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October 20, 2010

Yoga – why it’s good for you

 

Yoga works the entire system. All major muscle groups are worked, the internal organs are massaged due to the different postures, the nervous system is calmed and the mind is allowed to rest. Different postures have different benefits, for example, the Shoulderstand is beneficial to the thyroid gland as well as encouraging efficient blood flow in the legs. Starting your yoga practice with pranayama (breathing techniques) encourages oxygenation of the tissues and is particularly beneficial during detox as it alkalizes the body. A few rounds of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaska) can be performed in 15 minutes if that’s all the time you have. It’s an ideal routine for the morning.

 

The breath of life

Notice how you are breathing right now. Is it a shallow breath from the chest or is it a deep breath from the abdomen? In stressful situations breathing becomes more shallow and rapid and often breathing this way becomes a habit. One of the best ways of communicating to the body that you are not stressed is to breath deeply and slowly. In moments of anxiety 10 deep, full breaths can restore a sense of calm and let the body know that everything is ok.

Shallow breathing is not as effective as deep breathing. There is a space deep in the lungs where the exchange of air in minimal. The fresh air doesn’t reach there and the stale air is never fully eliminated. Breathing deeply to fill the lungs completely rids the body of this stagnant space and brings energy and vitality.

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to alkalize the body, especially if the out breath is longer than the in breath. Carbon dioxide is acidic and shallow breathing encourages a build up of acidity. An oxygenated body is a clean one, and deep breathing encourages renewal and provides the ideal environment for healthy cell functioning. Cancer cells cannot live in an oxygenized body – they only survive in an anaerobic state (no oxygen).

Finding time for relaxation

Proper relaxation is the holy grail of health. The body simply will not renew and rejuvenate without it. Making time to unwind is crucial to attaining optimum health and wellbeing. Think about your weekly routine. How can you fit quality relaxation into your schedule? Understanding the importance of relaxation will allow you to make it a priority in your life.

If you eat lunch at your desk, make the effort to stop for an hour. Take 30 minutes to eat your lunch in peace somewhere quiet away from your work, then take 30 minutes relaxing or taking a gentle walk. You will feel more refreshed in the afternoon and will be more productive as a result.

If you find it difficult to sleep at night, these calming rituals will prepare your body for sleep. Drinking lavender or chamomile tea will relax you before bed.

Relax! You deserve it.

 

Article by Jo Rowkins dipNT MBANT, nutritionist, founder of awakening health and the executive health adviser for The Spa Resorts.

 

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