My Two Favourite Things For June: Yoga & Yoghurt

Yoga a fascinating health & well-being exercise studied and practiced for 1000’s of years in many places of the world, but mainly in Eastern cultures. The benefits of yoga are extremely hard to measure scientifically, but those that advocate and practice yoga report magical and numerous benefits to their health.

Yoga is reported to be excellent for both mental and physical health. It’s an exercise that can be undertaken at any age or fitness level – even those with poor mobility can do armchair yoga.

The main benefits of yoga are:

  1. Balance and stability can help prevent falls, one of the major health hazards of ageing.
  • Flexibility & joint health also helping prevent falls.
  • Improves general respiration Breathing, the basic necessity of life, is improved; yoga can help increase lung capacity.
  • Yoga can help with anxiety by reducing the fight or flight response we often experience in everyday life when problems occur. It helps balance the sympathetic nervous system and can induce a sense of calmness.
  • Yoga can reduce high blood pressure by lessening oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the underlying causes of heart attacks.
  • Yoga can induce Mindfulness Much of yoga practice is based on breathing and movement which can make us more aware of our thoughts and body and help create a sense of who we are.

All in all, yoga has been around a very long time and it has many health-inducing benefits for both mind and body. If you don’t practice yoga now, it would be beneficial to give it a try whatever your ability or age.

Finding the right teacher and class for you and your ability is paramount. I once attended a class and within two minutes the yoga teacher had her legs firmly placed around her neck. I sort of knew immediately that class wasn’t quite right for me…

To find a suitable class, you could log on to www.bwy.org.uk The British Wheel of Yoga is one of the foremost bodies representing yoga and its practice in the UK.

The origins of yoghurt (also spelled yogurt) are unknown, but it is thought, to have been invented in Mesopotamia around 5000 BC. In ancient Indian records, the combination of yogurt and honey is called “the food of the gods”. Persian traditions hold that “Abraham owed his fecundity and longevity to the regular ingestion of yoghurt”.

Yoghurt is one of the most versatile foods. You can make sauces, dips and numerous healthy accompaniments to food with it. I use it in curries and as a salad dressing with mint or coriander – also as an alternative to cream with fruit.

My favourite is the thick Greek yoghurt. I don’t have the low-fat version as very often some sort of sugar supplement has been added when the fat has been taken away.

The best yoghurt I ever tasted was made by an old lady from her own cows on the Greek island of Naxos many years ago. However, FAGE yoghurt is widely available in shops and is almost as tasty as hers. There are some amazing recipes on their website.

The benefits of yoghurt include:

Yoghurt is full of calcium – something that’s very important for us as our bones age (helps prevent osteoporosis). Having just broken a bone myself, it’s given me an excuse to eat lots of smooth, delicious, nourishing yoghurt. However not too much – as always I have to be aware of my weight! There is research suggesting that, as it is high in protein, it may help with appetite control and satiety.

One of the other benefits of yoghurt, if you buy the natural unpasteurised type, is that it can help gut micronutrients flourish, helping with IBS and digestion in general.

Whichever way you use yoghurt, it’s been around an awfully long time and I find that quite reassuring. Communities in the world that consume yoghurt appear to be some of the healthiest population zones of the world.

So enjoy your yoghurt after a little yoga and meditation and have a wonderful June!

Best wishes, Lesley

Read Lesley’s post on positivity here