We all know we need some form of exercise in our life to stay healthy. Yoga is an ancient practice and an ideal form of exercise for women; it combines cardiovascular training, muscle strengthening, and weight bearing activity, and it incorporates gentle exercise, breath control and meditation.
The word yoga literally means ‘union’ and its fundamental purpose is to unite the mind with your body. Yoga therefore can have a healing effect on your body, mind, and spirit; it stimulates your body’s natural ability to heal itself.
There are many different varieties of yoga, the most popular are Hatha, Bikram, Iyengar and Vinyasa, but each one essentially relies on structured poses (asanas) practiced with breath awareness.
Yoga does not compromise the organs, hormone system, or the joints. The list of benefits is long, but most interestingly for us, gentle yoga releases muscle and joint tension, stiffness, and increases flexibility. Yoga also improves blood circulation and the act of focusing the mind on the breath soothes the nervous system. Long-term benefits include reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue, better concentration and energy levels, and increased feelings of calm and well-being.
So why not give it a go?
Our menstrual cycle actually plays part in determining which poses are best for you today (read more about this in ‘The Woman’s Yoga Book’ – by Bobby Clennell), so it is difficult to give specific advice on what poses are most suitable for us. If you are interested in practicing yoga, first consult your Physiotherapist and then find an experienced, qualified yoga teacher to work with.
In the meantime, try these gentle stretches that will make a massive difference already!