Sunday, December 27, 2009

Benefits of Yoga 4

I am continuing to share the wonderful benefits of yoga. The benefits come from Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners.

Blood Pressure - If you've got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga. Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch. After three months, Savasana was associated with a 26-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 15-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) -and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.

The Heart- When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you can lower your risk heart attack and relieve depression. While not all yoga is aerobic, if you do it vigorously or take flow or Ashtanga classes, it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. But even yoga exercises that don't get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning. Studies have found that yoga practice lowers the resting heart rate, increase endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise --all reflections of improved aerobic conditioning.

Worry- Yoga lowers cortisol levels. If that doesn't sound like much, consider these facts. Normally, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to an acute crisis, which temporarily boosts immune function. If your cortisol levels stay high even after the crisis, they can compromise the immune system. Temporary boosts of cortisol help with long-term memory, but chronically high levels undermine memory and may lead to permanent changes in the brain. Plus, excessive cortisol has been linked with major depression, osteoporosis (it extracts calcium and other minerals from bones and interferes with the laying down of new bone), high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. In rats, high cortisol levels leads to what researchers call "food-seeking behavior" (the kind that drives you to eat when you're upset, angry or stressed). The body takes those calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain and the risk of diabetes and heart attack.

Join me for yoga in the New Year and experience all the awesome benefits of yoga.

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