There are many physical benefits yoga of practicing yoga regularly, for example, improved flexibility, and core strength etc. However, the nonphysical advantages are less well documented, but still very much a benefit. Some of the non-physical benefits of regularly engaging in yoga are outlined below.
1. An elevated mood and increase in contentment
When practicing yoga you are encouraged to regulate your breathing using meditation and deep breathing techniques. This enables you to slow your breathing; leaving you, feeling much more relaxed. However, there has also been research carried out that points to a stimulation of brain activity, leading to a more positive mood. The study found an increase in Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)-ergic activity for those that practiced yoga regularly.
The study was conducted over 12 weeks and compared a group that carried out a walking activity compared to a set of participants practicing yoga regularly, finding higher levels of GABA in the yoga group. Low levels of GABA have been associated with anxiety and depression.
2. Improves concentration and focus
Yoga has been proven to increase a person’s ability to focus and concentrate. Research has shown that people are far more able to focus and maintain their concentration after a yoga session. Researchers compared a yoga group to one that had performed a regular workout at the gym and found the gym group, on being asked to perform tasks, lacked focus.
There were no definitive answers as to why this may occur. However, researchers pointed to the fact that yoga increases your self-awareness and leads to a less anxious state where cognitive function can be improved.
3. Improves mind/body connection
Yoga has long been shown to improve the relationship between mind and body, predominantly through the use of poses and particular breathing techniques. Particular poses and breathing techniques have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and throughout the nervous system.
The ‘conversation’ your body has between the mental and the physical can be improved by many types of movement and exercise. Yoga is excellent for this very purpose as it encourages movement to be synchronized with breathing regulation. Ultimately, yoga is about unity of mind and body, with them being two sides of the same coin.
4. Increases self-knowledge
Self-awareness or self-knowledge is encouraged by many psychotherapists and natural healers. Those seeking this should be warned that it is not simple. However, yoga can bring about this awareness and the rewards are great. Once this has been attained, life becomes a much richer experience, with an outlook on life and general positive attitude that enables the yoga practitioner to experience physical sensations not usually felt within the confines of normal consciousness.
Feelings not encroached on by word or thought can be a revelation, leading to subtle but definitely noticeable changes in the mind and spirit. By learning to ignore the chatter of the mind whilst strengthening the body, you are able to unlock the secrets of self-knowledge.
The above are just a few examples, the tip of the iceberg so to say as to the non-physical and overall benefits of yoga. Yoga is just plain wonderful, get started today!
Sinusitis is a medical condition where the patient suffers from acute pain around the nose and forehead. Sometimes severe headaches. This article provides tips on how to combat with Sinusitis through Yoga.
Here are few asanas and breathing techniques which can be practiced on an empty stomach to get relief from Sinusitis.
Note: You must learn the techniques mentioned in this article from a trained instructor.
Breathing techniques are integral part of yoga. They help in elevating the energy and immunity levels. Reduce stress and thus bring relief from any kind of pain.
1. Ujjayi breath:
Ujjai means victory. This breath not only calms down your mind but also allows your lungs to flush the toxins from the body.
Dos & Don’ts:
- While or after practicing Ujjai, you might experience dryness in your throat or slight dizziness. Drinking 4-5 litres of water a day helps.
- If you had undergone any surgery specially nose or throat, consult your doctor before practicing this breath
- Unblocks the nostrils
- Elevates energy levels
- Improves blood circulation
Dos & Don’ts:
- Ideal to practice with eyes closed.
- After each round of Kapalbhati, relax for 15 seconds and observe your inhalation and exhalation.
- Do not practice Kapalbhati if you have any of the following conditions:
- Liver ailments
- Lungs cancer
- Ladies during periods or pregnancy
- High blood pressure
This technique is called bellows breath.
- It is an instant energizer.
- Unblocks the nostrils.
- Improves blood circulation.
Dos & Don’ts:
- Do not practice Bhastrika if you have any of the following conditions:
- Liver ailments
- Ladies during periods or pregnancy
- High or low blood pressure
- Heart ailments
- Cleanses the right and left nostrils.
- Calms down the mind.
- Brings relief from pain caused by Sinusitis.
Dos & Don’ts:
Nadi shodhan followed by few minutes of meditation is an excellent remedy to get rid of physical/mental pain.
5. Sudarshan Kriya:
- A rhythmic breathing technique.
- Pumps in oxygen in every cell of your body and boosts your immunity level.
- Most easy and yet powerful way to enhance energy levels and experience peace.
1. Surya Namaskar:
A sequence of twelve yoga postures which make the body and mind flexible. Done at fast pace, Surya Namaskar is an excellent cardio vascular activity.
- Flushes the toxins.
- Opens up lungs and improves the blood circulation.
