Say Yes to Yoga

I do yoga almost every day.

I’m convinced that these 50 minutes of Zen prevent panic attacks, muscle stiffness, irritability and other symptoms I generally associate with family reunions. Something about communicating with my body and pushing myself without pain makes me feel like life may not actually be so hard.

Thanks to the lovely folks at Forbes, I now have the science to understand why. Yoga has virtually infinite impact on a practitioner’s physiology. It impacts the body’s regulation of cortisol, endorphins and serotonin—all those nifty chemicals in your brain that can either make you happy or screw you over completely.

I’m for the first option. Practicing yoga regularly changes the body’s sympathetic nervous system  (this is the system in charge of our stress response). Because of whacked out modern schedules that often tamper with our bodies’ natural rhythms, the stress response can stay in the “on” position for hours at a time. Yoga helps your body realizes that there is still peace to be found. It can also keep the parasympathetic nervous system in tip-top shape, which means that your body will absorb nutrients better, eliminate more toxins and improve circulation.

And thus Western science proves what Eastern medicine has known for thousands of years. Do yourself a favor. Do some yoga.

If you are so inspired, consider running a free yoga clinic for battered women and children in your area. I did this several years ago and the results were life-changing for me as well as the participants. For people who have experienced far too much stress and pain to even comprehend, yoga can provide a physical, mental and emotional healing unsurpassed even by medicine and counseling. Give peace by putting the restorative power of yoga in someone’s own hands.

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2011/06/16/penetrating-postures-the-science-of-yoga/

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Inspiration from the Breadbasket

Two days ago I was privileged to take part in my first-ever Twitter chat with the lovely Kathryn Budig. Originally from my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, Kathryn has transformed her passion for yoga into a career that encompasses the world. She’s hosted yoga retreats and workshops from Florida to New Zealand, and recently put out an “Aim True” yoga DVD with giant fitness retailer Gaiam.

In partnership with ZICO coconut water (which, alas, I have never tried), Kathryn talked with fans and fellow practitioners for an hour.  Mostly I was just stoked to have an actual almost-real-life conversation with one of my idols. Kathryn, it must be said, is the rock star of the yoga world. And she’s from Kansas! KANSAS!

Throughout the chat, she answered questions ranging from technical yoga advice to the spiritual side of one’s practice. I started to realize what a fabulous marketing opportunity this was for ZICO—associating themselves with someone like Kathryn and making her accessible to thousands of fans, driving all of these potential customers to ZICO’s Twitter page—that is some serious public relations. ZICO’s brand was completely unknown to me prior to this encounter. By the end of the chat, I found myself looking up the flavors of coconut water they offered,  the nutritional content and where I could purchase the beverage. I have yet to actually try the stuff, but if Kathryn Budig likes it…

In all seriousness, it was an amazing experience to ask personal questions of someone I admire so deeply and receive instant direct responses. I have a newfound respect for Twitter as a mechanism for bringing people together, publicly and professionally, who would otherwise never have the opportunity to learn from each other and exchange information.

Kathryn really is doing some pretty cool things. If you think you might be even remotely interested in yoga, check out her website at www.kathrynbudig.com. I’ve never seen this austere and esoteric discipline made so accessible. She’s garnered quite the global following, and rightly so.

Pretty impressive for a girl from the little town of Lawrence.