Yoga offers numerous mental and physical benefits to its practitioners, but women’s greater sensitivity to stress means that they may stand to receive even more benefits from yoga than men. By practicing yoga regularly, women may find greater levels of happiness, reduced stress and better acceptance of their own bodies. Yoga also carries several physical benefits for women; here’s a look at some of the most remarkable advantages women enjoy by practicing yoga regularly.
Togetherness with Other Women
At work and in their social lives, women experience intense competition at every level that can leave them drained mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Many women find that by attending regular yoga classes, they enjoy a valuable feeling of community with their fellow females. In modern society, yoga class can provide a valuable opportunity for women to find new friends in a positive atmosphere. On the yoga mat, all that matters is a communal atmosphere of transcendence. This experience can bolster women’s confidence and life satisfaction even outside of yoga class.
One of the primary benefits of yoga for men and women is the reduction of stress and anger it can bring about. Studies have shown that yoga reduces anxiety and depression, which women are at higher risk for. By providing a positive outlet for eliminating emotional stress, yoga can improve performance, enhance sleep and promote greater enjoyment of life.
Relief from PMS Symptoms
PMS severity varies between women and from month to month, but it often involves painful and unpleasant symptoms including bloating, headaches, irritability and pelvic pain. Fortunately, yoga provides many women with significant relief from these symptoms. One of the best poses for PMS is the plow pose; by reducing tension and aiding in digestion, it can vastly improve bloating. The reclining bound angle can be a big help against irritability, cramps, depression and headaches. Finally, the wall pose relaxes women suffering from mood swings and other emotional symptoms of PMS.
Reduced Joint Pain
According to yoga principals, painful joints are caused by poor energy flow in the body. In a study done by St. Joseph’s Hospital, rheumatoid arthritis is less common overall than osteoarthritis and presents more in women by a ratio of 8 to 1. By opening up energy blockages in the joints, relief becomes possible. These ideas correspond with the stiffness and poor blood flow seen in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; in both disorders, yoga can reduce pain by enhancing circulation and eliminating trapped toxins from the joints. Asanas and pranayama are some of the best yoga poses for joint pain, combining movements with controlled breathing. Joint pain sufferers who want to try yoga should be sure to use slow, controlled movements and avoid those requiring severe stretching and bending; hyperextension from twisting movements can actually damage the joints and worsen problems with arthritis.
One of the best features of yoga is that there are many types of poses to fit individual goals and abilities. Women with limited flexibility or strength can simply stick to the poses that work best for them. This means that yoga truly offers something for every woman interested in enhancing her performance and enjoyment of life.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall
well being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com