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The Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is the ancient practice of physical, mental, and spiritual exercises. It originated in ancient India from the Hindu religion but today is practiced by people of all religions around the world. Yoga is comprised of a variety of different stretching, breathing, and meditation exercises that are designed to reduce stress, increase flexibility, and promote mental health. Learn more about the benefits of yoga from Mountainside Fitness in Phoenix, AZ.

A Clear Head

According to a study by the University of Illinois, a 20-minute session of beginners’ Hatha yoga can help improve focus and information processing. Are you feeling foggy halfway through the day? Do you stare at a computer screen for most of your shift? Instead of reaching for an energy drink or another cup of coffee, take a break from your computer and find a quiet place to sit and meditate. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or in a chair. Keep your back straight, and your shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, taking measured, deep breaths. By closing your eyes, you’re giving your optic nerves a temporary break from the glare of the computer screen as well as allowing your mind the chance to process all that morning’s work. Clear your mind. Don’t think about that project due at the end of the day. Just focus on your breathing and come back to work refreshed and ready to go.

Child’s poseA Happy Outlook

Deadlines at work, bad news on the television, rush hour traffic—these are just a few stress-inducing factors that can weigh you down. Depression, stress, and anxiety can impede your ability to focus as well as to appreciate the little things in life. Yoga centers the mind and helps you take a break from the stresses of the world to focus on your health and mental well-being. Yoga helps you slow down and live in the moment instead of stressing over tomorrow’s works. In addition to combating depression and stress, a new study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice suggests that yoga could also help patients with bipolar disorder. By practicing self-discipline, meditation, and deep breathing, patients reported a reduction in manic occurrences and general agitation.

A Healthy Brain

In addition to supplementing treatments for mental disorders and anxiety, yoga can also help fight age-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Another study backed by the U.K. Alzheimer’s Society demonstrated increased alertness and energy levels in older patients who practiced yoga on a weekly basis. One of the principles behind this study is the fact that yoga also helps increase blood flow throughout the body as well as release endorphins that protect the brain and increase happiness. To experience the life-changing power of yoga for yourself, check out the programs at Mountainside Fitness, your local health and fitness centers in Phoenix, AZ.