By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
I love yoga. And that’s an understatement. Yoga is something that I practice and also preach.
I’ve been an avid practitioner for years – motivated not only by the relaxation and flexibility that it gives me, but, as a cardiologist, for the many benefits that regular practice provides on behalf of heart health.
I’ve also told many of my patients to start learning yoga because of the systemic benefits.
And what’s so interesting to me is to see the constant outpouring of modern research continually validating this ancient practice.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “union.” It preciously harmonizes and strengthens the mind and body. A blend of breathing techniques, exercises, and meditation, yoga helps the body achieve the natural balance that is the essence of good health.
Key Components of Yoga:
1. Breathing exercises, known as pranayama, help carry the mind to a state of relaxation. Slow, deep breathing patterns improve respiratory health and increase lung capacity as well. We all tend to take breathing for granted. It’s an automatic response that we just don’t think about. Stress and tension can cause us to take shallow or irregular breaths. Learning to pay attention to breathing, especially during stressful situations, helps you stay calm and relaxed, and keep your blood pressure under control.
2. Yoga poses, called asanas, balance and stretch the body, increasing flexibility, improving circulation and promoting relaxation. Here are 5 simple poses to get you started.
3. Dhyana, the meditative component of yoga, improves concentration and relieves mental stress.
All three yoga components − breathing, postures, and meditation − work synergistically with one another.
Read this full article for practical ideas on how to easily get started with yoga, a wonderful healing practice!
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