Yoga as a Holistic Approach for Your Health & Wellbeing written by Rosemary Kemp.
The physical aspect of yoga, which we have come to know as the different postures, doesn’t just target the body. It is also a workout for the mind and the spirit. This makes yoga a holistic approach to maintaining health. Here’s how body, mind, and spirit all come together in yoga:
Yoga as a Holistic Approach for Improving Physical Health
It’s worth starting the long list of yoga’s physical benefits with cardiovascular health. American sports scientists have concluded that one can burn 48 calories for every 8 minutes of doing fast-paced yoga classes, such as Power Yoga or Vinyasa Flow.
An average studio class is 45 minutes long, which means one can burn at least 270 calories while moving on the mat. Staying active reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and other related illnesses.
Yoga is also a go-to exercise for people with chronic pain, as it is often associated with a lack of strength or mobility. For example, chronic back pain can be alleviated by strengthening the core, which so happens to be one of the main targets of yoga. For older adults, yoga can help improve their sense of balance and mobility, therefore reducing the risk of falling and developing joint or muscle pain.
Yoga as a Holistic Approach for Cultivating Mental Stability
Well-rounded yoga classes include a short meditation practise for quieting the mind. This allows students to let go of distracting thoughts and focus on one thing — a crucial skill that we all need in today’s fast-paced modern life.
This technique is known in the sports world as the ‘quiet eye,’ which kinesiologist Joan Vickers characterised as a steady gaze on a particular object. In other words, it is the laser-sharp focus on a particular task at hand. Yoga employs this concept in executing poses as there’s a specific point in space that students need to gaze at. When the mind is clear of distractions, it even creates more room for creative thinking.
Aside from boosting concentration and creativity, yoga is also a powerful method for stress relief. This is why many organisations across a range of industries host yoga classes as a way to maintain the wellness of their employees: The better you can handle stress, the better you can be prepared to face any of life’s challenges.
Yoga as a Holistic Approach for Enriching Spiritual Life
Yoga may have roots in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, but it doesn’t require practitioners to hold a specific belief. It only asks yogis to open themselves up for spiritual growth.
The term ‘Namaste’ alone has a deep spiritual connotation that encourages us to recognise the value that each person holds. When we utter this term at the beginning or end of each class, we are not only thanking others for the energy they share but also treating them with compassion.
Cardiologist Dr Joel Kahn highlights how this can even reduce feelings of social isolation through the social connections we build in the community. It encourages us to come out of our shell and create meaningful relationships with like-minded people.
In addition, yoga teaches us to be more self-aware. When we know our place in the world, we realise how our actions affect ourselves, other people, and the environment. This, hopefully, teaches us to be more mindful of what we do and how we treat ourselves and others.
If you want to learn more about Yoga as a holistic approach for your health & wellbeing, check out the range of yoga classes on offer at Nordic Balance Abbeville Road SW4 and Nordic Balance St. James’s London SW1.
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