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By Sean Van Staden


The benefits of yoga as a form of reducing stress in the family

Should yoga be a part of our daily routine?

It has been an interesting two weeks and my life feels a little chaotic and exciting at the same time. The pace at which I have been moving between people, projects, meetings and sorting out life’s “pop up surprises” is just exhausting. I have been meaning to stop and take stock, but it almost seems counterproductive. Why stop and smell the roses when the whole garden still needs watering. Well, that’s how I feel at this moment.

Why is it that people tend to take more action towards their health when the deadline is tight, when the stress is high? What is the answer for the many people who have a fast-paced lifestyle.

In delving deeper I have noticed an increasing trend that more and more people are turning towards.


I asked a good friend of mine, Nicole Francisco at YogaNation who specializes in yoga for kids, why so many people are turning towards yoga, and what the appeal is.

“We are living in a fast paced world and kids and parents are having a disconnection between their bodies and minds. Yoga helps reflect inwards and helps you to listen to that inner voice again.”

Everyone has that little voice in their heads, that conscience that reminds them to slow down when they are pushing themselves to much. When the environment and lifestyle start depicting thier actions. When you just “go go go” that voice gets silenced.

Why choose Yoga?

Yoga is a five-thousand-year-old ancient Hindu discipline, part of which includes breathing control, simple meditation with the adoption of specific poses and the aim of improved health and spirituality. There are several styles of yoga including, Ananda, Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Kripalu, Kundalini and Viniyoga. Conventional yoga will take you through a sequence of poses that have a purpose. This purpose can be tailored to your needs for greater flexibility, more hip mobility, better posture and overall suppleness. Yoga requires you to be in the present in the moment, teaching you mindfulness and breathing techniques. When you are stressed you tend to breathe with a shallow breath and from the top of your chest. Yoga instructors help you breathe by filling your entire lungs with a much deeper and more oxygen-rich inhalation.

Francisco believes people start yoga because their doctor has referred them for a specific reason. Certain Yoga styles are low impact activities that can be seen as a starting point to get back to former health and the second reason is to help sync your body and mind together. Francisco says, yoga has become popular amongst younger kids because parents feel their children sometime lose more focus and self-belief. “Not every kid is competitive or likes competition and not every kid can be the star of their sports teams and that is why yoga is a powerful alternative. Everyone can shine in yoga and obtain the physical and health benefits which a sport can offer”

In one study, by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D and professor and director of integrated medicine program at the University of Texas conducted a study of 191 breast cancer patients (stage 0 to 3.) Patients were randomized into three groups, one group did yoga, the other simple stretching and the third group no stretching. The participants in the yoga and stretching classes performed 1 hour sessions tailored specifically for breast cancer patients. They did this three times a week for the duration of the six week radiation treatment. The research came back that the woman practicing yoga had the greatest decline in cortisol levels. According to this research, yoga has the ability to help regulate stress hormone levels throughout the day. Dr Cohen says this is incredibly important because higher stress hormone levels have been linked to worsen breast cancer outcomes. Other more recent studies have found that yoga helps improve mood, vitality and reduces inflammatio. Making yoga a great tool for people suffering from joint paints and arthritis.

For the active sportsman, the inability to have sufficient mobility caused by environmental factors like sitting for too long, or not stretching at all, have been linked to injury. By increasing your ability to be more flexible and more mobile, it will allow you to respond quicker in your position and keep you playing for longer. Yoga is used by some of the world’s greatest superstars because when everything is on the line, one cannot afford not to lose such a powerful tool.

At the very least yoga can help you touch your toes again, so log on, or Google your local yogi instructor and give it 3 lessons. If you do not feel great after that, send me some frustration mail. Good luck and have fun with a friend while doing it.

Sean Van Staden

Sean Van Staden is the proud husband of an amazing woman and mom and the ‘Daddy Pig’ – (thank you Pepper Pig for brainwashing my children, in a good way) – of two little Gremlins, Jordan and Haylee, who are fast approaching three and four years of age. In his quest to give his children the tools to succeed, Sean’s blog tackles topics of nutrition, physical development, exercise, mental toughness, building confidence, self-esteem, sport, wellness, and just about anything that will help his children, and hopefully yours, grow in the right direction.

You can find Sean at ASP – Sports Science


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