SUP Yoga The Yoga Loft at eXtreme Hotel

SUP Yoga

Caribbean Yoga Holiday Cabarete Beach
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how to practice mindfulness

How to practice mindfulness

Yoga Mental Health Cabarete Yoga Loft

Yoga and Mental Health

Yoga Mental Health Cabarete Yoga Loft

How Yoga Helps You Overcome Hardship

It’s common knowledge physical activity can help on all sorts of levels – it releases stress, builds muscle, helps your metabolism and boosts self-confidence. But how does Yoga help you on a more emotional and mental health level? What benefits does a regular practice bring you in relation to the struggles and hardships you may face in life?

  • Reduces stress and anxiety – Practicing yoga regularly (3 times a week) has been proven to elevate GABA (Aminobutyric Acid) levels in the brain which helps you relax, improves mood and lowers anxiety.
  • Helps Fight Depression – Depression is quickly on the rise in today’s society and the drug companies know. It seems every third commercial is for the latest miracle drug to elevate your mood, the new antidepressant to make everything better.  But medications come with side effects, so turn to all natural yoga instead! Regular yoga practice increases BDNF, serotonin and cortisol levels in the brain – which all act as your body’s natural antidepressants, while decreasing the monoamine oxidase enzyme, which breaks down neurotransmitters.
  • Brain Health – Yoga elevates levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a protein that acts as a natural antidepressant and a major factor in overall brain health. Practicing INTENSE YOGA regularly will raise your BDNF levels which helps fight Alzheimer’s, advanced aging, depression and schizophrenia along with other neurotransmitter dysfunctions.
  • Helps with Psychiatric and Anger/Impulse Control Disorders – A large part of yoga practice is meditation, breathing, listening to your body. Meditation helps lower tension and hostility; and lowers blood pressure when angry. This ability to slow down and focus helps you gain perspective when feeling frustration, anger, regret or rage.
  • Helps Insomnia – a Harvard study showed that 8 weeks of daily yoga practice significantly improves sleep habits for people with insomnia.  Getting enough sleep will help in your overall ability to deal with the hurdles life can through at you.
  • Protects Against Brain Aging – helps keep the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions and relaxation active, improves memory and concentration.  Raised GABA and BDNF levels both considerably help keep the brain young and healthy!
  • Helps Self-Esteem – Yoga encourages acceptance and self-care. Loving yourself and being comfortable in your own body can have huge positive effects on all aspects of your life. The more you practice, the better you’ll feel.

These are a few of the ways yoga helps with mental health, there are dozens more benefits to a regular yoga practice, physically, physiological and psychological.  Yoga has been around for centuries, a holistic method of self-healing and self-awareness. Not only will you benefit mentally but you’ll be amazed at the physical transformation you will go through as well, so what are you waiting for? Start practising today you beautiful yogi you and come to one of our Yoga Retreats!

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yoga inversion pose

10 Reasons to Try an Inversion Pose

yoga inversion pose

At the Yoga Loft in Cabarete, our amazing instructors will often lovingly encourage you to try an inversion pose. An inversion is most generally categorized as any asana in which the head is below the heart. There are many variations to try- you can chill out with your legs up the wall, or go big and kick up into a handstand. No matter your level of practice, the simple truth is inversion poses are amazing for your whole body.

Here are some of the reasons why:

They are Energizing:

Heating inversions such as handstand, headstand, and forearm balance work your muscles, big and small, which gets your blood moving, resulting in physical invigoration and mental revitalization!

And Relaxing:

Cooling inversions like shoulder stand & legs up the wall activate the parasympathetic nervous system, soothing your body and mind, producing feelings of balance and calm.

Improve circulation:

Inversions let gravity provide the brain with more oxygen and blood, improving concentration, memory, and processing abilities. This is part of why they are called the fountain of youth!

Increase immunity and prevent illness:
The lymphatic system is key to keeping the body healthy. As lymph moves through the body it picks up toxins and bacteria to be eliminated by the lymph nodes. Lymph fluid only moves as a result of muscle contractions and gravity, so getting upside down allows toxins to more easily travel back to key node areas to be eliminated.

Improve balance:
Once balancing in one legged poses has been mastered, the obvious next step is finding equanimity on hands and head! Inversions trigger small muscles which will help stabilize you in everyday tasks as well.

Increase muscle strength:

Shoulders, arms and core all get a workout from these stabilizing poses—and the difference improves your form in all poses over time.

Build confidence:

When you first see someone kick up into a handstand and find that beautiful place of balance, you may be feeling a twinge of envy and having “I could never do that” thoughts. As you practice challenging yourself through these upside down poses, you’ll build confidence to conquer other things you thought at first to be impossible!

Gain patience:
Before we finally “get it”, those many attempts to gain upside down postures remind us of how much more we have to learn, and how truly it is about the journey, not simply the destination. Going easy on yourself can be the make or break between giving up and going forward.

Give a new perspective:
Yoga gently encourages us to move away from any unconscious habitual patterns, and the invitation to invert is simply another way by which to shake things up. They teach us through metaphor that there is always another way to approach the situation/person/problem. Seeing life in a different way can enforce in your mind what a gift it really is!

Increase playfulness:
They are fun! We are reintroduced to our inner child and reminded that while yoga is a contemplative endeavor in many ways, the asana practice is also a time to be playful and light hearted! Life becomes easier when we stop taking ourselves so seriously!

Like all things in life, the suggestion to get upside down is not for everyone. There are certain contraindications that should be observed so as not to cause or exacerbate previous injuries or illnesses: unmedicated high blood pressure, some heart conditions, neck injuries, recent stroke, detached retina, glaucoma, and epilepsy are common issues that should be addressed before inverting. Talk with your doctor and teacher if you are unsure about your status. Above all, as always, listen to your body first.

Namaste