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Yoga Firms The Body

by Sam Dworkis

Approaching middle age and beyond, we complain about losing our youth, vitality, and our firm and youthful-looking bodies. As we age, skin loses its resilience and begins to wrinkle and sag. Before we know it, our face is affected; excess skin gathers around our bellies and on the backsides of our arms. It reminds us that if we don’t do something soon, we’ll look much older than we feel.

Although cosmetic surgery can restore our youthful appearance, it cannot reverse again. We might look better, but it doesn’t improve health. An argument can be made that improved appearance makes us “feel” better, but looking good is; well, only an illusion of good health. There is no substitute for actually being healthy.

Loss of body tone is a natural phenomenon of again and goes beyond making us look older. It impedes circulation and contributes to ill health. There are many ways to counter the loss of body tone and improve circulation. Most involve physical activities; such as running, jogging, racquet sports, swimming, gym workouts, and so on. All are effective, yet not everyone wants to be outside during inclement weather or have gym or swimming pool access.

A principal impediment to maintaining a disciplined exercise program is that the older we become, the more difficult is to maintain a regular workout. The body resists and there is never enough time. It always seems like more we need to exercise, the harder it is. Yet in order for exercise to be effective, consistency over time is required.

When time is limited, we usually focus on one or two activities and tend to “just do it” without an appropriate warm-up or cool-down. In a best-case scenario, “just doing it” leads to boredom and a worse case scenario leads to injury. Although cross training is essential for maximizing physical health, we don’t make time for engaging in multiple sporting activities much less take time for effective warming-up, and cooling-down. This is when yoga becomes so advantageous.

Not only is yoga a fabulous cross training tool for virtually all sports, it is in itself, a total fitness package encompassing hundreds of different exercises, both aerobic and non-aerobic. Yet yoga goes well beyond athletics. Through its controlled and precise breathing; and through its strengthening, stretching, and endurance building exercises, your entire body is toned. Circulation is stimulated and the mind relaxes.

Yoga especially affects fascia, which is the “bag that holds your body together.” Fascia totally permeates your entire body. It encapsulates everything; muscles, organs, glands, nerves, and it is also the “fabric” that lies directly under your skin. When fascia loses resilience through again, it contributes to sagging skin.

An appropriate yoga practice therefore helps restore and maintain elasticity of fascia and improves overall circulation - these mechanisms are further explored in my website, www.extensionyoga.com Therefore, when the fascia directly under your skin becomes more resilient, your overlying skin responds and likewise, appears more vibrant.

 

About the Author

Sam Dworkis is author of ExTension (Simon & Schuster 1994) and Recovery Yoga (Random House 1998). He instructs individuals and small groups in Wellington, Florida, conducts yoga trainings nationwide, and may be reached through his educational website, www.extensionyoga.com

 

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The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Should you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering any natural remedy.

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