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Yoga: Mind, Body and Soul


We've just launched a brand new range of fitness and wellbeing holidays as a natural extension of our dance programme, with dance-fitness workouts like Zumba and Masala Bhangra bridging the gap. Yoga shares many of the same health benefits as dance, promoting flexibility, suppleness, general wellbeing and relaxation for mind, body and soul. What's more, yoga and dance are naturally complimenting each other there is even a movement, "Shakti Dance" combining the two!

We know the fitness benefits of dance as an all over body workout but what are the real fitness and wellbeing benefits of yoga? Our Top Six are:

1. Flexibility
During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear.
2. Muscle strength
Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility.
3. Less stress
Even beginners tend to feel less stressed and more relaxed after their first class. Some yoga styles use specific meditation techniques to quiet the constant "mind chatter" that often underlies stress. Other yoga styles depend on deep breathing techniques to focus your mind on the breath. When this happens, your mind becomes calm.
3. Posture
Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems. As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back. This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine. Yoga improves posture.
4. Bone Zone
Weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like Downward and Upward Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures.
5. Circulation
Yoga gets your blood flowing. More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your hands and feet. Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result. It even boosts levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues.
6. Happy Hour
Apart from the obvious social benefits of taking a class, the art itself can make you happy. A recent study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels. Concentration and the ability to focus mentally are common benefits you'll hear yoga students talk about. The same is true with mood.
So apart from physical benefits yoga enhances wellbeing, mood and is a natural method for many dancers to maintain flexibility, suppleness and strenght.