Real Yoga
Real Yoga

Yoga can be a great vehicle for positive physical and mental transformation

Rooted in Indian philosophy, yoga is an ancient method of relaxation and regarded by many as a spiritual experience. However, in the last five years yoga has become ubiquitous, with independent studios sprouting everywhere and fitness centers incorporating yoga classes into their group instruction curriculum.

Although some people still view yoga as a practice reserved for spiritual seekers looking for inner peace, yoga is rapidly being embraced by many Americans as an alternative way to increase strength, endurance and body tone.

Yoga can be a great vehicle for positive physical and mental transformation. Ultimately, trial and error is the best way to determine which style of yoga is right for you. Trying different classes and different teachers can help you find one that meets your needs.

With so many styles of yoga, and its growing popularity, fitness centers and independent studios have begun to group yoga disciplines. For example, you might attend a class called restorative yoga or athletic yoga. Broad terms are used to help students relate to the practice and get a general sense of the flow of the class.

You may also encounter hybrid fitness classes that incorporate yoga techniques, such as yogalates (a combination of yoga and Pilates), spin yoga (a class of half cycling and half yoga), and kids’ yoga (promoting movement, physical expression and inner spirit for kids).

Yoga strengthens parts of the brain that play a key role in memory, attention, awareness, thought, and language. Think of it as weightlifting for the brain.

Studies using MRI scans and other brain imaging technology have shown that people who regularly did yoga had a thicker cerebral cortex (the area of the brain responsible for information processing) and hippocampus (the area of the brain involved in learn­ing and memory) compared with nonpractitioners.

These areas of the brain typically shrink as you age, but the older yoga practitioners showed less shrinkage than those who did no yoga. This suggests that yoga may counteract age-related declines in memory and other cognitive skills.

 Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Yoga Around The World Retreats

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Atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib is the most common cause for hospitalization among patients who have heart rhythm disorders. Although there are many risk factors for atrial fibrillation, the two most common contributing factors are age and stress. Not only does stress cause atrial fibrillation, atrial fibrillation causes stress. Respiratory problems, drug and alcohol use, chronic inflammation, endocrine disorders, inadequate circulation to the atria, and blood clotting factors all contribute to A-fib, but stress and atrial fibrillation perpetuate each other. The longer someone has atrial fibrillation, the greater the cumulative risk of stroke, so it is important to reduce stress.

What About Atrial Fibrillation Makes People “Stress Out”?

There are certain symptoms of A-fib that are almost universally stressful. A common complaint is palpitations, the feeling that your heart is about to jump out of your chest. A-fib can cause presyncope, a feeling that you are about to pass out, even though you don’t, or syncope, losing consciousness, even when walking, talking, working, or driving. Atrial fibrillation can result in a feeling of fatigue combined with an inability to sleep, and the loss of quality of life, the ability to enjoy family life, to engage in recreational activities, to get out and meet people, and to work and earn enough money to pay bills, can be depressing. It’s not unusual for people who have A-fib to develop a sense of doom. And when they also develop extremely low blood pressure, decompensated congestive heart failure (difficulty breathing and swollen limbs), and/or uncontrolled angina (causing a sensation of tightness, squeezing, or pressure pain in the chest, neck, and arms), immediate medical treatment can be essential to saving your life.

A-Fib’s Numbers Are Rising-

A Silent Epidemic

Did you know that there over 6.1 million Americans that don’t know they have Atrial Fibrillation? In 2030 it is estimated that over 12.1 million people in the USA will be diagnosed with A-Fib. But techology is moving fast so there’s hope for a cure. Continue Reading…

Yoga Retreat Image
Yoga Retreat Image

Heart rate and blood pressure also decreased in people who practiced yoga…

This comes from a nurse and PhD candidate at Sophiahemmet University in Stockholm and the Karokinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Many patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) can’t live their lives as they want to – they refuse dinners with friends, concerts, and travelling – because they are afraid of an AF episode occurring,’ said Maria Wahlström”.

Ms Wahlström concluded: ‘A lot of the patients I meet who have paroxysmal AF are very stressed. Yoga should be offered as a complementary therapy to help them relax. It may also reduce their visits to hospital by lowering their anxiety until an AF episode stops.’

Ms. Wahlstrom
Ms Wahlström said: “We found that patients who did yoga had a better quality of life, lower heart rate, and lower blood pressure than patients who did not do yoga. It could be that the deep breathing balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, leading to less variation in heart rate. The breathing and movement may have beneficial effects on blood pressure.”

Yoga, Reduce the Stress of Atrial Fibrillation

Although you can learn yoga from books and YouTube videos, beginners usually find it helpful to learn with an instructor. Classes also offer camaraderie and friendship, which are also important to overall well-being.

When you find a class that sounds interesting, talk with the instructor so that you know what to expect. Having a connection with your instructor is key to a positive experience.

Don’t hesitate to Ask Questions:

  • What are the instructor’s qualifications? Where did he or she train and how long has he or she been teaching?
  • Does the instructor have experience working with students with your needs or health concerns? If you have a sore knee or an aching shoulder, can the instructor help you find poses that won’t aggravate your condition?
  • How demanding is the class? Is it suitable for beginners? Will it be easy enough to follow along if it’s your first time?
  • What can you expect from the class? Is it aimed at your needs, such as stress management or relaxation, or is it geared toward people who want to reap other benefits?

Some health benefits of yoga for Atrial Fibrillation

Health Benefits of yoga for A-Fib Patients include:

Stress Reduction Anumber of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga can enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. Yoga may might also help in managing your A-Fib symptoms as well as depression and axiety.

Improved Fitness

Practicing yoga may lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. You’ll feel the overall muscle tone after awhile andyou’ll have more energy.

Management of chronic conditions such as Atria Fibrillation

Yoga can reduce risk factors for A-Fib and other chronic diseases like most heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga can also help manage low back pain, neck pain, and menopause symptoms. Yoga might also help relieve symptoms of A-Fib, COPD, asthma, arthritis ,insomnia and other chronic heart disease.

Use Precautions if You’re Under A Doctor’s Care

Yoga is generally considered safe for most healthy people when practiced under the guidance of a trained instructor. But there are some situations in which yoga might pose a risk.

See your doctor before you begin yoga if any of the following apply to you:

  • A herniated disk
  • A risk of blood clots
  • Eye conditions, including glaucoma
  • Pregnancy — although yoga is generally safe during pregnancy, certain poses should be avoided
  • Severe balance problems
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure

You may be able to practice yoga in these situations if you take precautions, such as avoiding certain poses or stretches. If you develop symptoms, such as pain, or have concerns, see your doctor to make sure you’re getting benefit and not harm from yoga.

Your instructor should be aware of any limitations beforehand so they can accomodate you in the sessions.

Find The Right Balance That Fits Your Needs

Every person has a different body with different abilities. You may need to modify yoga postures based on your individual abilities. Your instructor may be able to suggest modified poses. Choosing an instructor who is experienced and who understands your needs is important to safely and effectively practice yoga.

Regardless of which type of yoga you practice, you don’t have to do every pose. If a pose is uncomfortable or you can’t hold it as long as the instructor requests, don’t do it. Good instructors will understand and encourage you to explore — but not exceed — your personal limits.

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