My Secret to Better Health This Holiday Season

I love a good secret, don’t you? When that secret is the difference between feeling okay and feeling GREAT, I am especially excited about sharing it. So here’s my secret to better health for the holidays:  Deep Breathing in Yoga Play at the Virtual Dojo. Oh, there’s lots more to Yoga Play, but the most important place to start is with the deep breathing exercises in every level of Yoga Play.

the secret to better health this holiday season
Deep breathing for better health this holiday season

What we mean by deep breathing exercises…

Yoga Play begins with a type of yogic deep breathing exercises known as Pranayama.  Originally practiced in India, this ancient breathing technique involves controlling your breath with various breathing styles and lengths. WebMD noted it has gained popularity in the west because of the health benefits it offers. There are many specific types of Pranayama. The combination used in Yoga Play here at The American Cane System are designed to boost energy levels, and center and calm the mind.  Everything else , including auditory and sensory motor skill improvement follow.

The effect of deep breathing on your body

Researchers are studying the effect of Pranayama on those who practice it.  Recently the results of those studies have shown a wide range of physical benefits.  One of those studies showed a positive effect on emotion processing, and anxiety reduction.  By studying the brain’s emotion processing area before and after the exercises over 4 weeks, researchers discovered reduced activity in the emotion portion of the brain.  Subjects reported feeling less anxious and more peaceful.

Other Studies reflect that yoga decreases heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and epinephrine levels. After 6 weeks of yoga training, practitioners of Pranayama yield lower respiratory rate and increase lung volume along with skeletal muscle strength. So the Pranayamic breathing you practice in yoga doesn’t just improve your lungs.  When your lungs function better, your entire body benefits with improved health and wellness.

Other exercises in Yoga Play pile on the health benefits.

Ever reached to pick up a dropped phone or coin and recalled when it was so much easier to do? Yoga can help with that.  Flexibility is one of the most cited reasons people begin doing yoga. A 2019 study revealed that yoga not only slowed down loss of flexibility in adults 65 and older, but actually improved flexibility. You may not find that so surprising, but there are a number of other benefits yoga brings to adults who regularly practice it.

Secret health benefits of Yoga Play

In 15 research studies yoga, in its variations reduced inflammation.  Researchers measured biochemical markers of inflammation across several chronic conditions. The overall results showed lowered inflammation when the participants practice yoga exercises. There is more. because yoga lowers anxiety, and stress lowers immunity; yoga improves immunity.  This might be linked to the inflammation reduction, so it’s a two-fer.  Yoga has also been found to improve bone health, strength, balance, self-esteem, and sleep. 

A Note on Safely Starting Yoga

With all those benefits, it’s tempting to dive in and practice yoga daily and multiple times a day.  Speak to Grand Master Mark Shuey and speak to your medical caregiver.  Though yoga offers an incredible number of benefits, if you are not already practicing it, it is important to begin slowly. Yoga looks gentle, and is, but it is also a workout.  Pushing our bodies too far too fast can result in injury. Recognize when your body is telling you to back off. If you are experiencing signs of fatigue like a muscle strain, or a new pain between joints, tendons or bones, slow down.  You are doing too much. We are here to help, so if you don’t know how much is enough, but not too much, just ask Mark.