- Balances the water, fire, and air elements in the body and thus avoids cold and cough.
- Improved blood circulation reduces aches caused by Sinusitis.
Good to start with at least 3 sets of Surya Namaskars.
Dos & Don’ts:
- Ideal to practice at the time of sunrise or sunset.
- Must relax in Shavasan for few minutes after practicing Surya Namaskar.
- Avoid doing surya namaskars or consult your physician if you have any of the following conditions:
- High or low blood pressure.
- Heart ailments
- Severe back pain
- Highly obese
- During pregnancy or periods
- Opens up the chest, neck and shoulders and encourages deep breathing.
Dos & Don’ts:
- Avoid or consult your physician if you have sever back pain or liver ailments.
3. Setu Bandhasan:
- Stretches the chest, neck and spine.
- Opens up the lungs.
- Brings relief from Sinusitis.
Hold the posture for 30 seconds or more. You may practice 2 to 3 rounds of Setu Bandhasan.
Dos & Don’ts:
- Avoid if you are suffering from hypothyroid.
- Stretches the chest and neck.
- Brings relief from respiratory disorders.
Jal neti to clean the nostrils and mucus
This ancient technique cleanses the nostrils and accumulated mucus from the nostrils. Brings relief from Sinusitis and reduces the effects of nasal infections.
You have probably experienced back pain. At one point or another, everyone has. Have you ever asked yourself whether your smoking has something to do with your back pain? You should have.
Smoking Hurts Your Back
It turns out that cigarette smoking has a direct influence on many aspects of your health. Back pain is just one of them.
How does smoking influence your back pain? It does so in the same way that it influences all other aspects of your health. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that affect your joints in a negative way.
One of my previous summer jobs involved lifting heavy items. Somehow I found lifting with my legs a hard concept to grasp. As a result, I ended up getting the nickname “Grandpa” that summer.
During that period, I experienced normal back pain, which I earned through hard work and stupidity. My pain went away when I finally changed the way I lifted stuff.
Chronic back pain is completely different. It doesn’t go away quickly, and you usually end up taking painkillers to control the pain.
The Search for Relief
Like smoking cigarettes, taking prescription painkillers has many negative side effects. One of the major issues associated with prescription painkillers is the risk of developing a strong addiction. Moreover, even with strong medication, only about 58% of chronic back pain sufferers get the relief they desire.
You may say that your nicotine addiction doesn’t have any influence on your pain. It may actually feel like cigarette smoking decreases the intensity of your pain. In general, though, cigarette smokers are more likely to lead unhealthier lives. Could this just be a coincidence?
You are like a hostage with Stockholm syndrome. You have gotten used to being a hostage, and you like your kidnapper-the cigarette. Smoking doesn’t add anything positive to your life, but you grasp at straws to justify your nicotine addiction. You know that you should quit smoking cigarettes if you really want relief. The relief that you feel when you smoke is just a distraction.
Cigarettes ARE the Problem
Smoking a cigarette allows you to switch focus for a few minutes. Your back pain doesn’t decrease in intensity, and it doesn’t go away. You have tricked your mind. If you don’t think about the pain, you don’t feel it. But it is still there.
Cigarette smoking is a major factor in the development of chronic back pain. More specifically, it is a major cause of hypertension and coronary artery disease, which negatively influence back pain.
Researchers conducted a study during which they monitored over 1,300 people for more than 50 years. The study followed 1,337 physicians, who graduated from Johns Hopkins University. The oldest participant was monitored for 53 years. This long-term study showed that high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other blood circulation issues played major roles in the development of chronic back pain.
Cigarette smoking has a devastating effect on the whole body. The circulatory system is no exception. The aforementioned study showed that, when all other variables remained the same, cigarette smoking was a major factor in the development of chronic back pain. The implications are very clear-if you want to get rid of your back pain you need to quit smoking cigarettes right now.
Smoking Impairs Your Ability to Heal
Every time you move, you damage your spine a bit. Your body constantly repairs this damage. When you smoke, your body makes available fewer, lower quality materials for these repairs. That is how smoking causes your back pain.
The study described above proved the existence of a connection between chronic joint pain and smoking. Another study determined how and why occasional back pain, which we all feel, develops into something that endures for weeks, months and years.
Nicotine addiction influences the development of chronic back pain in another way. Pain is not something physical. You can’t touch, taste or see it. Rather, your brain gets signals and interprets them.
Smoking Alters Your Brain
Smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain. How and why does cigarette smoking have such a strong, negative effect on your back? Smoking affects your brain’s addictive behavior and motivated learning connections. By strengthening these connections, smoking plays a major role in the development of chronic back pain and chronic pain in other parts of your body.
