In the beginning….there was Yoga. Before your cycling and boutique fitness blah blah class, there was Yoga. It’s more than people doing cool looking bendy poses and wearing crazy colorful yoga pants. Yoga is a “practice” or “mechanism” for reminding you of your breath, your body, and the ability you possess to create and work through things. It’s been used for healing and depression, mind and body, and the benefits of yoga are the real deal.
Yoga has a ton of health benefits but these are impressive.
1. Drains you lymph and boosts immunity.
Stretching and contracting muscles, like when you do yoga promote lymph drainage getting rid of toxic waste that might be messing with cellular functions. Your lypathic system can’t fight infection properly with all those toxins hanging around.
2. Regulates you adrenal glands.
Oh fuck ya! Your adrenal glands release hormones called cortisol and aldosterone meant to regulate blood pressure, control blood sugar, and react to stresses like a major injury or illness. And we all known what happens when our hormones get out of whack!
3. Relaxes your system.
Yoga switches the focus from your sympathetic nervous system also known as fight or flight system to your parasympathetic nervous system which is calming and restorative like all those Vinyasa poses. This response of nervous system relaxation increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs, decreases blood pressure and lowers your heart and breathing rates. Ahhhh zen master…
4. Is all about the breath.
Breath does more than just fill those lungs and help them function better. Increasing oxygenation to any part of your body promotes circulation and circulation promotes healing. See why those deep breaths are important.
5. Increases your blood flow.
Didn’t I just say that!? Yes because it’s THAT important! Getting more oxygen to your cells allows them to function better. Yoga also reduces stress, anxiety and tension which of course contribute to poor circulation.
If you are suffering from an Auto-immune disease the above mentioned benefits might help aid your healing and overall management. There have been numerous accounts of folks who have suffered from depression, physical disability, and even disease who turned to yoga as a means to change their overall wellbeing and succeeded.
The benefits of yoga are widely known.
The practice of Yoga is ancient, beginning over 5,000 years ago in Northern India with its expansion across the world proving its credibility. Thankfully it is now super trendy and virtually every city, suburb or church basement (that’s right) has a local class for you. Because it IS magical, yoga can also be costly. Nowadays you can get a yoga mat almost anywhere for under $10 but if a weekly class is not in your budget you can also purchase Yoga DVD’s online or my favorite method is check out some of your favorite Yoga Guru’s on Youtube.
Yoga with Adriene is one of my absolute favorites for the amount of videos she has. She makes videos for free (!!!) with all types of yoga levels for all types of yoga practitioners. If you are new to Yoga she has many videos that can gently get your started. Don’t think just because you have an ailment that you have to get better first or get in a place where it will be easier for you. The purpose and beauty of Yoga is that you as you are right now- can come to Yoga and be a Yogi.
Initially I didn’t want to go to Yoga classes when I first noticed my Alopecia Areata because I didn’t want to put my hair up and reveal my big bald spot. I was on the road a lot in the beginning but I did practice at home yoga in hotel rooms across the country when I felt anxious or just needed to check in.
If you’ve never been to a yoga class or have an injury (physical or emotional) that you’re worried might draw attention, I can assure you everyone is in their own little world during a yoga class and is super self-involved in a good way. They wouldn’t even notice you. They also once were exactly where you were, struggling with poses and taking advantage of everyone’s favorite… child’s pose.
Yoga is a great way to get some me time and even better it’s a great way to promote self healing. Everyone needs a little love and a lot of people now are finding it all on their mats.
Tips to keeping with your yoga practice:
- Don’t start off with the mindset of you have to do it everyday. That just adds resistance. Do what you can, when you can. Your body will start to enjoy how it feels after doing yoga and will guide you to want more of it.
- Do find a place that is comfortable for you. I will make sure everyone is out of my house when I do my yoga because I don’t want the interruption. I also like alone time:)
- Don’t think you need yoga clothes. Shorts, sweats, t-shirt, naked..whatever. You don’t need anything but your body.
- Do expect yourself to wobble around and fall out of poses. Folks I was a professional dancer with incredible balance and even Yoga kicks my ass.
Truth time- do I practice yoga everyday- no. I go through stages where I do it a ton and then stages where my body hibernates. If you have a buddy sometimes that helps to remind you to get on the mat and let your body breathe. However you find yourself let your practice be a place and space where you can learn, grow and flow.