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Mind, Body, Spirit benefits of Yoga

Published:Thursday | June 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Malika Omawale
Malika Omawale improves her sense of balance in the firefly pose that can reduce stress and tension. It also strengthens the arm and wrists and stretches the inner groin and back.

In 2014, the United Nations declared June 21 as World Yoga Day. This ancient art is practised the world over in various forms and is revered for its physical and mental health benefits. In observance of the special day, we get an early start by introducing you to this ancient art.

Workout fads come and go, but one trend that is enduring is yoga. The art form has been practised for centuries, and is hailed as a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation. Yoga is not just about working out, it's about crafting a healthy lifestyle.

Credited with increasing flexibility and reducing stress, Malika Omawale, yoga instructor, nutrition health coach, and owner of Omawale Wellness Rhythms, told Flair that yoga works with the different organs in the body, while massaging and lubricating the joints. Omawale said yoga increases productivity at work, in your relationships, and with your spiritual self. It can also improve neurological function.




"There are so many health benefits of yoga that persons aren't aware of. It helps with immunity, relieves digestive disorders, and (slows the effects of) ageing. Yoga is good to learn from a young age, because it's a life skill. It makes you develop awareness of the body and become mindful of what you're doing in the moment. You'll make mindful choices of what you put into your body and learn to have boundaries which improve your health and wellness," Omawale stressed.

Omawale further explained that yoga means 'union', and perhaps its most important health benefit is that it reminds us that we are all connected to each other and the planet. It can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness even if it is practised alone. It also fosters a sense of belonging and connectivity when done in a community.

"I always aim to do yoga after or before my workouts. The times when I don't follow up with some yoga, I feel the soreness in my muscles more and chronic pains may arise. When I do yoga after sessions with my coach, the muscles get stretched, oxygenated and my body is ready for the next session sooner than if I hadn't," she shared.