With winter approaching, people are digging through their closets to find wool sweaters, taking in their patio furniture, and tuning up their cars, preparing to drive a mile an hour at the first sight of snow. Because winter is a time when weather gets colder, having good circulation can mean the difference between freezing extremities, and extremities surrounded by warmth. And, along these lines, it can mean the difference between a ridiculous heating bill, and one you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to pay.
But, going beyond warm feet and hands, good circulation is essential to good health and Yoga is a great way to enhance your circulatory system, improving the flow of blood and nutrients to your organs, your limbs, and your mind.
The human circulatory system is sort of like a subway system for the body, transporting substances to and from cells. Because so many things can cause this system to derail – stress, high blood pressure, illness – yoga plays an important role in keeping it on track.
Involving a great amount of learning about the importance of every breath a person takes, yoga goes beyond the simple process of inhaling and exhaling. It teaches people how to breathe properly, making sure their bodies get the most out of every breath taken. This type of proper breathing relaxes the skeletal muscles, allowing blood to reach its destinations of the reproductive, glandular, immune, and digestive systems, providing each system with nutrients in the process.
From a more biological perspective, the proper breathing taught during yoga supplies the body with the right amount of oxygen, making sure every cell in the body is armed with the ability to function properly. This, in turn, also allows the body to rid itself of harmful gasses, particularly carbon dioxide. And, because disease has a hard time surviving in a body that is well oxygenated, breathing helps keep people physically well. If the body is void of a proper amount of oxygen, cells can not metabolize correctly, wasting the nutrients, vitamins and minerals on which the human body feeds, and disease and destruction are ultimately facilitated.
Yoga, because it teaches people to live in the moment and focus on conscious relaxation, also decreases stress levels, stress levels that can cause the body to tense, restricting circulation in the process. It frees the mind, allowing the body to follow.
Yoga also frees the mind and body through Mindfulness. A practice where a person focuses on his or her thoughts in the present moment, Mindfulness is based on conscious breathing and consciousness of the present, rather than worries of the past or future. In sum, Mindfulness is a specific method of paying attention, teaching people to look deeply inside themselves to achieve self-understanding and self-healing. It provides the body with a spiritual form of circulation.
Yoga won’t prevent all disease, or guarantee that each system of the body functions properly forever. But, by maintaining proper circulation, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, Yoga makes it harder for illness and destruction to get your body off track: when a system is going full speed ahead, it’s harder to derail.
TWISTED is a medical yoga studio at the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to teach optimal balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. It aims to educate and help people to live a healthy life – from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer a comprehensive treatment regime for the whole being. Empowering each person, one breath at a time, to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.
Jennifer Jordan is senior editor of http://www.yogatwisted.com. Specializing in articles that not only teach yoga techniques, but also teach techniques on fulfillment and enrichment, she aims to educate students proudly enrolled in the school of life.