I’ve been practicing yoga for years, but since I joined the Temecula Yoga Collective, I feel like all those videos and gym-chain classes we all for pretend, because I can tell you that I have never, ever worked so hard twisting myself in a pretzel than I did this past Sunday, when in honor of the Festival of Lights, my local studio did the ENTIRE yoga practice (yes, every. single. pose) that took four-and-a-half hours. Close to the end there I thought I’d might puke, and with 30 minutes left, it took all the mental drive I had to stay till until I could acheive”corpse pose,” without fear of actually becoming a corpse.
Would I do it again? The full sequence from 12:00-4:30? Nope. But am I glad I did it? Yep.
Exercises like yoga, pilates and the barre method have helped me maintain my thin and fit physique, and has helped to center me and reduce my daily stress. Research proves that I’m not delusional:
20 Minutes of Yoga Improves Brain Function
Researchers have found that just 20 minutes of hatha yoga followed by conscious breathing and meditation significantly improved study participants’ concentration and working memory. When 30 female students from Illinois University jogged for 20 minutes, on the other hand, they did not perform as well. The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, asked participants to complete a test after the yoga or jogging to assess brain function. “’It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout,” said Neha Gothe, the study’s author and a professor of kinesiology at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Read more here.
Mindfulness Meditation Significantly Lowers Anxiety
A new study published in the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that anxiety levels could be lowered by as much as 39 percent by practicing mindfulness meditation—a secular form of meditation where one practices mindfulness by focusing on the breath. Researchers used brain scans to measure the brain activity of 15 volunteers experiencing normal levels of anxiety before and after meditation. The participants had never practiced meditation before. “This showed that just a few minutes of mindful meditation can help reduce normal everyday anxiety,” the study’s author Fadel Zeidan said.
Read more here.
Yoga May Lower Blood Pressure
Yoga might help lower high blood pressure, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Hypertension. The study, which is still considered preliminary until it is accepted into a peer reviewed journal, involved 58 women and men between 38 and 62 years old. Those who practiced yoga two to three times a week showed an average drop in blood pressure from 133/80 to 130/77. There was a smaller decrease in participants who changed their diets. Yoga alone was surprisingly more effective at lowering blood pressure than yoga and altering diet, though study authors hypothesized that those participants who were tasked with both might have been less able to stick to the program since both are time consuming.
Read more here.