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The benefits of yoga

 

The benefits of yoga are vast. There are 8 limbs or areas in yoga. I will start with the area of yoga that most people are familiar with and most interested in practising. Bellow are some of the main benefiets of the asanas, or yoga postures.

 

yoga posture headstand from behindyoga posture headstandyoga posture headstand close up

 

The Asanas - The Yoga Postures

When the asana is correct there is a lightness, a freedom. Freedom comes when every part of the body is active. Let us be free in whatever posture we are doing. Let us be full in whatever we do. B.K.S. Iyengar

 

The Asanas, yoga postures, are the physical side, exercise part, of yoga. An asana is held for a certain amount of time, this can vary from a few seconds to minutes, even hours, depending on the students ability and experience. Asanas can flow into each other, being done together in a sequence, however in Iyengar yoga, especially beginners classes, asanas are usually practised one at a time. This allows the student to understand each yoga asana and how to work the entire body in individual yoga asanas safely and without injury.

The yoga asanas work every muscle, nerve and gland in the body. The body becomes stronger and more flexible. The asanas also help keep the human body disease free. They improve energy, calm the nervous system, focus and discipline the mind. In turn self will, confidence and a sense of self prosper.

Standing Postures

The standing postures are invigorating and energising! The main benefits include:

  • refreshing the body and mind
  • improving circulation and the respiratory system
  • improving flexibility and strength in the back, hips, knees, neck and shoulders
  • stimulating the digestive system
  • removing aches and pains
  • teaching correct posture and body awareness, not just for yoga but for everyday life

Seated Postures

Seated postures are calming, but at the same time they help balance energy in the mind and body. The main benefits include:

  • lengthening and opening the knees, hips, hamstrings, glutial muscles and lower back
  • removing fatigue
  • refreshing mind and body
  • balancing energy
  • calming
  • resting the heart

Spinal twists

Spinal twists or lateral twists extend or stretch the spine and back to the right and left, rotating one way then the other. Some spinal twists are seated asanas, others are standing postures and some inverteds. The benefits of spinal twists include:

  • keeping the spine supple
  • relieving stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • relieving backaches
  • exercising and activating the abdominal organs and kidneys
  • bringing flexibility to the hips
  • improved digestion

Inverted Postures

Inverted Postures are a boost for the whole human system! The benefits include:

  • rejuvenating the internal organs by bathing them in extra blood and oxygen while the body is inverted
  • detoxifying and invigorating the internal organs
  • improving the circulation
  • regulating the blood pressure
  • activating and toning the glands, especially pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Back Bends

Back bends are energising and rejuvenating. The main benefits include:

  • making the spine flexible
  • opening the chest fully
  • strengthening the arms and shoulder
  • bringing alertness to the mind
  • stimulating and motivating the mind and body

Balancing Postures

Balancing postures are not usually practiced in beginners classes. Most balancing asanas are for intermediate and senior students. The benefits include:

  • developing strength and agility
  • improved co-ordination and concentration
  • improved muscle tone and control over the body

Jumpings

Jumpings are energising and invigorating. The main benefits include:

  • developing speed and lightness
  • re-energising and bringing alertness to the mind and bodybuilding stamina
  • stimulating the abdominal organs and the brain with extra blood supply

Relaxation

Relaxation, Savasana, is usually done at the end of a yoga class. One lies one's back on a mat, perfectly still. The main benefits include:

  • bringing stillness and relaxation to the body
  • bringing quietness to the busy mind
  • allowing the energy created during the asanas to spread throughout the body
  • stopping and reflecting - the only time in the week when you fully stop, no moving, no rushing, no next next next do do do

Pranayama

Meditation

Self Realisation

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