By Matt Evans
It's the end of a stressful week, but it's also near the end of the stressful year. It's about time we all took a deep breath and tried to get a bit of zen back in our lives. Fortunately, we've got just the thing: a relaxing 15-minute yoga flow from Jordan Ashley, founder of non-profit Souljourn Yoga, to end your week (and your year) with a bit of much-needed serenity.
The routine is dynamic, with frequent pose changes and shifts in movement characteristic of the vinyasa yoga style, which has been proven to boost strength and flexibility. However, it slows down towards the end, allowing you to take advantage of those long, relaxing stretches and breathwork.
Why yoga is so therapeutic
Yoga has long been known to enhance mood and reduce stress. Research from the University of Mississippi found the practice had the potential to "reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life".
This all said to be because of yoga's combination of muscular activity and an internally directed mindful focus on awareness of the self, the breath, and energy. Most sports are largely external, focusing on what happens on the pitch or in the gym, but yoga combines physical exercise with mindfulness training to create a much more therapeutic effect.
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Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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