5 – Top Summer Time Benefits of Yoga by Linda Prosché

By now, you are all too familiar with the overall benefits of a consistent yoga practice for your health and well being. But did you know there are specific benefits to a regular practice during the summer months?

It can be easy to get distracted from your own self-care when the kids are home and/or summer vacation starts. Don’t let these longer days and warmer nights pull you on to the pavement and parades instead of into Yoga Mountain Studio and on to your mat!>

The garden view is absolutely beautiful and our newly expanded redwood deck is the perfect place to stretch out on your mat while waiting for the class to begin. Plus, when it is hot outside, it is cool inside and practicing through the summer can offer you these Top 5 additional benefits:

1. Body Beautiful – Inner Awareness of your own uniqueness

Yoga develops inner awareness. By staying on the mat and out of your head, you can focus your attention on your abilities right in the present moment and this helps develop breath and strength of mind and body. It’s not about physical appearance or if you can fit into last summer’s’ bathing suit. Remembering this and staying focused on what is really important may make your time at the beach even more enjoyable.

Yoga Mountain Studio does not have mirrors. This is so people can focus their awareness inward rather than how a pose — or the people around them — look. Surveys have found that in general, those who practiced yoga were more satisfied with and less critical of their bodies. For these reasons, yoga has become an integral part in the treatment of eating disorders and programs that promote positive body image and self-esteem.

2. Becoming Mindful, without judgment, even when you eat!

Practicing yoga has been shown to increase mindfulness not just in class, but in other areas of a person’s life, including eating. Whether it is a juicy watermelon, a nice crisp salad or your favorite ice cream at Fairfax Scoop, keep your mind on your tastebuds!

Here is an excerpt from one interesting questionnaire that researchers have used to measure mindful eating using these 4 behaviors and unscientific labels:

  • Eating even when full (disinhibition food impulse)
  • Being aware of how food looks, tastes and smells ( sense-ational gastronomy )
  • Eating when sad or stressed (mood swing eating)
  • Eating when distracted by other things ( shiny object disorder)

The researchers found that people who practiced yoga were more mindful eaters according to their scores. Both years of yoga practice and the number of minutes of practice per week were associated with better mindful eating scores.

3. Losing weight and maintaining weight loss

More research has found that people who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight around the middle, during mid-life. At Yoga Mountain Studio, we would say this a little differently.  

“With just three classes a week, you will notice a redistribution of body mass
and even weight loss! 
And, with our membership package of unlimited classes
for only $109 a month, this could very well be the best weight loss method out there!”

Add to this statistic that the body naturally loses fluid during the summer, and when replenished, this flushes out additional unwanted toxins. There you have it! Yoga during the summer is a prescription for optimal health.  

4. Enhancing Fitness

Yoga is known for its ability to soothe tension and anxiety in the mind and body. But it can also have an impact on a person’s exercise capacity.

Researchers studied a small group of sedentary individuals who had not practiced yoga before. After eight weeks of practicing yoga at least twice a week for a total of 180 minutes, participants had greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness. That comes in handy for those extra round robin sets of tennis during the summer.

5. Happy Heart

Several other small studies have found yoga to have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors: It helped lower blood pressure in people who have hypertension. It’s likely that the yoga restores “baroreceptor sensitivity.” This helps the body sense imbalances in blood pressure and maintain balance. 

Another study found that practicing yoga improved lipid profiles in healthy patients as well as patients with known coronary artery disease. It also lowered excessive blood sugar levels in people with non-insulin dependent diabetes and reduced their need for medications. Yoga is now being included in many cardiac rehabilitation programs due to its cardiovascular and stress-relieving benefits.

So, with all this juicy information under your yoga belt, next time you get distracted by that shiny bike riding down the street to the next outdoor concert, keep your eyes focused on your path directly to Yoga Mountain Studio** For a full schedule of our summer classes please click here and remember, maintaining your practice over the summer ensures that come fall, you will be ready for the cooler weather with an open mind and a happy heart full of summer LOVE.

See you on the mat! Linda

Edited by Linda Prosché C-IAYT, E-RYT500.
Join her for summer WAKE UP yoga classes, Tuesday, Thursday 6:30-7:30 AM and Sunday Restorative/Therapeutic classes 6:15-7: 30 pm. Re-written with permission from the published original article, February 2015 The Yoga Alliance.
**Before you start a new exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor.
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