that I cannot even think about attempting to do. And if you stop at the surface, then I would say you are correct. But let’s take a deeper look at yoga.
I am a highly competitive person, just ask anyone that knows me. The hardest part for me about starting yoga was being okay with not being able to hit every pose every time. Some days I am just not as flexible as others. This was a break through moment for me—being okay with just being okay. This has allowed me to continue with yoga. In fact, trying to do more!
So what does yoga help? —well glad you asked. First of all, it has been shown to lower depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that after as few as 6-8 weeks of regular yoga practice, people have reported less anxiety and depression. It also helps decreased inflammation, which we know has significant long term negative effects on health. It also has been shown to decreased blood pressure and thus potentially lowering your risk of heart issues. Yoga has even been shown to improve chronic pain.
There are many different yoga practices, so if you try one and it isn’t right for you, then try another! My favorite is flow yoga, in particular hot flow yoga. We have a great studio locally that does warm and hot flow yoga—this really gets my heart beats and my sweat going. Plus I walk out feeling on top of world—it does helps that the studio is upstairs, but you get my point.
Yoga isn’t for everyone, but neither is running or lifting. Though, yoga is something everyone can do. It is great as a solo practice. It is great for cross training . So try it out, you never know—you might just become a Yogi
…until next time, IrishDoc07