by Lucy Fry - Read the original article here
Sometimes I think everyone must be doing yoga. From Demi Moore to Madonna, no celebrity seems too busy to roll out their mat and move into downward dog. But I know that some people still need persuading of its benefits. By following this advice, you can solve (almost) any health problem, from poor posture to a bad back.
Regular yoga sessions helped me move my hips and shoulders more easily – they had been chronicallytightened by long periods of sitting. Yoga also improved my posture and made me less achey. Stewart Heffernan, a yoga teacher, says: “With regular practice we become aware of when we are out of alignment. Along with the many postures that open the shoulders and hips, this helps us to improve posture and body awareness.”
Yoga also made me feel more relaxed. It has been brilliant this year. In September, I returned from a two-week yoga retreat in Morocco to find my London life calmer and more appealing. I didn’t mind slowfooted tourists or late-running trains. Studies suggest that yoga can even reduce the level of stress hormones in those with depression – more so than those just using antidepressant medication.
Yoga can also help prevent back problems. Ali Hill, founder of yogahaven (yogahaven.com), says that when people start yoga any back problems often improve. “Yoga poses involve twisting, bending thearms and legs, and extending the spine, which means you are constantly opening up and creating space in up to 26 joints in or near your back. Poses also open up your hips and hamstrings, which canrelieve tightness across the lower back,” she says.
Heffernan says: “Yoga helps us to focus our attention on one point, whether it be the breath or the gaze, or our conscious placement of the body. These practices help us to be more focused, mindfuland clear the chatter that normally stops us from concentrating.”
Research suggests that hatha yoga (one of the more gentle types) can help arthritis sufferers, too. Jess Lee, 31, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis seven years ago. She was regularly seeingphysiotherapists, swimming and taking painkillers. “Some days I couldn’t get out of bed,” she says. “I could barely walk to the bathroom, and struggled to get in and out of a car or sit down. Withinfive months of doing yoga five times a week, the pain had pretty much disappeared. I feel like I have a new back and hardly ever need medication.”
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