If yoga helps anyone the most, it certainly is women. In reality, yoga is not gender specific. Yoga is for men, women and children, the sick as well as the healthy. Certain poses and postures are known to relieve stress, especially brought about due to hormonal changes in women, adolescence, young women, pregnant women, lactating mothers, women undergoing menopause, older women and so on.
Today, health- and figure-conscious women all over the world practice yoga. Madonna is a classic example. She has proudly declared the benefits she has accrued through yoga.
Women resort to yoga not only for health reasons or to maintain a proportionate body weight, but also for cosmetic reasons. It is a proven fact that women who practice yoga regularly have a better complexion, shiny hair and sparkling eyes. Yoga is a beneficial for one’s body as it is beneficial for one’s spirit. Practicing yoga and meditation regularly facilitates integration of mind and body. Women who practice yoga are reportedly self-contained, poised, have a high tolerance level, are better focused and are flexible physically and mentally.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
As mentioned, yoga is useful to women of all ages. With a rich diet having replaced a well-balanced one and obesity being the norm even at an early age, yoga is the panacea for all ills. Even young girls as young as five can be trained in some basic yogic postures. Another malady that affects young children is hyperactivity, although it is more common among boys. With no outlet to expend their energies, young children become restless too soon. Here yoga training assists their bodies to expend extra energy and enables them to focus. It also enables flexibility, making young girls nimble and their minds agile. Such girls grow to be more confident and self-reliant.
Preadolescence and adolescence comes along with its own challenges. Yoga at this stage definitely lends grace to the body, erasing the awkwardness in gait. Correct posture is also an important aspect to yoga. Different postures facilitate blood circulation, rendering a luster to the skin and hair.
Yoga undoubtedly is known to help women with an irregular menstrual cycle and those experiencing a heavy flow. Yoga is also known to relieve lower back pain that occurs during or before a menstrual cycle begins. Some yogic postures are meant to prevent muscle cramps and abdominal cramps and women prone to experiencing PMS have also reported to be calmer.
The following yogasana is known to alleviate cramps: Trikonasana (the “Triangle Pose”)
Stand with your feet at least three feet apart. One can also sit and practice this. Rotate only the feet at a 90-degree angle both towards the outside as well as the inside. Now inhale and stretch both hands with palms facing upwards. Reach out with your right arm and bend to touch your right foot. Your left hand will automatically be raised towards the ceiling. Then, stretch your left arm to touch your left leg, automatically raising your right hand upwards. Hold still.
This tones the muscles of the arms and legs, improves flexibility and promotes slow breathing.
Paschimottanasana or “Two Legged Forward Bend”:
Sit down with both legs stretched and flex toes towards you. Inhale and raise your hands upwards. Exhale and move your hips to touch the feet. Try to hold your toes with your hands. If this is not possible, just stretch your arms to where they reach. Bend your head and breathe for a minute. Look up, inhale and return to the normal position.
Women in a relationship cope with different kinds of stress levels and hormonal imbalances. Women on birth control pills have to face a few challenges. Here, yoga comes to the rescue. During middle-age, women experience a lot of upheaval including the demands of a job, juggling career and family, as well as pregnancy. Many women also experience inadequacies of sorts. Regular practice of yoga helps a woman focus and aids in rhythmic breathing.
Yoga masters advocate the Asthanga yoga for pregnant women. This again regulates digestion and prevents heart burn that is common during pregnancy. Practicing yoga regularly, of course under the supervision of an experienced guru, eases delivery, thereby easing pain. Some asanas (postures) are known to open the cervis, thus facilitating quick delivery.
Postnatal yoga is also quite popular among women who want to lose weight and shed extra weight from their bellies. It is especially advantageous to women who experience arthritis and hormonal imbalance during menopause.
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