The hidden benefits of yoga

Yoga_Oct12_AWhile many of you already know that yoga helps increase flexibility and boost endurance, and allows you to breathe your way to a calm mind, the fact is that yoga can do more than help you twist your body and find inner peace. With that in mind, we’ll explore the benefits of yoga that you may not know about, but will be glad that you do now!

Boosts immunity

According to research from the University of Oslo, just two hours of practicing yoga can cause your genes to change. Specifically, it turns on 111 genes that help regulate your immune cells. The changes start to occur the moment you’re on the mat, and rev up your immunity better than going on a nature hike while listening to soothing music, which turns on only 38 genes. Not only that but, as you breathe better, move better and circulate better, all other organs in your body function better too.

Eases migraines

If you suffer from migraines, then you already know how painful and disruptive they are to your daily life. But believe it or not, research from Headache: the Journal of Head and Face Pain shows that migraine sufferers have fewer, less painful migraines, and use meds less often after only three months of yoga practice.

What’s more, certain yoga moves can help alleviate migraine pain in no time. For starters, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor. With your hands resting on the floor, begin to press down into your legs and draw your hips toward the sky. Keep your shoulders in line with the base of your neck, moving the back of the shoulders together so your shoulder blades are close. Lift your chest towards your chin but move your chin away from your chest. This causes the upper trapezius muscles to flow away from the head, which will ease your pain.

Improves sexual performance

You read correctly, yoga actually improves things in the bedroom! Studies have found that 12 weeks of yoga can improve sexual desire, arousal, performance, confidence, orgasm and satisfaction for both men and women. How? Yoga increases blood flow into the genital area, which helps with arousal and erections. It also strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, and the breathing techniques you get from the practice can help with endurance and performance.

If you really want to take things up a notch, try sitting with your feet together and your knees bent and reaching toward the floor. Then slowly fold over your feet while trying to bring your knees closer to the ground, moving the groin back, and engaging the pelvic floor muscles. This is a great hip-opener, plus the pelvic floor engagement tones the muscles for orgasm.

Relieves PMS cramps

Three specific yoga poses — the cobra, cat and fish, were found to significantly reduce the severity of young women’s menstrual cramps. It is best to perform these poses at the start of, or mid-way through, your period cycle.

Try the cobra pose, lying face-down on the mat with your palms down by the sides of your rib cage and the tops of your feet pressing into the floor. Press into your hands, puling the floor toward your toes as you lift your chest forward off the floor, and then lower down again. Focus on your abdominal connection and avoid lifting your leg off the floor.

Quells food cravings

Researchers from the University of Washington found that regular yoga practice helps with mindful eating by causing breath awareness. This strengthens the mind-body connection and helps you tune in to emotions involved with certain cravings. You’ll also slow down and make better choices when cravings do strike.

The next time you have the munchies, try laying down in a comfortable position and bringing attention to the natural breathing movement in and out through your nose. Then bring attention to the triangular area around the tip of your nose and upper lip, while also focusing on your breath hitting this space as you exhale, the temperature of your breath, and the nostril you’re breathing through. No moving, no reacting; just stay present. Try this for two minutes or more.

Stops embarrassing leaks

Believe it or not, yoga can treat urinary incontinence. This mainly affects women after having given birth, and often takes its toll on them at the gym or while they’re running. However, women who took part in yoga programs designed to target the pelvic floor muscles experienced a 70 percent reduction in the frequency of their leaks.

These are just some of the benefits of practicing yoga that will help enrich the quality of your everyday life. If you would like to know more about how yoga can benefit your mind and body, or would like to talk to an expert about getting started, just give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

A beginner’s guide to yoga class clothing

Yoga_Oct26_AIf you’re new to the world of yoga, selecting the right clothing is crucial for a positive first experience. While yoga doesn’t require you to invest a lot in equipment and garments, you still can’t just wear anything to join a class. You need to choose proper clothing that allows for stretching and bending, in order to ensure that your sessions will be as comfortable as possible. So check out these guidelines before you go shop around for yoga wear.

Yoga tops

We highly recommend tops that are made of cotton or knitwear. This is because most yoga postures involve a lot of stretching, and therefore it is necessary to wear clothes that are able to support all of your body’s extended movements. Cotton and knitwear textures are soft enough to prevent any rashes to the skin. They are also highly absorbent, preventing body sweat from getting in the way during your practice.

Don’t forget to consider the tightness of your yoga tops. Pick one that’s neither too loose nor too tight for your body shape. Try it on and see if you’re able to move freely in it. You should practice a few moves and poses in the fitting room to see if the top works for you.

Yoga pants

The perfect yoga pants are ones you can wear just as comfortably as your yoga tops, preferably made of a light material and with an elastic waist that conforms to your body’s shape. You have the option of choosing between full-length pants, capris, or shorts. Although this is all a matter of preference, you should choose a pair that complements your yoga practice. For instance, you should choose a pair of full-length, breathable pants for calm and gentle yoga, while shorts are recommended for hot yoga classes.


In addition to yoga tops, you can also put on long-sleeved thermal hoodies or zip-up jackets. These extra layers are ideal for the winter, when you’re traveling to a yoga class or when you perform yoga in a chilly room. Wearing an extra layer of clothing will help raise your body’s temperature and loosen muscles during the warm-up stage, as well as prevent chills when your body is not producing heat during the final relaxation stage.


