The only thing I may like better than yoga pants is, well, yoga. I mean, it’s the only form of exercise where I’m tasked with imitating downward facing dogs and elephants’ trunks—and, I get to wear comfy, cozy yoga pants while doing it.
I’m not the only one who enjoys mimicking cobras, cows and cats for a good stretch. My BFF Gary Allen loves yoga too. How do I know? Well, I saw him striking a very nice dolphin pose in a hot yoga class I was also taking. (As far as the besties thing, that may be a bit of a stretch. The truth is, he doesn’t really even know I exist. But whether he knows it or not, we did take a yoga class together. And we both had a great time. Good enough for me.)
Gary isn’t the only celeb who credits yoga for his hot bod. Jennifer Anniston, Lebron James, Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey are all known to get strong like bulls while striking their best camel and eagle poses.
If animal postures, hot bods and celebrity endorsements don’t get your tail wagging, I’ll take a different route to convince you that yoga is the cat’s meow—we’ll look at the research. These scientific findings prove that yoga will keep you healthy as a horse in three main ways:
Improves Sleep. A Harvard study concludes that 8 weeks of yoga significantly improved insomniacs’ sleep quality. And, twice-weekly sessions helped cancer survivors sleep better and feel less fatigued. Experts say yoga’s anxiety busting benefits, like deep breathing and mental exercises, help alleviate sleeping troubles—which are typically rooted in anxiety.
Boosts immunity. A recent Norwegian study found that yoga boosts your immunity at a cellular level—it actually alters your gene expression. Yoga experts say it’s because yoga focuses on proper and deep breathing. When you breath better, your circulation is better. When your circulation is better, your organs function better and—voila—your immunity improves.
Fights headaches and tension. In another recent study, researches found that after migraine sufferers engaged in just 3 months of consistent yoga practice, they reported fewer and less painful migraines. How can that be? Well, yoga is the antidote to many of the alignment-damaging, headache-causing positions we put ourselves in throughout the day—i.e. wedging a phone between our shoulder and head or hunching over our computer screens. These movements tighten our necks, which pull our heads forward, create muscle imbalances and can spur headaches. Yoga’s animal-mimicking stretches can ease neck muscle tension and help realign your muscles. Pain diminished.
If you’re ready to feel like a spring chicken, don’t miss these upcoming Gallatin yoga opportunities:
- Yoga in the Park (it’s this year’s last one)—Saturday, Sept. 13 7:30-9a.m. at Triple Creek Park’s event pavilion. It’s free to Gallatin Civic Center members and $3 to non-members.
- Gallatin Civic Center group fitness yoga classes—Monday-Thursday, morning and evening classes available. Check gallatinls.com for GCC schedule.
Originally published in the Tennessean Examiner.