As some of you may be well aware, the conventional treatment plan for any given ailment may not be the ideal course of action for everyone. But what are the other options? The first in the series of other healthcare therapy options, I will discuss with you today: Yoga. When a good amount of people think about Yoga, they may imagine someone sitting cross-legged humming mantras to themselves or standing on their heads on a mat while wearing stretchy pants. This image has definitely been portrayed in media, but did that same media fully inform you of how a regular Yoga regimen could benefit your health?
Admittedly, I am not the best Yogi out there, but I have pushed myself to try a couple of beginner’s classes and even within an hour, I felt a difference. As someone with a type-A personality where if I’m not stressed about something, I’m stressed about how I have nothing to be stressed about, I have found that practicing yoga has a significant impact on stress levels. If you really commit to the session by keeping an open mind and tuning out all of your outside world distractions, you can walk out feeling rested and relaxed, which incidentally does wonders for your blood pressure, as well as alleviating stress-related pains, like migraines. The Mayo Clinic has even gone so far as to say that it reduces risk factors for heart disease.
If you aren’t the type of person to take time for yourself even though you need it, this could be a life-changing experience for you. When you are going through your day thinking about everything that has to be done and all of your problems, it gets overwhelming and sometimes so much so that you forget to just inhale and exhale. Yoga really allows you the serenity to focus on yourself and with that focus comes the ability to either push negativity aside or to tackle it in a non-threatening and non-overwhelming way. It also hones in on your breathing techniques, which may prove to be a bit of a challenge if you’re anything like me, but it truly is the key to managing stressors and also helps in pain management.
The stretches and poses are sometimes the line in the sand for people who may have once considered Yoga. While these increase your strength and flexibility, the beauty of them is that they teach lessons in patience and balance while urging you to work at your own pace and appreciate what your own body is capable of. As you probably know, some light exercise has been shown to alleviate pain in some chronic conditions. If you’re living with conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and many others, it’s a great way to get some physical activity in without overexerting yourself, while also taking some of the pain off your joints and strengthening your bones. It also reduces effects of insomnia, depression, diabetes, menopause and anxiety.
While I always benefit from the assistance of an instructor, you can also find guided instructional videos on Youtube and across the Internet, so it has never been easier to see if Yoga is for you! So the real questions is, what are you waiting for and what do you have to lose by giving it a try? To read more about the studies behind some of these health benefits, or if you don’t feel like taking my word for it, you can check out: http://yogahealthfoundation.org/health_benefits_of_yoga_explained
Please visit www.catholichealthservices.org to learn more about how Catholic Health Services’ rehabilitation hospitals and outpatient clinics utilize various therapies to help patients manage a variety of chronic conditions, and how they can help you or a loved one living with those conditions.