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womans health | Bikram Yoga North Brisbane

Bikram Yoga Helps Improve Bone Mineral Density

In our last post, we looked at how Bikram Yoga (BY) helps with physical fitness. This week, we will discuss how BY improve bone mineral density, which is important all through out our lives, but especially as we age.

Maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) reflects the strength of bones, and is important in reducing instances of osteoporosis and falls-related fractures. Healthy lifestyle choices such as nutrition, regular exercise – especially resistance training, and impact based activities, help minimize BMD loss and reduce the risk of fractures later in life.

Yoga can be an excellent tool in helping maintain peak bone mass and slow down bone loss. We know some of the main components of the BY practice is balance, flexibility, lubrication of joints, increased range of motion, spinal alignment and a significant improvement in lower-limb strength. It’s also a weight-bearing exercise, where students use their own body weight to create resistance in the postures and torque on the bones to build bone density, much in the same way you build muscle strength (through Wolffs Law). Bones get stronger and stay strong when they are called upon to do more. Given all of this, your yoga practice helps keep you more stable and sturdy, helps reduce the risk of falls and fractures, and helps maintain BMD, especially for those who cannot engage in high-impact or more dynamic activity such as running.

A study in 2010, “Bikram Yoga as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss in Women“, clearly shows this link between BY and a higher BMD – saying that BY practitioners had above average bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, hip and in total body scores. Even more impressive, each of the subjects had a total body calcium Z-score one standard deviation above the norm for their age and ethnic cohort. Please click on the highlighted title to read the article yourself.

If you have a story you’d like to share on how BY has helped with your own body, we’d love to hear, and if possible, feature you in our newsletter or on social media! Please talk to Sherry at reception, or send your story to info@bikramyoganorthbrisbane.com.au . You can follow us on Instagram @bikrambrisbane

5 Ways Yoga Transforms a Woman into a Goddess

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Deep down, we all feel that we are goddesses in our own way.

Sometimes we take breaks from our yoga practice –  change of city or job, getting married and next a baby, lots of things to adapt to – yet there is a sense of missing something. 

I believe that each of us carries the powers of Athena (Greek Goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature) and Rati (Hindu Goddess of love, lust and sensuality) locked away in all those beautifully strong and feminine parts of ourselves. Nowadays, we are so quick to forget this as we go through our lives, worrying about groceries, money and rushing to work and caring for others.

When we take the time to come to our mats, a lot can happen in those short moments of solitude and practice. Yoga is so much more than just the postures themselves. It is a powerful and subtle practice that can change our whole perspective on the world.

“When we feel pain, fear or discontent with our self, we feel separated from our self and from our own body, we feel disconnected. In yoga, we’re uncovering what exists inside of us and we learn to see that what’s there is already whole and complete.”

The identification with wholeness and completion that yoga heralds is not only a result of connection to breath and movement of the body, but it dates back to Vedic philosophy and the foundations of yoga. The ancient Sanskrit mantra “Sohum,” or “I am that,” is the affirmation that the individual self can identify with the essence of the universe. The yoga practice brings us closer to this notion and thereby rewires our own perceptions of fear: It’s about becoming aware of our patterns and reworking them.

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In Sanskrit the word yoga means “to yoke”, to join the small individual self with the divine Self. The premise being that each of us is already divine in our own right, having forgotten this through our identification with our body and individuality.

The more attached we become to our lives, our “can’s” and our “can’ts”, the easier it is forget that we are actually all divine beings capable of anything. For most of us, it is only in those rare moments when we really watch our breath or move into a pose that we thought we couldn’t do that we catch a glimpse of her, that goddess that resides within.

Over time those rare glimpses will become more frequent. Over time your yoga practice will make you into even more of a goddess than you ever thought possible.

Here are 5 ways that your yoga practice makes you into a goddess:

1. It creates confidence.

We all started out in the same point: a regular yoga mat, black leggings and an old T-shirt, wondering why we have to pose like a rabbit and why we are the only ones in the class confused when the teacher started speaking in the ‘Yoga language’.

That is where the beautiful journey usually begins…And over time as you start to feel more physical strength, flexibility and balance in the body, more clarity and determination in the mind, and more light and love in your heart… you realise you can take on the world and you’re more ready to try. Confidence continually builds from the inside out.

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2. It makes you more beautiful.

It’s one thing to look fabulous, but the real beauty comes from the inside, from your energy.

All yoga practices, whether they are based in asana (poses), pranayama (breath) or meditation, teach us something about ourselves. The practice is an avenue towards self-awareness, and true self-awareness is one of the most gorgeous things you can drape onto your body.

When we practice, we can tap into our feminine energies, our masculine energies and our divine light. We can listen to ourselves more fully and appreciate that there is beauty in even our most disliked “flaws” and imperfections.

3. It allows you to drop your labels.

The world has become very tough when it comes to labeling.

Society has no shortage of labels to put on us, and we carry the weight of those labels along with us each day. Just think about how many of these labels have been applied to you: sister, mother, wife, daughter, playful, stoic, selfish, caring, fat, skinny, weak, strong, sexy, tired, bitchy, confident, overactive, shy, cute, … we could go on for pages.

When we take the time to step on our mats, we allow ourselves to leave those labels at the door. We create a safe space for that time, and we tap into that part of ourselves that is divine and unchanging, the part of ourselves that is always beautiful, confident and capable no matter what the world is telling us.

4. It gives you that “glow”.  

Yes, sometimes that glow is most obviously felt as it drips off your chin in second set triangle, but that is not the glow I mean here. I am talking about that “wow” factor, that energy that precedes you as you walk into a room. It is that unidentifiable element that causes people to turn their heads, to smile at you or to listen more intently to what you have to say.

If you been to a great yoga class or been truly inspired by a great speaker, you know what I mean. It is that moment when you’re perfectly balanced and peaceful, ready for anything the world can throw at you. You are confident and beautifully full. At that moment you are unmovable and the goddess within shines forth a light that is intoxicating.

 

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5. It inspires you to sing, dance and move your body.

It has happened to all of us. You’re walking down the footpath, washing dishes or cooking and realize you’re humming. This is a continuation of the ‘energetic melody’ you created in the yoga class – the movement or transformation of dull energy to fresh, continuing to pulse through you.

These positive vibrations feel like joy and bliss in your body! Every goddess is joyful and enjoys immeasurable moments of bliss – sure Durga (Hindu Goddess of motherhood and creation) may find her joy in different ways than Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, beauty and pleasure), but they live fully, embracing those parts of themselves that are the strongest and most awe-inspiring.

 

Keep up the practice. Trust in yourself and remember that each of those goddesses already resides within you too.

 

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namaste

 

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