Benefits Of Yoga You Need To Know
1. Increased Flexibility
Did you know a third of British adults can’t touch their own toes? Being flexible is crucial to allow your muscles to remain mobile, helping with day-to-day activities such as bending and lifting and so much more.
As Chris Magee, Head of Yoga at Another Space explains, “The benefits of yoga vary in terms of mental and physical benefits but the physical benefits can’t be ignored – yoga can help with joint stability and isometric strength and can help to boost flexibility and mobility. From a typical practice three times a week, you’ll start to see real improvements in flexibility in around four weeks.”
And the best kind of yoga for flexibility? “While all types of yoga will help with flexibility, hot yoga can make it easier for your muscles to strength and lengthen,” he says.
2. Improved Asthma Symptoms
A recent study by The American College of Sports Medicine found a 43% improvement in patients’ symptoms after ten weeks of yoga practice. Yoga’s emphasis on posture and deep, lengthened breaths improves lung capacity, efficiency, and overall airflow, which can reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
3. Reduced Risk Of Depression & Anxiety
Boston University’s School of Medicine discovered a 27% increase of the neurotransmitter GABA within the brain after just one 60-minute yoga class. Low levels of GABA have been linked with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.
Yoga’s mood-enhancing benefits are similar to those for asthma, slowing the breath and heart rate to reduce the body’s stress response. As yoga teacher and lululemon Ambassador Helen Russell-Clark says, “Yoga is a really powerful tool when it comes to mental health – it can teach you how to stay present, reduce anxiety and stress. Lululemon works with Ourmala – an amazing charity that offers specialist trauma-informed yoga to refugees and asylum seekers and its success has been overwhelming.”
4. Better Sleep
Regular physical activity has been proven to improve sleep, and yoga is no exception. Calming for both the body and the mind, restorative yoga poses are often recommended to those who find it difficult to fall or stay asleep – in fact, a small study on yoga practitioners at Harvard Medical School found “statistically significant improvements” in all aspects of falling, staying and awaking from sleep.
If you struggle with insomnia, consider a more restorative form of yoga such as yin yoga – Yoga Haven’s Yin Yoga class is an SL fave.
5. Stronger Core
Thought planks and Russian twists were the only way to get a strong core? Countless yoga poses can help to strengthen your core without you even realising, and we’ve experienced first-hand the benefits yoga can have on toning and strengthening the body.
Ashtanga and vinyasa forms of yoga are particularly known for their toning benefits, especially around the core. As yoga teacher The Sporty Yogi explains, “Yoga uses so many muscles that you would never normally use, guaranteeing a full-body workout. This, in time, will get your whole body back in sync.”
6. Better Diet
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported a unique connection between a regular yoga practice and healthier eating. Yoga is believed to increase mindful eating – i.e. being aware of why you eat and when to stop. Interestingly, no other type of physical activity produced the same mindful eating effects.
7. Less Back Pain
Multiple studies have found yoga to be a more effective treatment for chronic back pain than traditional treatments. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people living with chronic lower back pain reported better back function after a few months of practising yoga.
Even, if you don’t have chronic pain, yoga’s stretching exercises can improve your spinal flexibility – perfect for preventing stiff shoulders if you sit at a desk all day.
Helen Russell-Clarke is an ambassador for Canadian athletic apparel brand lululemon, which is donating 100% of its profits on International Day of Yoga. This will go to Here to Be, the company’s social impact program helping non-profit groups increase access to yoga and meditation for communities facing barriers to well-being. In the UK, the beneficiary will be Ourmala, a charity providing services to refugees and asylum seekers.
SL’S FAVOURITE YOGA STUDIOS IN LONDON...
With classes running from early until late with some of the capital’s best teachers (Chris’ Thursday morning class is our go-to), this studio – with branches in Covent Garden and Bank –comes highly recommended.
Visit AnotherSpace.London; classes start at £20 but are cheaper if you buy in bulk
If you’re just starting out, book in to your nearest Triyoga (there are six studios in London). As well as offering an impressive range and style of classes, also expect life workshops and meditation sessions, guaranteed to kick-start your wellness journey.
Visit Triyoga.co.uk; get your first 30 days for £54
A pioneer of hot yoga in the UK, Fierce Grace’s classes fuse classical hatha yoga with Bikram and ashtanga, designed to help you achieve optimum results in the minimum amount of time. Plus, there are six studios dotted across the capital, from Kentish Town to Brixton.
Visit FierceGrace.com; get your first 30 days for £39
This recently-opened studio in the heart of the City offers yoga classes like no other. Set to spine-tingling playlists, these immersive yoga classes will leave you feeling recharged and revived. Classes range from slow flows to more dynamic sequences designed to make you sweat and escape the City hustle.
Get 50% OFF 5 classes when you book with SheerLuxe VIP
Visit FlyLDN.co.uk; get your first class for £10
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