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Yoga, More Than Just Stretching

 Eastland Chiropractic and Wellness Center July 02, 2015

Life can be stressful. Whether it’s our jobs, family, relationships, or finances — stress can be there. But we can manage it. Yoga is one way to help remain calm and relieve stress.

Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Today, people practice many different styles of yoga, some that are more traditional and some that incorporate other types of exercise. Like other meditative movement practices used for health purposes, any type of yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. While it may seem that yoga is just stretching, it offers many other physical benefits including increased strength, flexibility, and balance. Depending on the approach that is used, there may also be cardiovascular benefits. For example, the various postures and poses can be done in quick succession to provide more of a cardio benefit, or more slowly to concentrate on increasing stamina, balance, and relieving stress. The specific poses will be the same, but how the poses are performed will vary depending on the instructor and the type of class.

Breathing is essential to yoga and most yoga classes will include instruction on breathing and meditation. Breathing in and out of your nose using slow, deep, steady breaths calms the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers cortisol levels and stress. Holding a yoga pose as you watch your breathing helps you focus which also helps you de-stress. When the mind is scattered in a million directions, it’s hard to stay calm, centered, and stress-free. As you hold a yoga pose, find a spot to focus on as you watch your breath and notice the mind and body releasing stress.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga may be beneficial for a number of conditions, including pain. Recent studies in people with chronic low back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses can help reduce pain and improve function. Other studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and, improve overall physical fitness. Increased flexibility can help prevent injury because the more range of motion you have in your joints, the easier it is to move freely and stay injury-free.

Yoga is not a religion, but many people who practice it consider it a philosophy that encompasses the importance of the mind-body connection. Some people find the physical practice of yoga becomes a spiritual exploration, while others just enjoy the low-impact workout. Practicing yoga keeps you strong, flexible, focused, relaxed, and more open in your body and mind.

For more information on all the services offered at Eastland Chiropractic & Wellness Center, call 309-662-8418 or visit them online at Their office is located at 2406 E. Washington St. in Bloomington. They offer YogaFit classes, which overcome the mystery of yoga by delivering a practical, user-friendly style, which is accessible, understandable, and doable for individuals at any level of fitness.

Photo credit: gradyreese/iStock Back to Top

 Eastland Chiropractic and Wellness Center| July 02, 2015

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