If you think of yoga as simply stretching, think again. Our classes focus on strengthening and increasing our active range of motion. In yoga, most postures require co-contraction of opposing muscle groups that not only act to stabilize joints but will also strengthen muscles in a lengthened or stretched state, where muscles tend to be weaker. In other words, Waves Yoga Studio’s classes help improve strength through the full range of motion of our joints, promoting physical health and longevity.
Another notable benefit of practicing yoga is that it assists in maintaining bone density, which gradually decreases as we age. When we move our body against the force of gravity, strengthens our bones’ composition by encouraging more calcium deposits.
Aside from contributing to the strength of our bones, muscles, and the mobility of our joints, yoga also has deeper benefits right down to the cellular level. In his book Anatomy trains, Thomas W. Myers looks at the fascial tissue that envelopes our entire body, made of elastic and collagen. His research shines a light on how yoga helps to remodel, heal and hydrate this tissue. From helping to relieve physical tension to aiding in our cell’s movement of vital nutrients, the benefits of taking care of this fascial tissue are enormous!
Calm, Serene Minds
Breath is also an integral part of the yoga practice. While breathing is an automatic and unconscious function of the body, by bringing our awareness to the breath, this allows us to tap into the nervous system and help regulate both our body and our mind.
Holding postures while maintaining a slow, deep breath cadence results in:
A decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.
Triggers a positive effect on our parasympathetic nervous system, which calms and soothes the body, along with stimulating digestion.
Stress is passed onto the deeper muscles that support the organs.
The internal organs are stimulated resulting in increased metabolism, better blood and nutrient circulation, and the removal of toxins.
When we anchor the mind to our breath this helps us access the part of ourselves that is peaceful, focused, and calm. This has great benefits for our body and mind, even when we’re off the mat. We want to make decisions in life from this state of being.
This is why we practice – not just to feel calm and centered when everything is going well, but to be able to find our calm and center in the midst of the wildest storms. So keep showing up on your mat. Never underestimate the power of this beautiful practice to strengthen your mental health alongside all its physical and physiological benefits.