YOGA PROVEN TO HELP YOU RETAIN YOUR YOUTHFULNESS
by Sophie Collett
If there weren’t already a million reasons to do more yoga there is now scientific proof it can make you younger – or at least feel younger.
The scientific proof comes in the form of a recent study1 from University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. The study followed a group of older exercisers committed to two BODYBALANCE™new yoga classes per week, and a control group that continued their usual levels of physical activity. At the end of 12 weeks those who regularly got their zen on saw significant improvements in balance and gait speed.
‘‘ Gait speed is a great indicator of vitality as we age as it involves the coordination of many of the body’s systems. ’’
-Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research
The vitality-boosting benefits are not the only perk of BODYBALANCE. A further study from the United Kingdom’s Roehampton University proved that this combination of yoga, tai chi and Pilates can help reduce body fat, increase back strength, improve flexibility and ease anxiety2.
This highlights what yogis have known for decades – if you want youthful energy and vitality, bending and stretching is a great way to get it.
What are you waiting for?
Get started right now by giving these three key yoga poses a go.
Downward Dog Yoga Pose
The shape you ultimately want to achieve when you do the downward dog is an A-frame structure. Your wrists and your heels should be the lowest point, and your tailbone should be the highest point. Start with your feet as wide as the mat, or roughly hip-width apart. Your hands should be shoulder distance apart and your head should be between your arms. Push your hips up and back. Spread your fingers to create a nice long line from the fingertips up the arms, along the spine and down the legs. Breathe in to lift hips up and exhale as you ground heels down – hold the pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Warrior 2 Yoga Pose
Take your feet wide so your wrists are stacked over your ankles. Turn your toes on your left foot to the left wall. Your right foot should face the front and your aim is to square your hips to the front. Bend your right knee and make sure it is stacked over your ankle, keeping your left leg straight. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, and palms down. Suck your belly in tightly and tuck your tailbone under. Turn the head to the left and look out over your fingers. Inhale as you bend your front knee and exhale, bringing even weight into both legs. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
Modified Half Lotus Yoga Pose
From a seated position pick up one foot and cross it over the other placing the foot on the shin with a flexed foot to protect the ankle and knee. Make sure both hips are grounded in this pose. Take arms wide and draw your belly in towards the spine. Hinge from the hip and tip forward until you feel the stretch in the hip joints and glutes. Inhale to extend spine and exhale to come forward. Hold the pose for 5 to10 breaths.
Want more? BODYBALANCE is a fusion of yoga, tai chi and pilates that will improve your mind, body, and your life.
You can trial a free class at LES MILLS On Demand, our at home option that gives you the flexibility to exercise on your own time.
This piece originally appeared on lesmills.com.