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The Science Behind Your Favorite Yoga Poses

The Science Behind Your Favorite Yoga Poses

In honor of National Yoga Month, we're talking more about the benefits that yoga can provide for your overall health.

If you've ever done a yoga class, you're probably familiar with the basics of yoga and how it can serve as a great form of exercise, slash stress, and help you feel great overall. Depending on where you practice, your yoga instructor may share additional pointers as to how each pose or sequence can provide a variety of physical and health-related benefits. Knowing more of the science behind the poses in terms of your overall health can help you to appreciate yoga that much more!

So we'll be taking a closer look at some common yoga poses and touch base on the physical and health benefits of each.

Cobra Pose

The Cobra Pose is an amazing pose that provides these benefits:

  • The nerves along the spinal column are toned and blood circulation is improved. The nerves in the legs begin to circulate blood as the legs are stretched way beyond and they take part of the weight of the body in this yoga pose.
  • Improves overall back and neck while keeping the spine supple and healthy.
  • Helps in expanding the chest thus encouraging deep breathing. It works on the shoulders and corrects rounded shoulders.
  • As a lot of pressure is on the lower back, the lower abdominal muscles are also toned and strengthened.
  • The pressure on the abdomen is beneficial as it helps in better digestion, stimulating appetite, relieves flatulence and constipation, improve liver function, and even aid in migraines.
  • As the neck is stretched, the functioning of the thyroid gland improves.
  • Tones the ovaries and the uterus and helps to remove any disorders in connection to the uterus. Thus this pose also helps during menstruation.
  • Therapeutic benefits are as follows: relieves backaches, neck pain, stress, purifies blood, relieves constipation and addresses gynecological disorders.

Dancer Pose

The Dancer pose can provide these benefits:

  • This movement incorporates muscle strength right from the shoulders and chest to the hips and toes. Let us go in detail with the various other benefits.
  • The raising of the leg beyond the hip, stretches the hamstrings, calves and the quadricep muscles, thus making them more flexible and strong.
  • The hips are toned here with the backbend of the lower back and the thighs.
  • Beneficial for toning the arms and the shoulders, removing the wrong posture of the shoulders and the extra fat at the upper arms.
  • The chest and the shoulders expand here, thus creating more space for the breath.
  • The entire spine is in action, thus toning the muscles around it including the neck and builds overall flexibility.
  • The most important benefit one gets from this pose is the balancing of the body, thus giving room for more focus towards mind and body, which further improves concentration and memory
  • As the abdominal area is expanded to its maximum, the abdominal organs are kept toned, improving digestion.

Warrior Pose I

Warrior Pose I helps with a variety of benefits too:

  • Improves the function of the respiratory system: In this pose, the arms are stretched above the head extending the chest and the diaphragm to remain stable in this pose. This extension of the arms and the deep stretch at the chest and the diaphragm contracts the muscles activating the organs related to the respiratory system. The exchange of gas through the lungs which would be deep and slow with awareness of the body, in Warrior Pose I, helps to improve the circulation of air, which is fresh. The freshness of air also keeps the nasal passage clear, reducing any kind of allergy.
  • Improves the circulatory system: While the air passes through the nose and through the throat with the deep expansion of the diaphragm, the blood flow is also improved with fresh oxygen being generated through the body. The deep expansion of the spinal cord brings in this fresh prana, encouraging the heart to be active. The active circulatory system is essential to maintain a good metabolism within the body with the secretion of hormones in a balanced way.
  • Keeps the entire body muscles fit: In Warrior Pose I, the deep stretch to the lower body, like the gluteus maximus, the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the adductors of the inner thighs helps to maintain a great looking toned muscles. The stretch at the upper body keeps the muscles around the entire spine and the obliques (side abdominal muscles) also in good shape.
  • Flexes the hips, knees, and ankles and improves the joints while flexing them
  • Tones the entire body with the deep stretch: The expansion and extension of the thighs, hips, shoulders, arms, and neck in this pose, work on burning the excess fat and keeps these muscles toned while adding a great toned look to the body.
  • The overall flexibility of the body improves: With the deep stretch of the entire body, there is a slow progress with the flexibility of the body, which therefore becomes essential for the practice of various other advance level poses.
  • Acts in a therapeutic way for ailments like asthma, sciatica, and insomnia: The expansion of the diaphragm improving the respiratory system helps with asthma patients. The flexing of the hips and the entire legwork from the base of the spine, creating a better movement of the nerve including the sciatic nerve. The building of stamina and stability with awareness of the body brings in fresh energy within the body to help reduce symptoms related to insomnia.
  • The internal organs function well: With the muscles being activated including the abdominal muscles, the digestive system, and the reproductive system improve in their functions, thus reducing indigestion and problems related to the reproductive system.

Yoga is a great way to get in tune with your body, physically and mentally, and can help improve your health overall. If you're looking for additional help in reaching optimal health, the team at AFC Physical Medicine & Chiropractic is here to help. Contact us today with any questions or request an appointment here.