Get your yoga high on: Three reasons it's great for your body and mind

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There’s really only one way to get your blood pumping, your heart thumping and your adrenaline rushing: Exercise.

Depending on the kind you love, you’re bound to experience a “high” when you do it — runners’ highs and yoga highs are often all the chatter, and that’s for good reason. When you participate in an activity that increases your blood flow, you’re delivering all-important oxygen to your cells and endorphins to your brain, and that makes you feel GOOD.

And while any form of exercise is good for you (read: it’s OK to do all that dancing in the kitchen), there’s a holistic thing about yoga that we really dig. Yoga fulfills all five principles of what’s called the SPIRE model — a philosophy that teaches in order to be happy, healthy people, we need to pay attention to the Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational and Emotional aspects of our lives. That’s when you get a true high — high on life, high on positive vibes. Who doesn’t want some of that?

Some other reasons you need yoga in your life:

A stronger body

There is no doubting the benefits of yoga practice to your body. Improved flexibility, toned muscles and stronger bones are just a few. Those suffering from chronic back and neck pain will see a huge difference in pain levels and mood with a yoga routine. And for those of you looking for a positive change in your regular lab work at the doctor’s office, you’ll get that too — studies show yoga decreases blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

A stronger mind

You may be looking for an exercise high because you’ve been feeling a bit down, stressed or anxious. The reason you want to keep experiencing the high is because of how great it makes you feel. That’s the beauty of yoga — it can reduce those negative feelings that can translate into aches and pains in our body later. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that yoga is superior to other forms of exercise because of this effect. They studied two groups of people for 12 weeks — one group that practiced yoga three times a week for one hour, and another that walked the same amount of time. People who practiced yoga showed an increase in brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels — low levels are associated with depression and anxiety disorders.

Just 20 minutes of yoga can also improve your brain’s ability to focus and process information, a huge plus for your performance at work.

Stronger self-image

Because yoga focuses on controlled breathing and mental strength, it takes the focus off of physical appearance and can develop stronger inner awareness. Surveys show people who practice yoga often feel more satisfied and less critical of their bodies. At a time when media messages can be so influential on how a person views themselves, activities that build self-esteem and promote positive body image are so important.

You want to hit that yoga mat in a comfy, inspirational tee, don’t ya? Check out some of these that are sure to give you all the positive vibes during your practice.

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