Garys Tribe
Sep 28, 2018

Health is Wealth: Yoga is Key to a Healthy Lifestyle


Julie Rosenberg, M.D.

Place Keys to good health, wellness, and sustainable business success

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It’s September, and that means autumn, back-to-school, cooler weather—and National Yoga Month.  National Yoga Month has been observed in the month of September since 2008. It is a national observance designated by the Department of Health & Human Services designed to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle.  I’ve been practicing yoga for over 16 years now. For me, yoga has transcended the expectations I had when I first began. It has been truly transformational in my life. Not only has it enhanced my physical health, but it has led to more mental clarity, a greater spiritual connection, and an important sense of connection with community. What about you? Have you tried yoga? Experienced the benefits of the practice? In honor of National Yoga Month, whether you are a novice or a seasoned practitioner, I'd love for you to expand your awareness as to the many long-term benefits of a yoga practice. Below, I share eight key benefits of yoga beyond the mat. Yoga can: 1. Improve flexibility. Yoga can improve flexibility not only of your body but also of your mind. While many yoga poses help to lengthen and stretch your muscles in a safe and effective way, the practice of yoga also teaches you how to become emotionally flexible. Yoga can help us deal with negative thoughts and emotions. Rather than judging yourself for having them, you can learn to simply observe them and let them go. You can also learn how to adapt to new situations as well as to overcome responses or thinking that have become habitual and that may lead to negative self-talk. 2. Perfect your posture. Our lifestyles wreak havoc on our posture. We sit in front of computers all day, drive in cars and ride in airplanes with tiny seats and limited legroom. Over time, our spines become curved and our shoulders rounded. We hold our heads (which weigh, on average, 10 to 11 pounds) in a forward position. A regular yoga practice can help counter the negative effects of these lifestyle choices on our bodies. First, you learn to have better awareness of your body. Secondly, the asana practice will help you to develop a strong, engaged core as well as a strong spine. Good habits take time to build up. By practicing yoga two to three times per week, you will begin to feel better physically and to notice better posture. 3. Build and maintain strong bones. Our bones weaken as they age, and this is particularly an issue for women. There are 8 million Americans diagnosed with osteoporosis—and over three-quarters of them are female. One out of every two women aged 50 and over will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Research shows that a regular yoga practice can help prevent this age-related weakening of our bones. Yoga can also help avoid falls, which are a great risk to older adults. One in four adults aged 65 and older report falling each year. A regular yoga practice can help to improve balance and flexibility, which is critical in the avoidance of falls. 4. Develop better focus. Poor focus is one of the major causes for low productivity in the workplace. Is your productivity limited by a lack of focus? Pranayama (a set of breathing practices) is one of the oldest and most time-tested methods that can help you to improve your focus. Pranayama creates a soothing effect on the nervous system. It quiets your busy mind; this calmness is the foundation for good concentration. 5. Help manage stress. Stress and tension often lead to shallow, rapid breathing, which can lead to more anxiety. Yoga helps you learn to focus your mind on one thing at a time, with calms the anxiety of chronic busyness in our 24/7 world. Yoga helps you to breathe more effectively and efficiently through the use of diaphragmatic breathing. Yoga helps to relax the body. Certain postures have a deeply calming effect, particularly forward bends and inversions. Finally, yoga helps to foster a mind-body connection, leading to a better sense of balance and ease. 6. Improve sleep quality. It is recommended that adults get seven or more hours of sleep a night, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a third of Americans fall short of that. Since yoga calms the mind and relieves tension in the body, the practice can be an effective natural sleep remedy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, yoga can also improve the quality of your sleep, especially if you suffer from insomnia. When people affected by insomnia practice yoga on a daily basis, they fall asleep faster,sleep longer, and return to sleep more quickly if they wake up in the middle of the night.  7. Ease chronic pain. Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Most of the pharmacological treatments for chronic pain are opioid-based and highly addictive. Yoga and meditation have been shown to have potent pain-relieving effects on the brain. In yoga, the increased flow of oxygen to the brain and muscles improves your energy levels and sense of well-being. Practicing yoga on a regular basis may affect your response to pain, decreasing your level of perceived suffering. In fact, yoga can teach you to focus your mind in ways that actually change your relationship and your response to pain.  8. Benefit Relationships. Yoga helps you to nurture your relationship with yourself. A regular yoga practice helps you to develop compassion and greater equanimity. These attributes—coupled with yoga’s philosophical emphasis on avoiding harm to others, telling the truth, and taking only what you need—can lead to improved and more sustainable relationships. Yoga practice encourages us to exist in the present moment and to live in a more mindful, conscious, and connected way. From this place, we can experience improved health and wellness. If you practice yoga, keep it up. If you are considering the practice, try it—the benefits are many!


Credit and Reference goes to:

Dr Julie Rosenberg MD

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