September is official National Yoga Month, an awareness campaign and national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services for the purpose of educating Americans about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle. September is a great time to do this. Summer is just past and with it, for many of us, a time of family vacations, cutting loose, and perhaps eating and drinking less healthy than we would like. September is the perfect month to resume or Start a healthy lifestyle with Yoga.
My job as a cardiologist and yogi is to spread the word on the incredible health benefits of yoga. Modern science is quickly catching on to the health benefits of Yoga. Research is confirming what yogis have known for thousands of years!
BENEFITS OF YOGA
1. Peace of Mind, which reduces stress. Stress is known to be a major risk factor for the development of chronic inflammatory disorders such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer.
2.Cardiovascular Health. Yoga, particularly a Vinyasa or flow class is a wonderful form of aerobic exercise. But the true benefit on the cardiovascular system comes from stress reduction via mindfulness and meditation.
3. Improved Posture. Yoga encourages us to be more aware of our body in any position, on and off the mat.
4.Improved Coordination. Yoga is all about creating mindfulness. Connecting the mind with the body, yoga leads to mindful awareness of the body in movement, ie, coordination.
5. Healthy Connective Tissues. Yoga moves all the muscles through their full range of motion, allowing increased blood flow and oxygen to be delivered to all tissues.
6. Core Strength. The muscles surrounding the spine and the abdominal region are a major focus of yoga practice. Every movement we make is initiated from this region. A strong core gives us stability and strength for any physical activity and creates a healthy spinal region.
7. Strong Muscles. There is a common misconception that yoga is only about flexibility. The truth is that you will increase muscle tone and definition — and possibly even muscle size – with yoga.
8. Joint Care. Yoga moves the joints through their full range of motion and circulates synovial fluid in the joints, which provides lubrication, cushioning and nutrition to the joints.
9. Detoxification. The body eliminates waste through its circulatory system, digestive system, and lymphatic system. Yoga poses, such as twists, backbends, forward bends and inversions aid in detoxification by compressing digestive organs, increasing circulation and lymph drainage (inversions).
What Makes Yoga Unique
What separates Yoga from simple stretching and other forms of exercise is the Mind-Body-Breath connection. More than this, Yoga is a 2000-year-old traditional way of life. It instructs us not just how to move our bodies, but also how to breathe, how to manage stress, how to take care of ourselves, how to relate to others and how to BE in the world and the Universe at large.
READY TO GIVE YOGA A TRY? SEPTEMBER is a perfect time. Many Yoga studios around the country are offering free classes. You can also find free classes in your local parks.