Yoga has been around in Asia for a while now (about 3,000 years) but it’s seeing a new life in the West. It was brought to our attention and made popular in the sixties and seventies when pop stars and other celebrities went travelling through India looking for a different perspective on life to the view from the west that seemed less and less appealing to their generation. For a time it was seen as a curiosity or a fad that might quickly be replaced by the next trend. But those who were practicing yoga realised the benefits and it began to spread. Now, the majority of towns and cities in Europe and America have numerous yoga classes available.
As more and more people discover the benefits of yoga to health, wellbeing and physical fitness they are also discovering the range of its applications such as treatment of various medical conditions and helping to prepare for pregnancy. The benefits are now well established. Practicing Yoga several times a week has been shown to have an effect on serotonin production. This leads to reduced stress levels and greater happiness making it ideal for people suffering from anxiety or depression. Yoga also acts as a form of meditation helping to calm the mind and allowing clearer thinking.
There have also been studies showing the benefits it can have for heat conditions and general health improvements for the circulatory system. Regular participation in yoga is thought to lower high blood pressure levels and can aid in rehabilitation after damage to the heart, from cardiac arrest or heart surgery. Even people suffering from schizophrenia have been found to benefit from yoga. With the mind having to concentrate on the body in such a focused manner the intensity of the condition’s symptoms are reduced. Over longer periods this leads to an improvement in social skills and task management which together result in a better standard of living. Another application yoga has found has been to help mothers to be prepare for child birth.
Classes designed purely around specialised yoga techniques and poses for pregnant women have sprung up everywhere. What separates yoga from other forms of exercise when it comes to its benefits with pregnancy is that it covers all of the bases. High impact exercises such as jogging are not very practical especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Yoga is all about taking your time and careful movements which will appeal to anyone with a tiny person attached to their stomachs. It also limbers joints, tones muscle and helps develop breathing technique, all of which are good to have during the birthing process itself. It seems that Yoga has firmly established its place in western society.
Al Marner writes articles on many different subjects including topics such as yoga, pregnancy yoga and general health and fitness.