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The Benefit of Yoga
By: Della Menechella

The benefit of yoga practice goes far beyond the actual time you spend in the poses. One of the most common reasons why people begin practicing yoga is to improve their health and well-being. Yoga means union. It is a union of the mind, body and breath, so all aspects of your life are impacted by your practice.

A major benefit of yoga is physical.

Yoga improves your flexibility. The stretching that you engage in during every practice helps lengthen and stretch muscles, which helps reduce the risk of injuries.

It helps to improve your balance. The majority of yoga practices include some type of balancing in the poses. A significant number of people, especially as they began to get older, start to have problems with balance, which can lead to major injuries due to falls. By having a greater sense of balance, you are able to move more easily and safely.

Yoga can help reduce pain. - Tense muscles often contribute to pain. Relaxing muscles helps to minimize muscle tension and the pain that is associated with it. Also, breathing deeply into muscles helps lessen pain by altering your perception of it.

It tones your muscles. Yoga works all the muscles in your body. It helps strengthen and tone them and also builds endurance and stamina.

It helps to increase your level of energy. . Carrying tension in your body takes an enormous toll on your energy reserves. By learning how to relax through your yoga practice, you benefit by enjoying higher levels of energy so you can more thoroughly enjoy your daily activities.

Yoga helps promote a sense of relaxation. Most people breathe high in their chests. This not only does not allow them to get sufficient oxygen, it also triggers the stress response, which contributes to feelings of anxiety. Breathing deeply as practiced in yoga, helps relax your muscles and also brings much needed oxygen to your cells. The deep sense of relaxation also leads to better quality sleep.

Each yoga practice ends with some type of relaxation. Since your body and mind are one, by relaxing your body you also relax your mind. Many yoga experts believe that a relaxation pose is the most beneficial pose in any yoga practice.

Another benefit of yoga is mental.

Yoga clears your mind and helps you focus your attention. During your practice, you are focusing your attention on your breath and turning inward. This concentration allows you to withdraw from the distractions in your environment. A significant benefit of yoga practice is that you can take this ability to focus your attention into every aspect of your life. You can be fully present with whatever you are doing instead of worrying about tomorrow or regretting yesterday. Not only will your actions be more productive, you can also enjoy them in a greater way.

Yoga helps reduces stress. - Deep breathing helps reduce the hormones that are released when you are feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, and frazzled. The internal focus that accompanies the poses helps create a relaxation response in your body.

Yoga can help release stuck emotions. Often stuck emotions find their way into our bodies. Remember, your mind and body are one, and if you are suppressing any painful emotions, you will often experience that as pain in some part of your body. A benefit of yoga is that by breathing deeply into places in your body that hold tension, you can help release the emotions that may be buried there. You can then examine these emotions and let go of those that do not serve you.

Also, as you take your body past the limits of where it has been, you start to feel that you can move past other limitations in your life as well.

You gain a sense of peace and tranquility. - Most yoga practices include some time for meditation. Regular meditation helps your mind reach a state of inner calm. It helps you gain control over your thinking instead of being at the mercy of wayward thoughts.

As you can see, the benefit of yoga has far reaching effects in every area of your life. Maintain a regular yoga practice, and you will see for yourself, how yoga can benefit you too.

About the Author

Della Menechella is a yoga and fitness enthusiast who has been involved in fitness for over thirty years. Here website is filled with practical information about how you can make yoga and fitness a positive part of your life

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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