After you have carefully selected your yoga wear, it’s time to consider the right accessories to go with the outfit. Avoid putting on any jewelry, so you don’t distract yourself and others during class. Some yoga accessories that may come in handy are headbands to keep your hair in place when you go through postures, yoga gloves to tighten your grip on the mat, and a yoga towel; these are super absorbent, making them perfect for wiping off the sweat during practice.

Looking to start practicing yoga? Get in touch with our expert instructors today and we can help get you started.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Why you should practice yoga at a studio

Portrait of a beautiful young yoga instructor smiling during one of her classesIn today’s busy and hectic world, joining traditional yoga classes in a studio is no longer the only option for practitioners. You can easily practice yoga right in front of your laptop in the comfort of your home. Doing yoga at home and following instructions from videos might be convenient, but there’s a good chance you will put your body into postures that are neither efficient nor properly aligned, which could potentially lead to injuries. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should keep on taking yoga classes at a studio.

Posture correction

One of the things that a home yoga practice lacks is adjustments and corrections from experienced instructors. Misalignment in poses can happen to anyone, from beginners to the most seasoned yogis. When you join a class, you’ll benefit from real yoga instructors who are always on the lookout for students who require assistance. Guidance and modifications from instructors are customized for every body shape in a particular lesson. Their immediate advice helps reduce the chances of students performing injury-prone poses.

Better insight

Practicing in a studio gives you the opportunity to approach your instructors and ask for their expert advice and insight, whether it’s before, during, or after class. Whether you’re looking to improve your postures, gain more flexibility and strength, or express concerns about pain in specific parts of your body during practice, your instructors are there to provide guidance and solutions to your problems. While they might not be able to answer all of your questions, they’re still a valuable source of information you can’t find in yoga videos and podcasts alone.

Improved focus

Let’s face it – it can be pretty easy to veer off course when practicing yoga at home. There are so many distractions with the potential to divert your focus from your sessions. You may need to take the dog out for an evening stroll, do the laundry, cook dinner, or pick up phone calls – the list goes on. Participating in a dedicated session full of like-minded individuals who share the same passion and goals can direct your mind and attention towards the practice at hand.

Social interaction

While the ultimate purpose of yoga is to find yourself and relax both your body and mind, you’ll often need the connection and help of others to get there. Yoga classes can create a strong sense of community and connection. It is a place where instructors and students try to support each other, even in the most difficult of postures and challenging moments. By joining in a studio environment you are fostering a sense of connection with others, which is a fulfilling and meaningful experience.

Practicing yoga in a studio can develop you as a person, reduce the risks of injury, and give you the opportunity to share and connect with fellow yogis.

To learn more about how our yoga classes can benefit your well-being, get in touch with our expert instructors today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Preparing for your first hot yoga class

Yoga_Oct5_AHot yoga is an intense practice that takes place in a heated room where temperatures range between 98 to 105 degrees. Before you feel overwhelmed by the heat, it’s worth knowing that this type of yoga provides various health benefits including toxin removal, weight loss, and stress relief. While hot yoga is open to practitioners of all levels, it pays to do some research and prepare yourself beforehand. We have some tips to help you get started.

Hydrate yourself

During hot yoga classes, you’ll sweat more than you’ve ever sweated in your life, which is why your body needs more fluid than it would for other types of exercise. Make sure you’re well-hydrated throughout the day leading up to your practice. Just don’t guzzle it or you’ll twist and stretch into poses with a belly full of water which will make you feel very dizzy and uncomfortable.

Bring your towel

You probably know that a mat is mandatory for most yoga classes, but in hot classes you’ll sweat so much that it’ll be near impossible to perform postures without a towel laid over your mat. Consider investing in a special hot yoga towel made from microfiber – they are thicker and more absorbent than other types of towels. Also, it helps to bring a hand towel to mop your sweaty brow and hands to make the poses more manageable.

Don’t eat before class

The intensity of the heat coupled with demanding postures will have you feeling nauseous within the first few minutes of your first hot yoga class. Not eating for two or three hours before class can greatly reduce the feeling of nausea. If you find it hard to control your cravings, keep it simple and munch on a very light snack like fruits or crackers.

Wear the right clothing

There’s no need to buy expensive outfits to impress the people you’re in class with. You’ll be drenched in sweat, and we recommend tight-fitting clothes such as leggings, tight shirts and tank tops for optimum results. Some prefer longer leggings for a better grip when performing certain poses, while others would rather wear as little as possible to keep themselves cool. There’s no fixed formula when choosing your yoga wear, but keep in mind that supportive and breathable clothing is key.

Be prepared to stay in the room

The one challenge you must overcome on your first hot yoga class is resisting the urge to leave the hot room. It will take time for your body to acclimate to the heat so try not to rush to the exit when you feel like you’ve had enough. Instead, allow your body to cool down by spending a few moments to lie down on the floor or taking a short break with a child’s pose – you can join the rest of the class again when you’re ready.

Your first few classes may seem strange or feel uncomfortable, but it’s all part of the new experience. When your body adapts to working out in the heat, you’ll leave the class feeling fantastic and full of energy every time!

Want to learn how hot yoga can improve your health and wellbeing? Get in touch with our yoga instructors today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.