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Health Benefits of Yoga

At Blue Iris, we believe incorporating yoga sessions in weekly schedules is a powerful method to achieve inner peace, relieve stress, and to improve one’s outlook on life. Yoga includes a series of strengthening and balance poses made to increase awareness in the body and mind, while achieving deep relaxation through breath and deep stretches. In fact, an essential part of yoga is fostering this relationship between your thoughts and your movements. The emphasis on positive thinking and intention setting during yoga practice increasingly intrigues scientists curious about the health benefits yoga has on the body and mind. Check out the results of these studies!

Relieves Low-Back Pain
All who suffer of back pain injuries, read closely! The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Conclusions conducted a study in 2011 where 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain began a series of 12 yoga classes. The findings revealed that participants felt yoga enabled them to function better than the medical care they originally resort to (examples were not given, but my assumption is medication, stretching, massages). The study does specify that the yoga poses need to be carefully selected by yoga experts as low-back friendly ones.

Helps with Depression and Anxiety
A Harvard study conducted in April 2009 entitled Yoga for anxiety and Depression, enrolled 24 women who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” into bi-weekly 90 minute yoga classes for three months. The study had a control group of women who agreed to maintain their normal activities and not increase their exercise level during the duration of the study. The result of the study was astounding. The women that practiced yoga twice a week for three months reported “improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. Depression scores improved by 50%, anxiety scores by 30% , and overall well-being scores by 65%

Alleviates Stress and Fatigue for Breast Cancer Survivors
Cancer can leave survivors with stress and anxiety. A psychiatry and psychology research team at Ohio State University conducted a study with 200 breast cancer survivors (compared to a control group) who were yoga novices enroll in bi-weekly 90 minute classes for 12 weeks. The team also provided them with take home DvDs and encouraged them to practice yoga at home. As a result, the survivors said they were less fatigued and had higher levels of vitality three months after the treatments ended. Ronald Glaser, one of the University’s researchers on molecular virology, immunology, and medical genetics examined proteins named cytokines in the blood that are markers for inflammation. Before and after bloods tests revealed that inflammation markers were lowered by 10 to 15 percent.
Has it ever crossed your mind to practice yoga before?  Are you are curious about exploring the power it has on your body and your mind?  Make the effort to try it and see what it can do for your body!

Namaste, Blue Iris
Cardio Health Benefits of Vinyasa

What is Cardio?
Cardiorespiratory fitness is measured by how efficiently the heart moves blood, therefore oxygen, to the muscles. Cardio, for short, trains the muscles of the heart and lungs so that they are stronger and better able to deliver the oxygen the body needs to support activity. In fact, it increases the amount of oxygen being delivered to the body. It is one of the best methods to ensure a long and healthy life!

Is Vinyasa Cardio?
The constant flow of poses:  balance pose, downward dog, half-moon, child pose, will challenge and build muscle in your upper- body and core strength that are less stimulated by a cardiovascular workout like running or cycling. The more muscle built, the more body burns calories at a sitting heart rat; thus, the more fat you burn. An intense Vinyasa flow will help you strengthen your body. Try sitting in chair while engaging your core, aligning your knees, tucking your pelvis, and extending your arms for 1 minute. In addition, as one flows during Vinyasa, the heart is placed above and then below through upward dog and downward dog and through Sun salutations & any seated sequence. This constant movement calls the heart to regulate the blood pressure. This is a great conditioning and increases your heart rate.

What kind of Yoga are you Doing?
Yoga journal addresses the question of yoga and cardio in an interesting way. It is important to balance three components of exercise: frequency, intensity, and duration. So, if your yoga practice is relatively intense, frequent, and lasts long periods of time, then your practice can indeed be considered cardiovascular exercise.

How do you know if you’re doing cardio?
  • Maximize your heart rate
  • Have either high intensity and shorter duration or long duration and low intensity
  • What kind of yoga are you doing?
  • Vinyasa, flow, ashtanga or restorative yoga?
  • Is your yoga heated?
  • How are you breathing?
  • Deep breathing enables you to take in large amounts of oxygen in your body which increases the lung capacity. Increasing your lung capacity means you can hold in more air in your lungs; your body learns to dispatch the air in your lungs to your muscles. 
Blue Iris and cardio
So, Vinyasa can be considered a wonderful cardiovascular fitness . If your goal is to increase your weekly cardio, try a more intense class or pair up an aerobic exercise such as running or cycling with your yoga classes.  Here at Blue Iris we offer slow flow & upbeat Vinyasa as well as restorative yoga. Take our challenging vinyasa flow to increase cardiovascular fitness or enjoy our slower more relaxing classes that work wonderfully to balance out other cardiovascular exercise.
~ Namaste, Blue Iris ~