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Benefits of Hot Yoga February 23, 2011

Posted by ToYourHealth in Public Health.
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Spine strengthening and flexibility in hot yoga.

It’s hot. It’s long. But the benefits of hot yoga abound. It is a series of poses designed to work every system of the body: circulatory, endocrine, muscular, skeletal, digestive, immune, lymphatic. It increases blood flow to the brain, reduces stress, increases weight loss, improves heart and lung function, reduces risk of injury, and helps your mood. It is safe enough to practice every day. The heat (95 degrees to 115 degrees) allows for deeper stretching while moving through the poses.

After a regular practice for three to six months, old aches and pains diminish if not completely disappear, and it is often an alternative to having spinal or other surgery.

Dean Ornish, MD, founder of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and clinical professor of UC-SF, worked with Swami Satchidananda to develop precise yoga therapies for cardiovascular atherosclerosis with renowned results. His landmark study showed a reduction by 14 points in cholesterol levels within three weeks, improved efficiency of the heart, reductions in heart rate, blood pressure, and body weight among physical education teachers who had already exercised an average of nine years before starting three months of yoga training. (Telles, 1993). In the normal population, yoga has shown to increase brain activity and anabolic functions, decrease in hyperglycemia, depression, osteoarthritis, and is beneficial for both acute and chronic pain, degenerative diseases, food allergies and digestion, among a host of additional health issues. Read more at Suite101: Ayurveda: Application in the Western World http://www.suite101.com/content/ayurveda-application-in-the-western-world-a278392#ixzz1Er1Audte

Did You Know?

All yoga poses have multiple benefits, and the sequence in which they are practiced is by design. Some of the many benefits of just a few poses:

  • Camel pose (Ustrasana) massages the kidney and liver, alleviates back pain by compressing the lower spine and improves posture and respiration, stimulates and regulates hormonal function, improves digestive and reproductive systems. It can remove residual toxins from medicines ingested up to 13 years earlier.
  • Rabbit pose (Sasangasana) increases the spaces between the vertebrae. It massages the thyroid and lymph nodes which improves sinus congestion and colds. It relieves mental stress and depression, and restores hormone imbalance by stimulating the endocrine function.
  • Fish pose (Matsyasana) increases lung function by providing additional oxygen into the lungs benefitting asthma sufferers. It normalizes the function of the thyroid (speeds up metabolism), pituitary, pineal and adrenal glands. It stretches the kidneys, stomach and intestines and improves skin complexion.
  • Dancer’s pose (Dandayamana – Dhanurasana) can help remove plaque from arterial walls, relieves lower back pain, flushes out kidneys, improves sciatica, tennis elbow and frozen shoulder, and is the best pose for a developing fetus.

Personal Anecdote

After 15 years of dealing with back pain due initially to a car accident, but perpetuated by pregnancies and the subsequent lifting and carrying of infants and toddlers daily, I went through a number of ordeals to alleviate it. These included prescribed pain relievers and muscle relaxers, acupuncture and chiropractic care, the purchase of a new mattress, and breast-reduction surgery to no avail. What I hadn’t counted on was being completely healed in my first three sessions of hot yoga in one week. I was addicted not only to the practice, marked improvements in my strength, flexibility and balance, but the opportunity to focus on my breath for 90 minutes — how many of us make time for that otherwise? — which helps achieve a mind-body balance. This is enough to attain balance in the other areas of our lives.

Take time for you in hot yoga and share your personal anecdote here if you like.

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