Starting your Yoga Practice: Short but Consistent Steps
Creating a consistent yoga practice is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase general wellbeing by reducing inflamation. A study conducted by Ohio State University tracked inflammation markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) in 50 healthy women, 25 were expert yogis and 25 were just starting their journey. The study reported: "novices’ average serum IL-6 levels were 41% higher than those of experts, and the odds of a novice having detectable hsCRP were 4.75 times as high as that of an expert." Yoga's ability to balance both or sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in our body creates internal resiliency that helps us live a long and healthy life.
Remember, yoga is not just intense bending and stretching. It is also meditating, breathing and living life with intention. In fact, a short but consistent yoga practice can have more benefits than an intense sporadic one (read: small steps every day are better than an intense workout 1x week).
Here are a few tips on how to get started on your daily yoga pratice.
Tip 1: Do a 5-min medidation or breathing exercise
In the morning after waking up practice a few rounds of the energizing breath of fire. Start slow and you'll get used to doing it for longer periods of time. Note: you don't need to sit cross-legged to do it, you can do it from the comfort of a chair (ensure feet are on the ground and back is supported).
At night, put a guided meditation on youtube for the desired length to help you relax and fall asleep.
If you are doing breathing and meditation, congrats you are practicing yoga!
Tip 2: Stretch on your chair
Practice a 5-minute chair yoga practice either at home or at work, at any time of the day!
Tip 3: Do a low-intensity practice on your mat
You are having a crazy day, no time for exercise, just try to eat something and get affairs in order. If you can spare 5 minutes before you get cooking, cleaning, etc. and do a low-intensity practice on your mat you are on your way to keep reaping the benefits of a regular yoga practice. For a quick and relaxing practice example, see the video below.
Yoga Knowledge Disclaimer
I am currently studying yoga through the Bhodi Yoga Center. Bodhi Yoga™ is a therapeutic style of yoga that benefits beginners and challenges advanced students of any age or ability. It utilizes the power of the "slow approach," where the journey is as important as the destination.
Consult your physician before starting any new intense workout regimen.
Yoga is a ancient tradition linked to Indian cultures. I am not of Indian cultural descent and try to practice yoga from a place of learning and deep respect for cultures that made this practice available for all of us. Any yogic knowledge you see on this page was not created or invented by me, rather established and practiced for thousands of years. For more information on the history of Yoga, click here and visit the Indian Yoga Association webpage.
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