Yoga and your Brain
I have to admit when yoga started to get more popular in North America about 15 years ago I wondered if it was a fitness trend that was going to come and go like many others - boxercise, step, belly-dancing. In the last decade I have started practicing a few different types of yoga as well as learning more about the ancient type of movement and loving it.
Yoga has endless benefits as described by Kristy Manuel of YogaFit including increasing your feeling of wellness, positive attitude, energy levels, memory attention, concentration, self-acceptance, flexibility and strength. Yoga also helps to reduce anxiety, depression, weight, blood pressure, arthritis and muscle tension.
Researchers are trying to understand if exercise and yoga specifically positively impacts the brain. Did you know that:
- your brain accounts for 2% of your body weight but uses 20% of your glucose
- you have on average 70,000 thoughts a day
- 70% of your brains’ myelin sheath is made up of fat
- an average 20 year old reads the equivalent of 174 newspapers a day
Even 12 minutes a day of gentle yoga paired with mindful breathing exercises will make lasting changes to your brain to help to control your stress response, reduce the incidence of disease and make you feel more positive and energized.
Try setting a challenge for yourself to try yoga for 12 minutes every day for the next 2 weeks and let me know if it makes a difference in your life. You can start simply by doing these poses 10 times:
- sitting in a chair, breathing deeply
- Inhale and circle your arms up, exhale and circle your arms down
- Inhale and reach to one side, exhale to the centre (repeat on the other side)
- Inhale and extend one leg straight, exhale and reach towards the leg (repeat on the other side)
- Sit towards the front of your chair, reach back and hold the chair (should feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders)
- Sit quietly for 5 minutes at the end and focus on one thing that you feel grateful for today.
Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if it made a difference for you.
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