Yoga gets rid of muscle soreness
Feeling some pain after a tough physical event, like running a 5 or 10K, or even a tough boot-camp workout? You’re likely experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and a good yoga session will help. “The gentle and meditative side of yoga is a great counterbalance to strenuous training,” says nutritionist and yoga expert Annie B. Kay MS RDN RYT, also co-author of Yoga and Diabetes.
Yoga Tip: If you are experiencing DOMS and want some relief, try a yoga class that focuses on stretching and meditation such as a hatha or restorative class.
Yoga improves balance
“Yoga is an excellent practice for increasing balance,” says Nelson. “Clinical studies show it can reduce the risk of falls in the elderly and for people with Parkinson’s disease.” Nelson says moves like tree, eagle, half-moon and even mountain, strengthen the small muscles in the feet and legs. And they “provide important feedback for our nervous system to help us maintain balance and prevent falls.”
Yoga Tip: If you’re finding a pose to be particularly off balancing, ask your instructor for a modification.
Yoga keeps you young
An anti-aging solution that doesn’t come as a $100 pot of cream?! It’s true – yoga can help boost youthfulness. “We are now discovering one of the possible mechanisms behind the anti-aging benefit of yoga,” says Nelson “It has to do with telomeres, and their role in cellular aging.” She describes telomeres as strands of DNA that sit on the end of each of our chromosomes, like a little cap. “Each time our cells divide, and our DNA replicates, these end caps shorten a tiny bit. If they get too short, the cells can no longer function and shut down. Short telomeres are a sign of cellular aging, and are associated with many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
To prevent this process of cellular aging, there is an enzyme our bodies produce called telomerase that helps our telomeres stay long and healthy. Yogic practices, like meditation, have been shown to increase telomerase activity, thereby reducing cellular aging.” She sites research by Dean Ornish MD as demonstrating an increase in telomere length.
Yoga Tip: Just like a “miracle face cream,” you have to use yoga regularly to see results.