tofino yoga - the benefits of yoga

The Health Benefits of Yoga

by Lisa Fletcher, Tofino


The health benefits of yoga are endless. It can be used to treat specific problems in the body or can be used to maintain and prevent future problems.

With regular practice there is more relaxation, healthier sleep patterns, better posture and circulation and a more grounded approach to life.

Physical Health

Hatha yoga is the most widely practiced yoga in the west. The physical strength attained from asanas tend to be what lures people in. Yoga begins its work at the outermost aspect of the personality, the physical body, which most people find this a practical and familiar starting point.

The asanas of yoga build muscular strength by moving the body in various positions. Stretching muscles can release tension that has built up over time. This creates a toned physique by using muscles that aren't used in normal everyday life. Yoga itself is all about balance; therefore it only makes sense that each side of the body is equally worked to create harmony.

The variety of the poses and the sequence in which they are done, creates a 'core' strength that is unattainable through any other activity. Many physical ailments such as back, hip and knee pain have been reduced through regular yoga practice. Asanas also increase flexibility and circulation. Flexibility is a key component to staying limber and avoiding injuries, especially as a person ages. One particular pose for building core strength, alignment, and hamstring flexibility is trikonasana, or triangle pose.

During the work of specific asanas, there is a lot of effort that goes on inside the body. For example, besides toning the entire body, trikonasana also tones the reproductive organs, stimulates the nervous system and improves digestion. While the body is hard at work on the outside, the internal organs, glands, and nervous system are reaping the benefits as well. It is possible to massage and thus stimulate and detoxify certain organs depending on the pose. Yoga is being prescribed all over the world as a means to treat varying physical ailments.

Mental Health

There have been numerous studies done on how stress affects the body. It can raise blood pressures, cause anxiety and have devastating long- term effects. Yoga relaxes muscles and slows down the body to a more conscious state. Properly preformed asanas require focus and stillness within. In a study at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, it was discovered that men and women in their 20s and 30s had more of a decrease in cortisol levels, (the stress hormone), after a single yoga session than just resting quietly.

As yoga de-stress' the body, it is also promotes a quietness inside so it can fully focus. A focused mind is rewarded in better memory, and ease in learning new things. In the asana sirasana, or head balance, blood flows to the head through brain cells. One of the affects of sirasana is thought to rejuvenate the brain cells, increasing thinking power and clearer thoughts.

Pranayama is the breath-work that is done in yoga. It is so easy to forget just how important breathing actually is. Each breath we inhale brings in oxygen, churning into nutrients, and every exhalation is the release of wastes, carbon dioxide. Prana translates to vital energy, or life force. Yama is derived from ayama, which means extension, or expansion. Incorporating pranayama with asanas, or even on its own can have a very powerful effect of the mind body connection. It unlocks doorways, creating a flow throughout the whole body. This relieves stress, induces calmness and gives an invaluable base for dealing with everyday situations.

There have even been studies done on yoga reducing depression. One of the most persuasive cases for reducing depression with yoga, stems from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience in India. A success rate of 73% by treating depression with a specific paranayama technique called sudharshan kriya.

B.K.S. Iyengar has been studying yoga since 1934, and is the founder of Iyengar Yoga. He states that through pranayama, "a yogi's head and heart are clean through the harmony of the breath".

Spiritual Health

Although yoga originates from an ancient religion of India, it is more a way of thinking than religious acts. The spiritual connection of yoga ultimately comes from within the yogi; it comes from the union of the body, mind, and soul. There is no competition involved--it is only about how open the person is willing to become by putting aside past fears or ego. Well put by Isaacs and Martinez, " Coming onto the mat is called a yoga practice, not a yoga performance".

Meditation is integrated with yoga every step of the way. The meditation aspect of yoga is all about the personal growth and empowerment. Yoga cultivates integrity, awareness and an understanding that everything is connected -- a philosophy for leading a finer existence.

Lisa Fletcher wants to tame wild elephants and start a revolution in her spare time.

tofino | tofino time | activities | accommodation | events | directory
maps | travel | food | art & artists | photos | horoscope | tides
search | magazine | issues | articles | advertising | contact us

hosted in tofino by & studio tofino
© 2002-2014 copyright Tofino Time Magazine in Tofino Canada
© 2002-2011 Tofino Time Magazine & ThinkTank Design Inc.
tofino time january 2006

quick links:
tofino accomodations
tofino calendar

tofino surf report
tofino horoscope
september horoscope
tofino map
tofino fishing report
tofino tides
tofino weddings

tofino events:
tofino concerts
tofino events
tofino movies
tofino festivals
tofino yoga classes

tofino time magazine:
tofino time september 2012
captain vincente tofino
readers choice: the best of tofino
floating gardens at freedom cove
tofino event listings for september 2012
tofino concerts in september 2012
tofino movies in september 2012
tofino tide table for september 2012
tofino surf reports for september 2012
cox bay | wickaninnish beach
chesterman beach
tonquin beach
tofino brewing co.
horoscope for april 2013
tofino wedding guide

tofino accommodation:
tofino cabin
tofino camping
bed & breakfasts in Tofino
tofino hostels
tofino motels
tofino hotels
tofino vacation rentals
petfriendly accommodation

tofino bike rentals
tofino bear watching
tofino bird watching
tofino boat charters & cruises
tofino fishing
hot springs cove
sea kayaking in tofino
tofino storm watching
tofino surfing
tofino whale watching
tofino yoga

tofino art galleries
tofino books
tofino boutiques & gift shops
food stores in tofino
tofino outfitters

tofino yoga, spa & wellness
tofino restaurants
tofino internet cafes
tofino travel & transportation
tofino real estate
tofino vacation rentals
tofino weddings

tofino events
tofino concerts
tofino movies
tofino calendar
tofino cabins
tofino maps
tofino jobs
tofino media