Happy National Yoga Awareness Month
September is National Yoga Awareness Month, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about how yoga can help you manage both the physical and mental stress of chronic illness. And once you know the facts, consider signing up for a class or looking up some beginners’ poses online.
The Benefits of Yoga for Chronic Illness
While yoga has many physical benefits — including increased strength, flexibility and coordination, better body awareness, and increased immune system function — many of most powerful benefits for those suffering from chronic illness are psychological.
People suffering from chronic disease who have a regular yoga practice report lower levels of stress, higher quality of life, and less fatigue. Those reports are backed up by studies reporting lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Yoga is Accessible at Any Level
One of the great things about yoga is that it’s accessible for almost everyone. Even if you’re wheelchair bound, you can try Chair Yoga.
Depending on your current level of mobility and fitness, there are many different styles of yoga to choose from. Beginners can try a short gentle yoga sequence, while those looking for a true challenge (with the approval of your doctor) can attempt bikram or hot yoga.
Classes are a great option, but there are also plenty of videos online (youtube is a good resource) not to mention a bevy of DVD options.
If you already know your yoga poses pretty well, you can even build your own yoga sequences based on what you’re trying to accomplish.