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10 surprising yoga benefits

The benefits of yoga are well-known - but here are the health perks you may not know about and an exclusive Muddy 25% off your first booking so you can try a class

For those who practise yoga, the benefits are obvious: flexibility, mindfulness, relaxation and strength. But there’s so much more this ancient practice can offer, so we asked FLOW Tunbridge Wells studio and treatment room (winners of Best Yoga/Pilates Studio in Kent in the Muddy Awards 2018) about the lesser known benefits…

TOP 10 SURPRISING BENEFITS OF YOGA

1. Reduces blood pressure

Just last week it was reported that a new trial found yoga and breathing exercises can be as effective as some drugs at reducing blood pressure. A study suggested that just 15-minute sessions of yoga five times a week for three months cut blood pressure by an average 10 per cent.

2. Boosts immunity

New research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine suggests that regular yoga sessions can be a helpful way to boost your immune system and decrease inflammation in the body.

3. Back care

Exercise might help you look lean and toned on the outside but you want a strong skeleton too, right? New research shows that yoga is surprisingly protective when it comes to staving off fractures and helping to prevent osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that will cause approximately half of women age 50 and older to break a bone. Lucy Parker, Founder of FLOW, Tunbridge Wells says: ‘We sit around so much in the car, or at work, it’s no wonder our bodies feel tight, sore and stuck. Yoga begins with liberating the body, with freeing the joints and mobilising the muscles that support our bones. We all deserve a body that is strong and mobile, free from tension, pain and rigidity.’

The beautiful, boutique FLOW studio in Tunbridge Wells

4. Combats depression

Evidence just keeps stacking up that yoga is a boon for both physical and mental health conditions. Several studies have suggested that taking yoga classes twice a week may help ease depression, thanks in part to deep breathing. ‘Yoga gives you not just physical but also mental freedom,’ says Lucy. ‘Freedom from the restrictions, challenges and confines of everyday life.’

5. Improves memory and concentration

Just 20 minutes of yoga a day sharpens the mind, researchers say. The ancient practice was found to be more effective at boosting brain power than conventional aerobic exercise. Researchers in America discovered that a single session of Hatha yoga significantly improved a person’s speed and accuracy when tested on their working memory and concentration.

6. Increases fertility

In one of the largest controlled yoga studies to date, US experts found that just six weeks of the ancient practice dramatically lowered anxiety levels for women. Many studies have shown previously that staying relaxed helps couples to conceive while stress can reduce the chances of getting pregnant.

7. Helps you sleep better

Researchers from Harvard found that eight weeks of daily yoga significantly improved sleep quality for people with insomnia. So performing a sequence of pre-slumber asanas could be just what you need before you slip between the sheets.

8. Aids weight loss

There have been several studies into the connection between yoga and weight loss and it’s official: it works. Want to fight those pesky food cravings? Researchers from the University of Washington found that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating and this in turn made it a successful slimming tool.

9. Reminds us to be grateful. 

‘Yoga teaches us to see the world from a different perspective,’ says Lucy. ‘It can help you find the calmness of mind and the tool kit of tricks to keep mindful, patient and kind.’ Lucy continues: ‘I’d highly recommend reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams, and start to realise the awesome reality of your own freedom!’

10. Protects against brain ageing

Stretching and meditation are as effective at preventing dementia as brain training games a new study suggests. What’s more yoga it seems proved beneficial when it came to recalling locations, navigating and reducing anxiety.

EXCLUSIVE MUDDY 25% OFF YOGA CLASSES

Already a fan of yoga? Or thinking of taking it up and looking for a small, friendly beginners class? Then step (soon-to-be nimbly) this way! FLOW in Tunbridge Wells is offering Muddy readers an exclusive 25% off your FIRST purchase of any group class (whether that’s 1, 5, 10 or 15 classes!) FOR NEW CLIENTS ONLY booked by Sun 30 Sept 2018. Just quote ‘MUDDY25’ when you book! Call Lucy on 07976 439122 for more information and timings or BOOK HERE.

FLOW, 29 Woodbury Park Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9NQ

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