New Castle News

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February 28, 2013

Lori Brothers: Balance your body chemistry with yoga

NEW CASTLE — Cholesterol, triglycerides, endocrine functions, lymphatic system, sodium, glucose and red blood cells — they are all part of the dynamics that make up your health.

Yoga can improve your body chemistry. Here’s how.

Yoga is a science that balances your body through a series of stretches and poses while you consciously breathe. It is important to understand that yoga practice is non-competitive. It is you meeting your own patterns and learning to meet your personal best.

It is important for you to know your limits, and to work towards honoring them, and then learn to move beyond them with safety and self-trust.

In yoga practice it is said, “It’s not how flexible you are, it’s how flexible you can become; it’s not how strong you are, it’s how strong you can become.”

This means that if you are not able to get up and down off of the floor, your yoga practice can begin with sitting in a chair or, for some positions, lying on the bed. When you are honest about what is appropriate for you, the healing benefits of yoga are within your reach. You can evolve from where ever you are in your health and well-being toward the best you can become. Use the traditional floor poses when appropriate.

It’s funny to me when I talk to people who think you have to be able to bend yourself into a pretzel to practice yoga. There are yoga poses that appear extreme that give yoga a bad image. The only pretzel I invite you to entertain is making the whole wheat soft pretzel for this week’s healthy recipe!

For those in the mainstream population, yoga can be a contributor to good health with guidance and moderation. Yoga has been clinically proven to positively impact health and well-being by utilizing the cooling benefits that re-pattern the systems of the body.

While this can include some of what is being offered at gyms and senior centers, it is important to look at what your intentions are when looking into yoga classes. Start with a gentle movements or beginners’ class and let the  poses speak to the body systems in the subtle body language of sensation that stimulates recovery, restoration and rejuvenation.

The more cooling aspects of yoga are not based on a lot of repetitive, “work out” type activities. They are the gentler movements that retrain your body systems to recover and repair from imbalance or from injury.

The squeezing, flushing, and purifying dynamics that yoga stimulates in the body helps to control and regulate hormone secretion, lowers blood glucose levels, and increases blood circulation which positively affects cholesterol levels.

Your immunity is boosted with regular gentle movements and stretching while deep-breathing, because the movement helps get the lymph system flowing. This builds up your immune defenses.

Also, more oxygen coming into your body through developing better breathing patterns increases red blood cells which feed the brain, organs and heart. This can become like “anti-aging” to the body, and often provides the feeling of having more energy, along with the sensation of relaxation.

The part of your nervous system that balances the flight or fight response, the parasympathetic nervous system, is the break pedal for your body’s systems.

Dr. Herbert Benson coined the phrase “relaxation response” to describe the effects of conditioning this important part of your nervous system which helps to keep your blood pressure lower and pace your respiratory rate to create balance and recovery to all of your systems.

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