The benefits of yoga for women
Yoga has long been known as a beneficial way to improve flexibility, balance and strength. However, an increasing number are choosing yoga’s combination of breathing, postures and meditation to balance the body, mind and spirit. More than 36 million individuals in the United States practice yoga today, following a tradition that is more than 5,000 years old! And, the numbers are growing as individuals across every age group are realizing the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga.
Interestingly, women make up more than two-thirds of the U.S. practitioners of yoga (source: Yoga Journal). Although the reasons are unclear as to why women tend to be drawn to yoga more than are men, most women who practice yoga will say that it enables them to experience a sense of wholeness, presence and peace. It also helps them gain flexibility, improve balance, tone muscles and even lose weight.
Yoga for every stage of a woman’s life
One of the unique aspects of yoga, that makes it different than other forms of physical activity, is that it can be practiced at every stage of life. From childhood through the senior years, yoga offers opportunities to focus on mind and body. Even during pregnancy, yoga can provide unique benefits including strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility and building stamina, which are all great preparation for labor and parenthood. After pregnancy, yoga can be used to build core stability, lose excess weight, and tighten and tone. At the Northwell Health Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine, a wide range of yoga classes are offered, including classes for beginner practitioners, prospective mothers, individuals recovering from injury or surgery and patients with cardiac or other medical conditions that limit participation in physical activities.
“Yoga helps us move through a range of toxicities, including overeating, relationship problems, anger and anxiety,” says Lisa Bondy, director of yoga at the Northwell Health Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine. “It’s an empowering practice that enables us to cultivate awareness which encourages us to stay in truth and evolve into who we really want to be.”
Gain the benefits of yoga
To reap the most benefits from yoga and to prevent injury, yoga should be practiced on a regular basis with a well-trained teacher. Teacher certification and experience is a must. Start with a beginner class, and don’t be deterred if you feel that you’re not flexible or athletic. Yoga isn’t a competitive sport. Rather, it’s is an art form, a science, a lifestyle and a philosophy, and it should be a way to get to know yourself better. And, you have the rest of your life to master poses. The key is to breathe and appreciate how your practice of yoga is improving your mind, body and spirit.
Learn more about the benefits of yoga and other forms of integrative medicine. At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.