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Zetland NSW 2017

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Frequently asked questions

Myth - I am too stiff to do Yoga

This is the most common comment we hear. The thing is, the stiffer your muscles are, the more Yoga you need. It's like saying, “I am too hungry to have some food.” The biggest mistake we make when we consider starting Yoga is comparing ourselves to others. Be it to the teacher, other students or even pretty poses that we may see on social media. It's not about what it looks like but about how it feels within your own body. Yoga helps you release tension through movement. Overtime you will experience more lightness and flexibility overall.

As we get older the body naturally tends to get stiffer, and by having a regular Yoga practice not only do we prevent that, but we also keep it healthier, feeling lighter and younger.

Why is Yoga good for you?

These are some of the benefits of a regular Yoga practice:

1. Improves your mood

One study found that a consistent Yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. At the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, Ph.D., found that the left prefrontal cortex showed heightened activity in meditators, a finding that has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function. More dramatic left-sided activation was found in dedicated, long-term practitioners.

2. Improves your flexibility

The poses that seem impossible with time become possible. Thanks to the release of tightness and tension, certain pains such as back pain may disappear. Inflexible muscles and connective tissue can cause poor posture therefore pains and joint problems.

3. Builds muscle strength

The great thing about Yoga is that we balance out the strength with the flexibility, so we get both strong and flexible without sacrificing one or the other. Thanks to this, our posture also improves.

4. Better bone health

Many postures in Yoga require that you lift your own weight. It is well documented that supporting the weight of your own body strengthens bones and helps in preventing osteoporosis.

5. Increases your heart rate

While not all Yoga styles are aerobic, if you chose a vigorous style such as Vinyasa flow or Power Yoga it can boost your heart rate into the aerobic range. Even Yoga exercises that don't get your heart rate up that high can improve cardiovascular conditioning.

Studies have found that a Yoga practice lowers the resting heart, increases endurance, and can also improve your maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise.

6. Relaxes your system

Yoga helps you relax, slow your breath down, and focus on the present moment, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-fly response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. This has a calm and restorative effect. As the breath slows down the heart rate also slows down and this decreases the blood pressure and increases blood flow.

7. Drains your lymph’s and boosts immunity

As we get into and out of a pose, we stretch and contract muscles, move organs around and increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

8. Improves your balance

A regular practice increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance.

9. You breathe more efficiently

Give your lungs room to breathe. Yogis tend to take fewer breaths of greater volume, which is both calming and more efficient. When we get stressed, angry or experience any emotion the first thing that changes is the breath. When we learn to navigate the breath, we can navigate any situation in life.

10. Gives you peace of mind

Yoga slows down the mental repetitive patterns of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress. Since stress is implicated in so many health problems, if we learn to quiet the mind, we'll be likely to live a longer and healthier life.

11. Increases your self-esteem

Many of us suffer from chronic low self-esteem. If we handle this negatively- over eating, working long hours to get distracted or any other sort of unhealthy distractions- we may pay the price in poorer health physically, mentally and spiritually. By practicing Yoga regularly with the intention of self-examination, introspection, self-growth and generally speaking, wanting to feel better in your own skin, rather than focusing only on the physical aspect of the Yoga practice, you can access another side of yourself. You will experience feelings of gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness which overall will increase your self-esteem. You may realise that you deserve to speak to yourself much better, in a more loving, accepting and nourishing way, valuing every single bit of your being.

12. Gives you inner strength

Yoga can help you make changes in your life. That is probably its greatest strength. A Yoga practice builds discipline. With time, the learnings on the mat get extended to your personal life overcoming inertia and changing unhealthy habits.

*Information mostly sourced from McCall, T. (2007, August 28th) 'Benefits Of Practicing Yoga'. Retrieved from

Which Yoga style should I do?

On one hand, if you spend your day seated with very limited movement you would benefit from a style such as Vinyasa which gets your body moving and releases accumulated tension, as well as gaining strength and flexibility. Within this style the intensity may also vary depending on the teacher or the class, you could go for a slower, softer, faster or stronger class depending on what you need on the day.

If you are after a workout to get your heart rate up, burn body fat, get your mind space in place as well as becoming stronger and more flexible then a Power Yoga class will certainly give you that.

On the other hand, if you are an active person that needs to slow down, release tension and find some stillness in your mind and body, you may fall in love with Yin Yoga. In this style we hold poses between 3 to 8 minutes each and most of them are on the floor. Not only will Yin Yoga bring you calmness, but it will also hydrate the fascia tissue in your body which is very important as it connects every part of the body together, wrapping around muscles and holding organs in place.

Overall, if you are after bringing more mind space into your life, any of these styles will help you achieve that. Some days we may feel like practicing one particular style and other days, another one. There's nothing better than nourishing our body by giving it what it needs.

Does Yoga involve cardio?

If you chose a dynamic Yoga style it will definitely increase your heart rate. And, depending on the class you go to, you can get some serious sweat going, especially if you attend a strong Vinyasa class or Power Yoga.