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A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Although I'm no Guru, over the time I've been practicing Yoga I’ve found it an important tool to help stay mentally and physically healthy overall. But beyond my own experience, Yoga has been proven to have incredible effects on our overall wellbeing.

To help you decide whether Yoga is right for your health and happiness, read on to explore a little bit more about this ancient practice, the benefits it can bring to you and find out how you can start incorporating it into your wellness routine...

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a 5000+ year-old form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility, and breathing to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing.

Yoga focuses on a series of movements, called asanas, combined with breath work to create a moving meditation.

How Can Yoga Improve Mental Health?

Hearing Amber's journey inspired me to want to learn more about the impact yoga can have on your mental health.

It turns out, the positive effects Yoga can have on the way you feel is more than just wishy-washy wellness talk and not unique to Amber or me. Research has shown that Yoga has anti-depressant effects and can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone in your brain. Moreover, the brain's gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels increase after just one hour of Yoga. These are linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety.

So fitting just a short amount of Yoga into your daily or weekly routine could really help you improve your mood and look after your mental wellbeing longer term!

How Can Yoga Improve Physical Health?

Bending, stretching and breathing for the short space of a yoga class may not seem like the best form of exercise, but Yoga can have a surprisingly positive impact on your physical fitness and overall health.

All those bendy, stretchy movements that happen during your Yoga flow compress and decompress your veins in a way that greatly improves your circulation. This is extremely important for your health for the following reasons:

1. Healthy blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, enables your lungs, heart, and muscles to function better.

2. Efficient circulation removes waste from the body created by different organs so all your organs are in good working shape.

3. Better circulation means the army of disease-fighting white blood cells in your immune system are transported more efficiently around your body to make sure you stay well.

Yoga has also been proven to improve your metabolic rate, this means that you are better able to digest and process all the goodness you take in from food and drink, leading to an overall happier, well body.

Practicing Yoga may even decrease your risk of heart disease by helping you, decrease blood pressure and lower harmful levels of cholesterol!

So incorporating Yoga into your health and fitness regime is a great way to show your body some love and improve your overall health!

What are the Basic Yoga Poses?

Here's Amber Jean Rowan to take us through the basics moves of a Yoga flow, how to do them and what they can do for your wellbeing.

How Can You Start Doing Yoga?

The most important thing is to find a Yoga class and a teacher that work for you, your approach to wellbeing and your routine. There are a multitude of classes out there for beginners, intermediates and stellar yogis but as Amber reminded us ‘it can be a privilege to practice’ because many of these are an expensive gamble if you are not sure Yoga could be right for you.

I highly recommend starting your Yoga journey by checking out the variety of great, free online classes for beginners and beginning your practice in the comfort of your own home. I'll be publishing some of mine and Amber's favourites later this week to give you a good selection as well as an exclusive video from Amber taking us through the basics!

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