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Why yoga is good for your mind, body and soul

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You can try it on the beach, in the park or even on a mountain – yes, we’re talking about yoga. This relaxing form of exercise now seems to be one of the most popular ways to keep fit. It even has its own celebratory day: International Yoga Day.

Taking place on 19 June, International Yoga Day came about when the Prime Minister of India called on world leaders to adopt the day, in an effort to help people feel more at one with their surroundings.

While this might sound a little fluffy to some, yoga can have innumerable benefits for the mind, body and soul. And you don’t even have to practise it outdoors: yoga is the perfect form of exercise for the office.

Mind

*Focus

Procrastination can be a natural part of the working day, but sometimes, distractions can be more serious, and you may find yourself struggling to focus on daily tasks. This focus is just one of the things that yoga can improve.

A recent study revealed that taking part in just 20 minutes of yoga helped people perform faster and more accurately in brain functionality tests. It’s thought that this could be a result of yoga’s power to help you focus your attention on one thing, like the placement of your body: a mindful practice that can clear your head, helping you to process information more effectively.

During periods when you’re feeling particularly distracted at work, why not try slotting in a 20 – 30 minute yoga session before you head to the office or during your lunch break?

Body

*Protection for your spine

It’s no secret that office workers can suffer from back, neck and shoulder problems. Unfortunately, it can come as part and parcel of sitting down all day, hunched over a keyboard. Luckily, weekly yoga sessions can help to reduce pressure on the spine and ease muscle tension.

While it isn’t a miracle cure, the act of twisting and bending your arms and legs, and stretching your spine, constantly opens up your body and creates space between your joints. The overall effect can relieve the tightness that can often manifest as aches and pains.

*Balanced Blood Pressure

When many people experience stress, it can result in raised blood pressure and shallow breathing. Needless to say, this isn’t good for your body or your ability to work efficiently.

Yoga could actually help to balance your blood pressure. By lowering your pulse rate, your heart can pump more blood around your body with fewer beats, which means that you’re able to receive a higher level of nutrients and oxygen. Yoga could even improve your breathing through its controlled respiratory exercises. Once you know how to regulate your breathing, you can use it in times of stress for a spot of at-desk relaxation.

*Better Sleep

When you take the previous benefits into consideration, it’s little surprise that so many yoga practitioners say that it helps them to sleep better. Regulating your energy levels, bringing your body into balance and clearing your mind, it could help you to not only drift off faster but sleep more soundly, too.

Soul

* Improved Mood

As with any form of exercise, yoga is thought to encourage the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine can lift our mood, making us feel happier and more relaxed. But the feelings of positivity you get from yoga may not always be chemically-charged. Concentrating on what your body is doing, and nothing else, can bring feelings of calm, working with yoga’s physical benefits to help you feel a greater sense of wellness.

Will you be taking part in a yoga class to celebrate International Yoga Day? Perhaps you already practice yoga and have felt some real benefits? Tell us about it on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Sources:

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/yoga.aspx

http://www.wellbeingyoga.co.uk/benefits-of-yoga/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/fitness/why-yoga-cures-everything/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/10/20-minutes-yoga-brain_n_3404766.html

This article was first published on 7th June 2016.

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