Benefits of Yoga

September is National Yoga Awareness Month which is the perfect time to practice mindfulness, get in sync with yourself, and celebrate the amazing health benefits yoga offers. As summer fun begins to wind down, it’s time to get back into your fall fitness regimen, only this time incorporate more yoga and meditation practices.

The Department of Health and Human Services declared September as National Yoga Awareness month in 2008 to educate the public about the health benefits and to inspire a healthy lifestyle, according to Yoga Health Foundation.

As more medical professionals shift focus to preventative medicine, many are incorporating yoga into their practice. Managing an overload of stress, especially in the workplace, can have detrimental effects on one’s overall health. These side-effects are present throughout our daily routines and often get lumped in with “the norm” – headaches, trouble sleeping, inability to focus, back or neck pain, etc., according to the American Osteopathic Association. Yoga is beneficial in many ways:

Physical Benefits  

    • Increase flexibility
    • Increase muscle strength and tone
    • Improve respiration, energy, and vitality
    • Maintain a balanced metabolism
    • Weight loss
    • Cardiovascular health
    • Protection from injury
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Lessen chronic pain including lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Reduce insomnia

Mental Health Benefits  

    • Reduce levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent analysis published in Frontiers in Immunology concluded that those who practiced yoga regularly produced less nuclear factor kappa B proteins (the proteins your body produces when under stress), after comparing the results of 18 separate studies focused on the effects of yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and other mind-body interventions (MBIs). This means long-term yoga practice may have the power to improve our bodies at the molecular level.
    • Reverse effects of long-term stress leading to prevention of sickness and disease
    • Promotes a more positive outlook on life
    • Aids in development of coping skills
    • Improves mental clarity, centers attention, and strengthens concentration
    • Increases body and self-awareness. Dr. Natalie Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified yoga instructor, explains to the American Osteopathic Association these benefits are important, “because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action.”

Yoga at Work?  

Modernizing Medicine of Boca Raton, Florida brought the celebration of National Yoga Awareness month into their workplace. Employees enjoy being able to practice meditation, slow flow, and other forms of yoga at the office when it fits their schedule. Many also shared positive feedback about stress reduction and calming of the body and mind.  

The Detroit region is home to many studios, some of which offer corporate yoga classes. Detroit Yoga + Cycle LAB partners with companies, universities, and institutions across the metro region. They have worked with over 50 organizations to provide on-site and off-site (at their studio) yoga and wellness classes. 

Living Waters Yoga started in Grosse Pointe, MI over ten years ago and recently opened a new studio located downtown Detroit. Their goal is to provide a place for everyone to feel strong in mind, body, and soul.

From the most experienced yogis to new beginners, there are ample opportunities to get involved. Different types of yoga and modifications make it possible for anyone to startTake the opportunity to explore the art of yoga this month and incorporate a version into your weekly wellness activities. 

Photo courtesy of Detroit Yoga + Cycle LAB.