As we enter into the New Year, many people seek ways to improve their lives by setting resolutions. This often includes health conscious goals. Starting a yoga practice is a guaranteed way to improve your overall physical and mental health. Unlike so many physical exercises, yoga is a life-long practice with physical and mental benefits. It’s suitable to any body type or age. Whether you’ve been practicing for years or it’s the first time on your mat, yoga doesn’t discriminate and invites you to start where you are. The practice embraces change on a daily, yearly and even decades-long basis.
It’s no wonder yoga has been around for over 5,000 years and currently more than 11 million Americans practice it on a regular basis. The continual rise in popularity can only be attributed to the many benefits.
In the past several years, Westerners have discovered the numerous benefits of practicing in the heat just like in yoga’s typically hot Motherland India. Studios such as Yoga by Degrees offer heated vinyasa (flowing) classes. The heat along with this style of yoga allows for a deeper cleanse of the body than other forms of yoga in non-heated rooms. Heated vinyasa yoga loosens the muscles, boosts the body’s circulation and allows for a greater range of motion in joints, muscles and ligaments.
“We have really stepped ‘out of the box’ with our Yoga by Degrees concept. At Yoga by Degrees, not only are our facilities immaculate, modern and equipped with amenities like lockers, showers and blow dryers, the studios are heated just right. We control the humidity and ventilation to help oxygenate the rooms. Instead of being suffocated, you actually feel your lung capacity expand and experience a wonderful sense of detoxification, comfort and freedom that helps to facilitate full deep breathing linked to flowing beautiful movements,” says Samantha Raphael, Yoga by Degrees Senior Manager.
Yoga, heated vinyasa especially, detoxifies the body by cleansing out potentially harmful substances we breathe, eat and drink. During a twist, for example, prayer twist (parsva utkatasana), the organs are compressed, pushing out blood filled with by-products and toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows in, carrying oxygen and the building blocks for tissue healing, which stimulates circulation and has a cleansing and refreshing effect on the internal organs and associated glands.
Yoga also increases flexibility, which prevents injury, improves posture, reduces low back pain and increases blood supply and
nutrients to joints and connective tissues. It also improves metabolism, which helps to decrease body fat. For example, plough pose (halasana) includes chin to chest compression. This chin to chest compression stimulates the parathyroid and thyroid glands which regulate metabolism.
Other benefits include an increase in bone density, stress reduction, stress relief and better sleep. The list of benefits goes on and on and the really great news is, it’s never too late to discover them for yourself! So why not make one of your New Year’s resolutions to try heated vinyasa or other types of yoga and discover how it can change your life forever.