For people with only a casual knowledge of yoga, it's probably best known for promoting serenity, balance and meditation in its practitioners. However, if you've ever tried to hold a difficult pose for a lengthy period of time, you'll know it's far from peaceful!
BlessedYoga founder Niki Perry took over our Instagram account to show us a sequence combining powerful stances, flow and a big focus on breath. It lasts 30 minutes, and will leave you energised and ready to rock the day ahead. Check out the flow below:
BlessedYoga's signature ENERGISE practice is full of dynamic stances and moves like the plank, which you're encouraged to hold for long periods of time. This sort of exercise is known as isometric exercise. Holding a position like the plank or the warrior pose forces your muscles to work hard to keep you steady, providing a different sort of muscular exercise than ordinary strength training moves like the push up.
Isometric exercise also improves your cardiovascular health and blood pressure, according to one study published in the scientific journal Sports Medicine. The research found muscle contractions held for long periods correlated with improved heart rate regulation, reduced blood pressure and lower oxidative stress levels.
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Of course, this is all on top of yoga's other benefits: increased flexibility, a stronger core and better mental health. One study conducted by Kawasaki University researchers found yoga provided both immediate and long-term reductions in feelings of anxiety. It does this by lowering the presence of the stress hormone cortisol, helping us normalise the secretion of this hormone.
Got a bit of floor space and half an hour to spare? Follow along to Perry's dynamic 30-minute yoga flow to feel energised, improve your heart health and reduce harmful feelings of anxiety. Although summer's nearly over, you can still keep that sunshine in your life.