Yoga is a physical and mental practice that originated in ancient India around 5,000 years ago and is widely practiced throughout the world today as an accessible, popular and effective method of boosting physical and mental wellbeing.
There are typically three main elements or techniques in the most popular different forms of yoga; exercise (asana or postures), breathing (pranayama) and meditation.
The combination of these techniques can improve your health in many ways; yoga is considered to be a physically safe way to increase your strength, flexibility and balance and there is also evidence that regular yoga practice can benefit people by lowering blood pressure and increasing breathing capacity, decreasing and managing aches and pains (such as lower back pain), as well as being useful as part of an overall programme to manage and decrease depression and stress.
Asana (the postures element of yoga) are the physical elements that can vary enormously in terms of vigour, and can enhance your strength, balance and flexibility.
Pranayama (the breathwork element) can impact oxygen consumption and increase blood circulation, boosting the amount of air taken into the lungs and increasing focus and alertness.
Meditation - again different forms of yoga and styles of teaching will have a different focus and approach to this element, but in essence, practicing meditation and incorporating mindfulness to your yoga practice can help increase physical and emotional relaxation, in turn potentially aiding the lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, reducing anxiety and chronic pain.
Recent studies by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have concluded that yoga, as well as tai chi and other complementary health approaches, are effective in helping to alleviate some chronic pain conditions.
Such research is helping to educate people that a holistic and individual approach to our overall health care is valid; medication, which can often not entirely relieve pain and can include unwanted side effects, is not the only option available when seeking solutions to pain management. Of particular interest in the NIH research is the strong evidence suggesting that yoga is both safe and effective as an approach for alleviating back pain.
In addition, recent guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggest exercise in all its forms, such as stretching, strengthening, aerobic and yoga are the first steps in managing lower back pain.
You can start practicing yoga at any age, and there are many different styles of yoga, some more vigorous than others.
At the Bagnall Centre we offer a range of different yoga classes run by our brilliant, experienced teachers including dynamic Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Mother and Baby Yoga to benefit your health and wellbeing, both physically and psychologically.
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