Yoga has many benefits for body and mind. Using yoga for stress relief is particularly effective because yoga combines breathing exercises with physical exercise and meditation practices.
The slow relaxed breathing used in yoga helps to regulate your autonomic nervous system which calms your whole being. Physical exercise reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol circulating in your blood. And meditation is renowned for its profound relaxing effects.
For these reasons, using yoga for stress relief allows you to achieve relaxation on many levels. Yoga is also an ideal form of exercise for people of all ages, making it an ideal family relaxation activity. Children are brilliant at yoga because they are so flexible. The only poses that give them trouble are the balances. My daughter loves the yoga classes we do together.
Moms and dads will find yoga fun to do together. Grandparents also get great benefits from yoga because it is so gentle and you can do it whatever your level of flexibility or fitness. Don't let that fool you, however. When you have done a yoga session you really feel like you've done a proper exercise session. It is surprisingly rigorous however gentle it may appear!
There are many different forms of yoga that you can try, some of which are more active than others. Iyengar yoga, for instance, requires the holding of poses for a minute or more. On the other hand, in Ashtanga yoga you usually move continually from one pose to another without a pause in between.
If you want to do yoga as a family you can sometimes find a yoga teacher who will do a class at your home for all of you. This can be just as cheap, if not cheaper, than finding a class to go to.
If you would prefer to go to a class then you can often find a good teacher through your local library or leisure centre.
If you are new to yoga, I would recommend at least having a few lessons with an experienced teacher. A teacher can help you to become aware of which parts of your body need concentrating on and can also tailor yoga exercises, breathing, guided visualisations and meditation to suit you and members of your family.
Once you become familiar with yoga, you can practice on your own at home using a good DVD program. Look on
for some free yoga video downloads that give you some exercises to try
out, a 10 minute relaxation session, and other good stuff.
Also try my store for some great yoga products, including kids yoga DVDs, a wide range of books, equipment and relaxing music to do yoga to.