Day 19: Yoga for Health
Yoga and a Plant-Based Diet; Shiva Rae; Rodney Yee; The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra; Yoga Gave Me Superior Health by Theos Bernard
“Often one goes for one thing and finds another.” – Neem Karoli Baba
Welcome to Day 19!
Yoga is an exercise and a Life Practice that we can do no matter what our physical condition or location! It is accessible to everyone at all stages of life – and important at every age. Juice Feasting is an excellent time to begin a Yoga practice, and that is why we have made Yoga Camp the I Am Active movement practice (at the bottom of each Day) for the first 30 Days of the Juice Feasting Program.
During a Juice Feast, our body becomes more hydrated, oxygenated, flexible, and open to gentle transformation. You may have noticed your mind is becoming more flexible and open to new ways of being, as well.
People ask us what the best type of yoga practice is, and we always say that it is the one that you do! If you have been interested in yoga over the years and have had a hard time getting started, definitely check out this article:
Yoga is an effective way to enhance both physical and mental well-being. While yoga is becoming more popular in recent years, it is actually an ancient activity that focuses on connecting the mind, the body, and the spirit by performing specific poses, breathing, and meditation. The practice of yoga has many health benefits that can improve everyone’s health. In fact, yoga is an inexpensive and effective way to improve all areas of one’s life.
Some of the physical benefits include:
+ Improved flexibility
+ Improved joint mobility
+ Muscle building, toning, and strengthening
+ Posture correction
+ Spine strengthening
+ Lessening back pain
+ Improving muscular-skeletal conditions
+ Increasing strength and stamina
+ Improving balance
+ Stimulating the endocrine system
+ Improving digestion and elimination
+ Increasing circulation
+ Improving heart conditions
+ Improving breathing disorders
+ Boosting the immune system
+ Decreasing cholesterol and glucose levels
+ Facilitating weight loss
Some mental benefits include:
+ Increasing body awareness
+ Relieving stress
+ Relaxing the body by relieving muscle strain
+ Sharpening concentration
+ Freeing the spirit
Recent studies have shown that yoga can also be instrumental in relieving symptoms connected to:
+ Chronic fatigue
+ Accelerated aging
Yoga has been touted as a nearly perfect fitness activity that is effective for almost anyone of any age and fitness level. Even children can benefit from learning yoga. If children learn yoga while they are young it will enable them to retain their natural flexibility as they age. Older people can greatly benefit from yoga exercises because it can enable them to increase their mobility and it may also help alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis and poor circulation.
Yoga helps develop balance and coordination. It is an invigorating activity that stretches and tones muscles and joints and directs blood and oxygen to internal organs, glands, and nerves. Learning yoga develops self-discipline and will improve concentration and memory. Yoga is different from conventional forms of exercise because the focus is on quality of movement instead of quantity.
Consistent yoga will quiet the mind, refresh the body and enable overall peace and happiness.
Yoga involves motion without incurring strain or imbalances within the body. When yoga is done correctly there are no negative effects whatsoever and it can be quite demanding and strenuous. It is not an aerobic exercise but it involves almost every muscle and challenges the body very effectively.
Today’s File on Yoga
The attached file on Yoga today contains excerpts from the book Go Further by actor Woody Harrelson.Woody has an excellent story on how his yoga practice began – on the movie set of White Men Can’t Jump. I (David) saw Woody at the Tree of Life Foundation in Arizona, and he was quite obviously in excellent health with his diet of living foods and yoga practice.
The second half of the Yoga file is more from the perspective of Eastern traditions. It is technical and contains an article written by Dr. Gabriel Cousens on Vegetarianism and Yoga. If it gets too thick with terminology, just fast forward ahead! My favorite part of the article concerns the virtues of eating a plant-based diet:
A vegetarian way of life actively promotes six aspects of Ahimsa (nonviolence):
(1) compassion and non-cruelty toward animals;
(2) preserving the earth and its ecology;
(3) feeding the hungry;
(4) preserving human life;
(5) preservation of personal health;
(6) and inspiring peace.
What pleases us most about using whole and living foods food nutrition is that we enjoy health for myself and the world while doing something that we need to do anyway—eat!
Yoga and Juice Feasting
The cleansing program you are using now is the most supportive dietary measure you could possibly take in beginning or expanding your practice of yoga.
Your body is well hydrated, and you are consuming anti-inflammatory foods! You are more limber than ever, and accessing yoga will take you even further, preventing you from injury and enhancing your life in multiple ways.
We highly encourage you in this important time to begin doing Yoga as a Life Practice at your own pace. Go to the bookstore and purchase a simple book on yoga, or search the web for some information, and get started!
In all our years, we have never talked with someone who regretted doing yoga, or integrating yoga as a Life Practice.
Feeling depressed or down? Don’t automatically reach for an anti-depressant. Do some yoga. These days, the typical treatment for depression comes in the form of a pill, which can often lead to serious side effects and dependency. Prior to modern drug companies, however, sages from the East discovered a method of calming the mind and soothing the spirit.
A study just published in the journal Spine found that a group of low back pain sufferers who regularly practiced yoga postures had less pain, improved function, and a better mood. What’s more, they were far less likely to take drugs for their back problem than a matched group who received standard medical therapy.
Long-Term Yoga Practice May Decrease Women’s Stress by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Iyengar Yoga for Chronic Low-Back Pain Shows Promising Results by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Yoga: An Alternative Treatment for Depression by Stephanie Brail
Western studies have shown that regular exercise can provide relief from depression. In addition, yoga postures have been specifically shown to increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which may alleviate depression. Furthermore, as many enthusiastic practitioners of yoga will tell you, yoga seems to go beyond the benefits of general exercise and helps increase overall happiness.
Yoga Takes Away Stress, Pounds, Toxins, Cholesterol and Cravings by Allison Biggar
When you breathe deeply and consciously – instead of taking short, shallow breaths – you not only feel more relaxed, you burn more calories. Studies have shown that regular deep breathing burns up to 140% more calories than riding a stationary bike!
Yoga Reduces Inflammation and Improves Heart Health by Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.
A recent study conducted at Ohio State University included 50 female participants. Half of the women were yoga novices who had practiced yoga for fewer than 12 sessions and the other women were considered experts who had practiced yoga twice a week for 2 years. Blood samples were drawn at various times during the study when the women were asked to perform yoga and light treadmill walking and during a stress test.
The blood samples showed that women who did not regularly practice yoga had 41% higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6. This is a substance that increases inflammation in the body. Inflammation plays a major role in age-related diseases including heart disease and diabetes. This study shows that practicing yoga can help people fight illnesses as they age by reducing their levels of cytokine IL-6.