• If you are one of the many millions of adults looking to slow down the hands of time, the answer may be as simple as turning to your yoga mat.According to a new study, daily yoga practice is linked to an increase in two key substances linked to youth and longevity: Growth hormone (GH) & dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS)."It is a known fact that yoga imparts more energy, strength and flexibility.
YOGA FOR YOUTH!
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• Some people turn to yoga for a reduction in stress, and then stick with it because it makes them feel, look, and remain young" agrees Larry Payne, Ph.D, Yoga Director at Marymount University.Unlike other exercises, yoga blends moves that enhance circulation, flexibility, balance & strength, along with meditative techniques, including deep breathing.
• Yoga reduces signs of ageing considerably - it serves as a natural face-lift, cleanses, relaxes, and restores, boosts immunity & promotes healing in the body. Here are some of the anti-ageing pros of yoga: Weight Control: In a 10 year study conducted in Washington on 15,500 men and women, over 45 years of age, participants who did not do yoga, gained up to 35 pounds, while those who practiced regularly, lost nearly 5 pounds.
• Yoga yields consistently promising results in relieving back and joint pain. You are only as young as your spine is flexible!
• The amount of sleep we get as people age reduces because the levels of the brain's night time sedative, melatonin, decreases. Practising yoga helps to increase production of melatonin. Brain sharpness: Research shows that just a single yoga class reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol; high amounts of cortisol in the system can lead to age-related memory problems.
• Yoga helps in gently stimulating & rejuvenating the layers of fascia beneath the skin, making it more springy & flexible.Facial Toning: Facial exercises, also called yoga for the face, help in toning and bringing harmony to your facial features. Many yoga poses increse blood supply to the head and face, helping to sculpt and define, enhance cheekbones, and minimise wrinkles.
HEALING BACK PAIN
• Back pain is no joke and it does not confine itself to any particular age group. It is estimated that around 80 per cent of the adult population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.
• A new study conducted by the University of York focused on two groups of people who were receiving care from a GP for chronic and recurrent back pain. One group continued on with their conventional care while a second group undertook yoga classes for a period of twelve weeks.The participants completed a questionnaire as to their back pain at three months, six months, and nine months from the beginning of the trial.
• Yoga was used in the trial and the classes were designed for complete beginners at yoga. The emphasis in the classes was on back care and offered instruction in mental calming, mobilising, strengthening, stretching, relaxation, and positive mental focus.
• After three months, those who had undertaken yoga were able to take part in 30 per cent more activities than those who had remained under conventional care. After nine months more than 50 per cent of those who has done yoga were still doing yoga at home at least twice a week. Comparing the results of this study to other randomised controlled trials, it was found that was found that a twelve week yoga program improved back pain more than exercise and manipulation (by a chiropractor or osteopath) and more than cognitive-behaviour treatment.
• Since most back pain is recurring, it would appear that yoga is providing lifelong self-management skills that will be invaluable (both to the individual when you consider that the number of work days lost to back pain every year is counted in the millions).
• So if that back is twinging there’s nothing for it but to get in the comfy clothes, get ready to breathe, and get on the mat.
• Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in the Western world as a treatment for both body and mind. As it comes more and more into favour it also draws the attention of science which seeks to “prove” within its own set of parameters that yoga will work. You might that think that a few thousand years of evidence would carry some weight but that will science support what millions of people have discovered?
• Yoga faces many challenges in being accepted by the orthodox medical community as a treatment for conditions from diabetes to psychiatric imbalance. You can’t put yoga in a pill and the practice of yoga will always vary a little from person to person.
• Some objections might be overcome however, if what yoga does to the body can be measured in terms that orthodox medicine will acknowledge. So a group of researchers recently completed a series of studies on yoga.
In one trial yoga was compared to exercise and a placebo group as a treatment for schizophrenia. Yoga proved superior to both treatments.
• In a study on people with depression, yoga was found to increase the amplitude of brain electrical potential and return it to the levels found in “healthy” people. The hormone cortisol, a marker of stress, was also lowered by yoga and corresponded to a reduction in depressive symptoms.
• These studies are but the tip of the iceberg in terms of research being done into what yoga can do to your body and mind. It’s nice that science and a few millennia of empirical evidence are coming together to verify the power of this mind and body discipline.
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