For many, the idea of getting into yoga conjures up thoughts of retreats, candles, and hours of practice on the mat. It doesn't have to be this way. You don’t need to immerse yourself in yogi life to tap into the transformational benefits of yoga. And when it comes to enjoying the health benefits linked to increased activity, yoga can be the perfect way to ease into action.
Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility, it benefits heart health, boosts your mood and energy levels, and helps ease anxiety and stress – and you can pick up these perks pretty quickly.
All it took was two weeks, a total of six short sessions, to deliver remarkable results.
When Dr. Jinger Gottschall and a team of researchers began exploring the benefits of a BODYBALANCE™-based pre-bedtime yoga and meditation session she found results in next to no time. Doing nothing but 20-30 minute sessions the study participants showed improved sleep, a boost in positive feelings, and enhanced recovery from mental as well as physical stress. All it took was two weeks, a total of six short sessions, to deliver remarkable results.
One yoga session a week could be the secret to lowering blood pressure.
Another large observational study from the US has revealed just one yoga session a week could be the secret to lowering blood pressure. This is an important finding for many, as over 30% of the adult population has high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. The researchers explored heath data of 1355 people aged 18 to 79 who practiced yoga at least once a week. On average these individuals had a systolic blood pressure that was 2.8 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower and a diastolic blood pressure that was 1.5 mmHg lower than those who didn't. Experts say that if the wider population saw such a significant reduction in average blood pressure could eliminate a large number of heart attacks and strokes. A 2015 study found that if the population of middle-aged adults in the US could reduce average systolic blood pressure by 2 mmHg it would prevent more than 12,000 heart attacks and 7000 strokes annually.
Of course, yoga isn’t the only way to lower blood pressure, all types of physical activity can be beneficial on that front. It’s just that for many people physical activity adherence can be a challenge and a weekly yoga session is much more achievable.
“My balance and standing strength improved greatly. I am loving the isolation and strengthening of different muscles and I have noticed less tightness post workouts…”
Mom of two toddlers, Nikki Jones, made the move to add yoga to her life, challenging herself to do 100 days of BODYBALANCE to help shift her mindset and move away from a routine stacked with high-intensity aerobic training. She says the benefits came thick and fast and after just two weeks she noticed some amazing changes. “My balance and standing strength improved greatly. I am loving the isolation and strengthening of different muscles and I have noticed less tightness post workouts and less of the knee pain that I often suffered as a result of past injuries.”
“Quality over quantity is key … A quick 15 minutes of flexibility before dinner can make a world of difference.”
“A quick 15 minutes of flexibility before dinner can make a world of difference. It gives you permission to slow down. To be in the moment, and really feel every movement. It allows you to focus on your breath (rather than how breathless you are) and it really gives love to the smaller often forgotten muscles … As long as I dedicate all my effort during this short time I feel happy and feel refreshed. It’s particularly good if I can do this outside. For me quality over quantity is key.”
NIKKI’S TIPS FOR INTRODUCING YOGA TO YOUR LIFE
- Try the BODYBALANCE express workouts on LES MILLS+, they are life-changing.
- Let your kids join you. Having my boys crawl on me is not exactly serene, but it brings joy to my soul
- Know that yoga feels particularly good if you can do it outside
- Remember that everyone can do it, whether pregnant, postpartum, beginner or expert, old or young.
- Getting changed into workout gear has always been a barrier for me, but with yoga, you can do it in your PJs! Try 15 minutes when you wake, or before you sleep.
- Start small and then build up. If you have a competitive streak create a challenge and see if you can beat it (#100daysofbodybalance anyone?)
Nikki Jones is a mom of two and a BODYATTACK™, BODYPUMP™, LES MILLS GRIT™ and RPM™ Instructor who has recently become a huge advocate for BODYBALANCE and yoga.