Adults come to yoga for a range of reasons; to improve flexibility, strength, stamina; perhaps to improve breathing or sleeping.
Whatever your reason, it’s the right one for you.
o A number of adult classes are available, please see the calendar for up-to-date details of classes available
o Spiritlevel yoga can also offer 1-1 classes or small group classes in your home
What are the benefits?
Body: Yoga builds strength, stamina and flexibility. It’s a perfect complement to other sports & hobbies (e.g. running, cycling, climbing, walking), perhaps you are training for the Great North Run, a triathlon or maybe you just feel stiff first thing in the morning!
Mind: Yoga calms and focuses the mind . . . and we could all do with a little bit of that from time to time! Yoga also helps increase self-awareness helping us face life with a greater belief in our potential and personal resilience.
Emotions: Breathing and mindfulness techniques help us to feel in control . . of our bodies, mind and emotions, helping us consider how we react to different situations that we encounter each day.
Life is stressful, and stress is something that we all encounter. Throughout life we make choices to embark on certain journeys for example; a house move, a job interview, studying for a qualification etc. which may be stressful, but yet we continue to choose to do them.
Situations that we don’t choose, where we feel out of control, might, for some people, be more stressful for example; redundancy, ill-health, noisy neighbours, poor housing, pressurised work places. How we respond to these different situations/challenges will vary greatly.
A stressed body becomes tense, muscles contract and movement may become restricted. Clear thinking can also be restricted. Nancy Kline believes that pressurised working environments are stressful and counter productive. “Competition stifles encouragement and limits thinking. To be ‘better than’ is not necessarily to be good” Kline (1999:71)
A high level of competition for some people can be what they need to improve e.g. athletes, but in social environments when we are pressured to ‘keep up with’ others then it can be stressful. If we spend time judging ourselves against others, then how do we value our own achievements?
An article from The Independent, 28th July 2009 entitled “Relax your way to perfect health”, outlines the benefits of relaxation within research, led by Dr Herbert Benson who coined the phrase ‘Relaxation response’, from Harvard University. “What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more “disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation.”
The article states that “Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practicing relaxation methods every day. After two months, their bodies began to change – the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer, all began to switch on. Even more encouraging was that the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice – the more people practiced relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure.”
The benefits of yoga and relaxation such as the progressive release of; muscular tensions, emotional tensions and mental tensions, have been experienced by humans for thousands of years, it’s interesting that in our western culture we need to have scientific evidence, such as the research by Harvard University quoted in the article published by The Independent, to prove what others have known and to justify our beliefs! I guess what’s positive is that there is scientific proof, so perhaps people can relax, reassured that ‘it works’ and enjoy the benefits that yoga brings.
Kline, N. (1999) Time to think: listening to ignite the human mind ?:Ward Lock https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/relax-your-way-to-perfect-health-1763109.html – Accessed on 28th January 2012