1. Is stress making you cranky? Henry Kissinger once said, “There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” All of us can relate. But when we’re stressed for extended periods, our bodies release cortisol at levels toxic to the body. This can cause irritability and anxiety which negatively impact work performance and relationships. Elevated cortisol has also been associated with weight gain and heart disease. Studies show yoga benefits stressed individuals physically and mentally through regulating cortisol. Consider which is more important: the quantity of the work you do or the quality?
2. Are you trying to break a habit or establish a new one? Even though my rational brain tells me I don’t need the whole pint of Cookie Dough ice cream or that second glass of wine, I can’t always control myself. Research demonstrates (Slaughter, H. & Davidson, R., 2011) that those who practice meditation showed increased “cortical thickness” in a region of the brain important to controlling behavior. Since yoga is a form of mediation that incorporates poses, or asanas, with controlled breathing, it not only offers the benefits of meditation but offers the positive effects of exercise. 3. Do you have trouble sleeping? I’m sometimes able to travel with my husband to the fun places his work takes him. But upon my return, I have to hit the ground running with work, school and other commitments. In other words, no time for jet lag! I’ve discovered yoga helps me get the most restful sleep I’ve ever had. But don’t take my word for it, there’s scientific proof. A six month study found yoga (60 minute session six days a week, with a 15 minute evening session) helped increase total sleep time compared to control groups.
Maybe it’s time to give yoga a try! If you’re in the Colorado Springs area, I can highly recommend Pranava Yoga Center owned by fellow Texan Charlotte Matsumura and her husband Mike.
Slagter, H. A., Davidson, R. J., & Lutz, A. (2011). Mental training as a tool in the neuroscientific study of brain and cognitive plasticity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5(17). doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00017 PMCID: PMC3039118
- Aspiring moms use yoga to ease stress of infertility (canada.com)
- Better sex. Yet another benefit of yoga! (joyofspa.com)
- Yoga boosts stress-busting hormone, reduces pain (sciencedaily.com)