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Yoga Helps You Stay Young Longer

Ana Paula Pieck
by: Ana Paula Pieck
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Yoga Helps You Stay Young Longer

As we age, joints and muscles stiffen if they are not worked on. The mind is also susceptible to falling into rigid, old patterns as life’s routines repeat. When exercises like yoga restore youthful strength and range of motion, does the process bring new life to us in other ways? Keeping healthy is the best strategy to prevent illness and hold off the negative effects of aging. Osteoporosis and heart disease are just two examples of conditions prevented by the strengthening of muscles and the lower blood pressure that come with practicing the art of yoga. Yet, this technique was originally a religious practice. Using it to open the mind and spirit yields flexibility that goes beyond the body.

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Stress: a magnet for disease

In a very direct sense, our thoughts create the reality we live in. Stress is an adversary all of us fight, and tense thoughts very easily show up as headaches, clenched fists or setting our teeth to grinding. And these are just the immediate effects. When our negative thoughts become habits, the long-term consequences of chronic stress can include a compromised immune system, heart disease, and even cancer. Yoga is one of the best ways to shake negativity out of your system, because it addresses the whole person, in mind, spirit, and body.

A holistic approach 

The oldest forms of yoga go back more than 5,000 years to the Indus Valley civilization. About the second century AD, yoga was formalized into the discipline we know today. The objective was to cleanse the body and mind and prevent us from being limited by our physical existence. The word yoga shares the same Indo-European root as that for a yoke of oxen. It means a purposeful connection. The practice certainly lives up to this label in how spirit and body are linked. The consistent physical activity of yoga has been found to increase levels of the amino acid GABA, a key factor in averting a depression. And because of the low-impact nature of the motions, it is something that anyone can safely practice for a lifetime. 91-year-old Bernice Bates, known in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest yoga teacher is certainly living proof.
The distractions of our lives make it very easy to focus only on the material, letting our brains run away on autopilot. But through the millennia, yoga has shown people how to overcome this painful and limiting duality. The quiet focus that comes during and after a session lets us more freely choose how our minds shape the reality we live in.

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