Gifts You Can Give Yourself
As we begin to move into December, the hustle and bustle of this month can be quite stressing with social engagements and gatherings. At one time in my life, I had some event every weekend with smaller obligations sprinkled throughout the week. These commitments usually lasted the full three weeks leading up to Christmas. The week of Christmas, things didn’t slow down much nor after but I wish at the time, I knew about Yoga. Honestly, I wish I knew a lot of things but what I know now is that yoga helps to remove stress from my world.
Whether practicing at home or attending a yoga class, sometimes it’s the only way for us men to slow down and breathe. A lot of us men tend to hold our stress in, not necessarily dealing with it in a healthy manner. All men are susceptible to lacking focus during this time of the year, and due to all the holiday parties we develop bad eating habits and lose sleep with the later nights. Yoga can provide a sense of clarity and balance within the mind and practicing yoga will train our minds to slow down, which in turn allows us to “master the art” of letting go of all that comes before your practice, and after. Yoga will give you the opportunity to focus on being more mindful and present.
Yoga can help you improve your breathing. Breathing is an unconscious response carried out in our brains by the Medulla. If we remember our cognitive neuroscience from high school, the primary role of the medulla is regulating our involuntary life-sustaining automatic functions like breathing, blood pressure, circulation, heart functions, and digestion.
People much smarter than myself say that most people breathe at 10-20 percent of their full capacity. This unfavorable way of breathing can contribute to a multitude of health problems, from high blood pressure to insomnia. Luckily, when we expose ourselves to yoga, we will become accustomed to breathing in and out through the nose as we move through our poses allowing us to take in fuller, deeper breaths, stimulating the lower lung to distribute more significant amounts of oxygen throughout the body. Nasal breathing is considered the proper way for humans to breath that can increase our energy and vitality.
Yoga can create a balanced body and mind.
I believe we can all use a bit more balance in our lives. Balance is essential not only for our muscles so that they can support each other uniformly, but our mind can benefit from being more balanced as well.
Unfortunately, nobody has a perfectly balanced body, and our bodies are consistently compensating for that imbalance. This imbalance can cause tight muscles to become even tighter and those weak muscles to become weaker. If we dedicate ourselves to practicing yoga daily, it can help to overcome these problems. Yoga strengthens and stretches muscles, minimizing injury and improving those weaker muscles to be less atrophied while relaxing those tighter muscles.
Practicing yoga trains your mind to focus internally rather than externally, resulting in a balanced mind. Yoga also restores and increases your energy levels while allowing for peak concentration, and high levels of cognitive functions and a flood of happy endorphins released into your body.
As men grow older they commonly start to lose their flexibility faster than women. When we were younger, this was never a concern, but as we transitioned from earlier levels of activity to our "periodic" inactivity, the "flexibility gap" has widened significantly.
Flexibility is especially necessary for men whose tighter bodies are prone to ailments by merely living a sedentary lifestyle. Chronic back pain or hip pains from constantly sitting in an office chair and the couch can completely wreck your mobility and your mood. Yoga is beneficial for improving flexibility that can significantly reduce back pain and improve your range of motion. Yoga is a useful exercise routine, that you can start today.