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How yoga help your flexibility and mobility

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1. Improves flexibility
Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga.  Tight hips
can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. 
Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back
pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments,
can cause poor posture.
2. Builds muscle strength
Strong muscles protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain and help
prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you
balance it with flexibility.
3. Improves posture
Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you
slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your
neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Regular yoga practices encourages and promotes good postural alignment.
4. Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion.
This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and
soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge;
it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be
soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually
wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.
5. Protects the spine
Spinal discs—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and
compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If
you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of forward bends, backward
bends and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple. Long term flexibility is a known
benefit of yoga, but one that remains especially relevant for spinal health.

6. Improves bone health
It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward
off osteoporosis. Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And
some, like Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog) and Urdhva Mukha
Svanasana (Upward facing dog) help strengthen the arm bones, which are
particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures.

7. Increases blood flow
Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in
yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more
oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. Twisting poses are thought to
promote the movement of venous blood from internal organs and allow oxygenated
blood to flow in once the twist is released. Inverted poses, such as Headstand,
Handstand and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to
flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated.
This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems. Yoga
also boosts levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the
tissues. And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level
of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks
and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these often fatal events.
8. Drains lymph and boosts immunity
When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of
yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune
cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and
dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
9. Increases heart rate
When you regularly get your heart rate into the aerobic range, you lower your risk of
heart attack and can 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, increases endurance, and can improve your maximum uptake
of oxygen during exercise—all reflections of improved aerobic conditioning. One
study found that subjects who were taught only pranayama (yoga breathing
techniques) could do more exercise with less oxygen.

10. Lowers 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.
11. Regulates adrenal glands
Yoga lowers cortisol levels. 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. Additionally, 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. There is a lot of evidence to say that women
going into menopause with exhausted adrenal glands and high levels of cortisol
suffer more with menopause-related symptoms.
12. Helps focus the mind
An important component of yoga is focusing on the present. Studies have found that
regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ
scores. People who practice meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and
acquire and recall information better—probably because they’re less distracted by
their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.
13. Relaxes the whole being
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the
balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the
parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers
breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the
intestines and reproductive organs.
These are just some of the benefits to a regular yoga practice. Other benefits are
lowers blood sugar, helps with weight loss, improves balance, maintains the nervous
system, releases tension in the limbs, better quality sleep, boosts immune system
functionality, utilises the full lung capacity, aids digestion and last but not least; it
calms the fluctuation of the mind – which is the absolute aim of yoga!

1 thought on “How yoga help your flexibility and mobility”

  1. Looking forward to teaching at the studio. teach the physical aspect of yoga (asana) from the perspective of arriving in your body, feeling sensations, guided breathwork, bringing you into presence. Present moment awareness is fundamental in meditation and yoga nidra which is a gateway to your true self; a pathway to the divine and to your innate peaceful nature. Pam

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