Self-care is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Yoga for self-care is a great way to practice self-care. Through yoga, you can connect with your body and mind, learn to relax and let go, and find peace within yourself. Yoga can be done alone or with a group, making it a versatile form of self-care.
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Why Yoga is self-care
You may have heard that yoga is a great way to rid the body of stress and get in shape. But did you also know that yoga helps your brain work better? This happens because yoga relaxes the muscles of the body which relieves stress. When we’re less stressed, we have lower amounts of the hormone cortisol flooding our bloodstream.
Yoga is good for your heart, mind, and body
Studies have shown that people who are subjected to higher levels of cortisol also exhibit reduced cognitive function. This is because their minds are stuck in fight or flight mode which is extremely bad for our mental health. We cannot process thoughts with our higher mind if our lower mind, the primitive part of our nervous system that engages during times of peril, is kicking on unnecessarily.
You can lower cortisol levels by exercising the muscles, properly aligning your body, practicing meditation, and engaging in deep breathing exercises every day. Start your day with a bit of bed yoga. Here’s how it works.
Pro Tip: Replace your alarm with bed yoga using the Wake Up Yoga app
Yoga involves stretching and moving the body as well as holding certain poses for an extended amount of time. This works to relieve stress because we are expending energy through our muscles. The postures of yoga also help us to align parts of our body that may have become misaligned, such as our spine, neck, hips, and shoulders. When our bodies are aligned properly, we are better able to channel energy so that oxygen can reach the edges of our body including our brains.
Yoga increases oxygen levels
How do we oxygenate our bodies and brains better? Simple… we breathe. Unfortunately, the daily stressors that we face at our jobs, with our families, and in all of the tasks, we are expected to accomplish, take their toll and fill us with anxiety. Too much stress causes shallow breathing, and this means that less oxygen is making it to the main muscle, our beautiful brain.
During yoga, we learn to breathe in a way that activates the vagus muscle which runs from the brain down to the pelvis, and this helps us to regulate our nervous system. When breathing slows and deepens, our body gets the signal that it’s time to rest and recuperate. It is at this time that our brain gets the oxygen it needs to function at peak performance.
Yoga teaches mindfulness
Finally, mindfulness is an incredible way to help your brain absorb more information, get more sensory input, struggle less and focus better. Once our muscles are relaxed, and yoga has us back in proper alignment for oxygen to reach the deepest recesses of our cells, we can then channel our minds for deeper focus which is incredibly beneficial. Not only do we ourselves benefit, but everything that we come into contact with also improves because of our increased ability to think, learn, understand, and problem-solve.
Self-care can involve many different things, such as eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, and practicing self-compassion. I recommend Yoga as one of the self-care practices to try. There are many types of yoga. Anyone can find a yoga practice that fits with their needs, skill level, and time. I recommend Youtube and checking out your local tv listings for yoga classes on your favorite public access channel.
There are many benefits of yoga, including developing greater focus and concentration, building strength and flexibility, improving posture, relieving anxiety, reducing stress and depression, increasing self-esteem, improving physical health, promoting well-being, and combating insomnia and other sleep disorders.