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How Does Yoga Work?

We’ve all heard about it: yoga. What is it?

Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline that includes breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures. It is widely practiced for health and relaxation.

Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

There’s also over 100 forms or types of yoga practiced all over the world. Some are fast-paced and intense, while others are slower, gentle and relaxing.  The intensity of the yoga varies with it’s type, because each type targets different parts of the body.

The stretches and contortions integral to the ancient Eastern practice science confirms that the practice also has tangible physical benefits to overall health benefits that can include improved brain function and denser bones.

Relaxation is when the body and mind are in a state of balance,” said Jasmine Kaloudis, a yoga instructor in Philadelphia. “It means releasing chronic muscle tension … restoring natural diaphragmatic breathing, and improving oxygen absorption. The postures have many tangible physical benefits for every major system of the body.”

Yoga is a great activity for you if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease. It gives you strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness.

It thickens the layers of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain associated with higher learning, and increases neuro-plasticity, which helps us learn new things and change the way we do things,”

Said Fishman, who has used yoga in his medical practice to treat myriad conditions, including multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and rotator cuff syndrome.

Yoga pits one group of muscles against another, exerting many times the force of gravity, that increases the stress on the bones, and the bones react to that by thickening.”

Yoga is an effective treatment for people who like slow, and steady procedures. There’s no denying it’s validity, but if you like fast-paced, intense workouts then yoga probably isn’t your cup of tea.

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