According to a study from Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital, a group doing an hour of asanas (a sequence of standing, sitting, and balancing poses) had raised their levels of the brain chemical GABA by 27% compared to another group who had read quietly. Low levels of GABA war linked with depression.
Yoga has also been shown to help people sleep better by reducing anxiety. The practice of yoga can also decrease joint pain and improve concentration.
One of my personal health goals through this program is to run a 10K race up Mt. Diablo in the San Francisco Bay Area. The race is a grueling up hill climb with little more than a small trail to run on.
I’ve found that having an event to train for keeps me more focused on my wellness goals, and that mapping a basic weekly schedule leading up to the event keeps me on track. When designing a schedule, I may set certain time or distance goals, but I prefer to keep it open. As long as I am doing something, I am on the right track. So a “10km day” on Tuesday can really be a 5km walk in the morning, a 2km jog at lunch, and a 3km run after work.
Mondays are yoga days where I focus on strength and balance as well as calming my mind. Any kind of yoga will do and I don’t have a set amount of time for doing yoga. It can be a 5 minute stretch or a 50 minute practice as long as I’m taking some time out to breathe, stretch, and balance.
Youtube is a fantastic resource for exercise and yoga videos. You can watch them from anywhere and it doesn’t cost a dime! One of go-to yoga work outs is with Jillian Michaels in the video below. She adds a little extra cardio to basic yoga poses, so it isn’t a strict practice. But it is a great way to stretch and get the blood pumping!
Find out more about the benefits of yoga from Dr. Oz on Oprah.com: http://www.oprah.com/oprahdotcom/The-Benefits-of-Yoga