A strong connection between the two brain regions called the nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex influences your resilience to chronic pain. Smoking makes the connection between these two parts of the brain stronger, thus impacting your susceptibility to developing chronic pain.
You Can Fix It
This damage is not permanent even if you have smoked for decades.
Researchers saw a dramatic drop in this brain connection among smokers who quit smoking cigarettes. Their vulnerability to chronic pain decreased. This means that that the damage was not permanent. Similarly, if you quit smoking, you can reduce the intensity of your chronic back pain.
You must first quit smoking if you want to eliminate your chronic back pain.
Nicotine Is Poison
This is one reason why quitting with the assistance of nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine gum, patches or other nicotine-containing products) is not as great as ads would have you believe. In order to reduce the pain in your joints, you need to eliminate all nicotine consumption. Nicotine promotes unhealthy brain connections, damages nerves and reduces your body’s ability to mend itself.
Smoking cigarettes damages your back because it damages your body and alters your brain. Decreasing the amounts of toxic chemicals you consume while continuing to consume nicotine might lead to some improvements in how you feel. However, you will still be addicted to nicotine and continue to strengthen those brain connections.
In order to make chronic pain a thing of the past, you must stop consuming nicotine, be it in the form of cigarettes, cigars, vaporizers or patches.
So you light up a cigarettes, perhaps you are relaxing with a wine or a beer at the end of the day, or maybe you are stressed and stepping out of your workplace in to a grimy alley which is designated as a smoking place.
The smoke enters your lungs, then your heart and quickly into your blood stream. The whole reason you lit up is to feel good, but the only way you can feel good is to pump about 200 of the 4000 toxic chemicals now circulating in your blood stream into your brain.
Why 200, well you have a thing called the blood brain barrier, and as a smoker it is just plain good luck that only 200 can make its way into your brain as you smoke. If the whole 4000 could get there, your brain would be fried. The other 3800 just go on to fry other parts of your body.
If you injure your arm it will hurt, but if you injure your brain you may get a headache, but this will only happen if there is a blow or physical injury. Other insults to your brain like tumours or smoking do not cause pain usually.
That is why brain surgery can be done with the patient wide awake. But toxic chemicals in the brain like smoking or pollution tends to affect your thinking slowly. If I was tempted to be harsh then I would say that smoking will make you progressively more stupid, but I won’t because that would be unkind.
But I will say that pumping toxins from cigarettes every day is destroying brain cells, and sure you have millions of them, but you have smoked many, many cigarettes. The question is, how many are you prepared to risk?
How many IQ points are you willing to give up so that you can continue to suck in a drug which offers you absolutely nothing?
It doesn’t relax it causes stress.
It doesn’t look good; you are slowly becoming an outcast.
It doesn’t match with alcohol or food, it only ruins the taste of the food and drink.
It gives nothing, but takes your cash. It makes you smell like an ashtray, ruins your teeth, and worst of all puts a big red cancer target on your back, or more correctly on your lungs and throat. Maybe, just maybe, there is a better way to live.
It is easy to take things for granted, things like our health, the people in our lives and even something as simple and automatic such as breathing.
As a child we breathe easily and deeply, as an adult many things change the way we breathe.
Our posture, our stress, and of course smoking. Breathing is the only automatic process that we can control or override.
A child can hold their breath to get something they want. We can stop breathing to swim underwater, and we can breathe slowly and deeply to relax and release stress.
Breathing is certainly a big part of the miracle of living, but smoking interferes with that miracle 24 hours a day. As a smoker every breathe is slightly labored, causing your heart to work a little harder to supply your muscles and brain with enough oxygen to move and think.
But under load such as climbing stairs or exercising that heart stress is more noticeable as you struggle to suck in enough oxygen and many people find themselves puffing on exertion.
An average persons heart will beat 115,200 times per day. If your breathing is just restricted by 5% that means an extra 5760 beats per day. 2,102,400 per year or 42,048,000 over 20 years which is the average time a person smokes.
And it does all of this to not even give you the same energy as a non-smoker.
Your heart is not a super human machine, it will feel the strain, and between the impact of reduced circulation in your arteries and a stressed heart it is little surprise that smoking causes heart disease and heart attacks.
Unless you have been on another planet for your smoking life you would already know this, but have you ever stopped to think about exactly how it affects your heart, and do you care?
The figures above are based on a 5% reduction but it could easily be much more. I see clients who are breathing hard from just walking a short distance from their car to my clinic.
I notice that even after sitting in a chair for more than 30 minutes their breathing remains a little strained. This is a hard way to live, when you reach this stage your life becomes restricted, you have little energy for life and even your sleep will be compromised.
When you quit smoking within a week you will breathe a little easier, and in six months your heart will be much healthier.