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Why You Should Try Yoga: It’s More Than Just Stretching

Yoga on the surface may seem simple, but all of those Sanskrit words, and the chants, and the special breathing — not the mention the special wardrobe! — can complicate matters. Unless you’re a devoted yogini, trying to figure it all out could throw a person off balance rather than help her find it. But don’t let all the New Age lingo and super-twisty positions deter you; a recent report at YogAnonymous has confirmed the many benefits yoga provides for mind and body. There are so many it’s enough to make us want to spring into Downward Facing Dog! Here are just some of the reasons why yoga is worth investigating:

Relaxation Is the Key to Health
The more relaxed you are, the healthier you will be. No-brainer, right? And yet most of us still fail to take the time to slooow doooown. A little dose of yoga could be just what the doctor ordered. Consider this: A balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems is essential for us to be at our best. Breathing is key to achieving that balance — specifically six breaths per minute. Yoga’s emphasis on slow, deep breathing? Hello, nervous system balance! Recent studies have also confirmed that yoga is extremely effective in reducing levels of cortisol in the body (cortisol is the hormone that causes stress), therefore promoting relaxation. And while we’re getting excited about all this relaxation, we don’t want to forget to mention that people who suffer from Fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by intense chronic pain, experience decreased discomfort when they practice yoga.

Yoga Makes You Young
Who needs Botox? Just kidding. But seriously, in addition to the relaxation benefits the practice provides, it has also been shown that consistent yoga practice reverses other kinds of damage done by our busy stressful lives — the superficial kind. Those who practiced yoga on a regular basis were found to have less inflammation, less cell damage, and less acidity in the body; basically they were healthier and had younger-looking skin.

Shorter Practices Are More Effective
Yes! You do have time for yoga! While most classes run between sixty and ninety minutes, recent studies have found that shorter doses multiple times a week are just as effective, if not more than, one intense weekly practice. Even just a few minutes a day is enough for a practitioner to start feeling the benefits. So while it might seem impossible to add another sixty minutes to the day, you could probably find fifteen or twenty, right? And according to YogAnonymous, there’s even yoga routines that require just seven minutes of your time.

Feel enlightened? Read more in-depth findings at YogAnonymous.

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04.27.2013 / 04:52 AM EDT by Jana Moseley
Related: Moms, Health, Fitness

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