Heart-Healthy Benefits of Yoga

While yoga often is associated with images of limber practitioners, it is more than just stretching and handstands. Yoga is a mind-body activity that involves moving through a series of body poses and breathing exercises that can improve strength, flexibility, balance and relaxation.

There are many yoga styles the most common of which will include physical poses, breath work and meditation. There is yoga to suit everyone no matter how inflexible or sedentary you have been up to now. For older adults and people new to yoga gentle, restorative or chair-based classes are a great place to start. If you are already quite active you might like to try more vigorous classes knowing that in every class there will be opportunities to modify the poses and to take things at your own pace.

“Because Yoga includes active exercise, resting poses and stress management practices, it is particularly effective for maintaining heart health.” – Yoga for Healthy Aging, Baxter Bell and Nina Zolotow

According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.

1. Promotes physical activity – Starting a yoga practice is often the first step towards a more active lifestyle.

2. Stress Management – Yoga poses help us release the tension that can build up in our bodies as a result of the daily stress of life. Gentle movement together with breathing exercises and mindful meditation give us the tools to self-regulate our responses to life’s stresses.

3. Greater Mind-Body Awareness – Yoga teaches us to notice what is happening in the body and mind as we move through the different poses. This heightened awareness helps us to become more aware of the effects our every day habits can have on how we feel. We notice that what we put into our body in terms of foods, alcohol, and tobacco will affect how the body feels. In this way, yoga can help us want to make healthier lifestyle choices.

4. Community – Practicing yoga together either in person or as part of a virtual community provides a safe environment and connection with other people. The importance of forming relationships with others is known to be an important part of overall mental health and being part of a supportive group makes it easier to maintain the commitment to regular practice.

Much of the benefit of doing yoga comes from doing yoga – we don’t always have time to do a full hour-long practice – on those days twenty minutes is enough, even five. What is important is to create the habit of practice so that your system becomes used to dropping into awareness and relaxation.

Croí’s Yoga Classes

Check out the class timetable to book Croí’s Yoga classes.

Yogalates with Tosca

In Tosca’s classes, you’ll enjoy a playful beginner’s-level flow where you’ll build flexibility, mobility, stability, balance and coordination. With the main aim of finding harmony between work and relaxation, you’ll find yourself getting stronger while becoming more in tune with your inner world. Each class starts with some centering and breathwork and moves into some short core-strengthening Pilates-inspired exercises. The final piece of the class will bring us up to our feet where we’re introduced to some yoga poses that inspire thoughtful, intentional, movement that will gently enhance your balance and coordination. Each class subtly builds upon the last so that the more you attend, the more you’ll transform your body, mind and spirit!

Yoga with Elaine

This is a gentle class suitable for anyone who can get up and down from the floor unaided. Combining elements of mindfulness, somatic movement, yoga poses, breath work and meditation we will guide you towards a practice that is right for your body today.  We are interested in noticing how the body feels in movement and in stillness and developing a deeper connection to ourselves.  You are encouraged to be the boss of your own practice and you have the freedom to explore movement in a way that suits you today.

Chair Yoga with Vicky

Chair yoga is a regular yoga class with all of the well-studied benefits but done with the extra support of a chair. It is perfect for those who consider themselves to have restricted mobility or energy. It’s particularly beneficial in cardiac rehabilitation and is also valuable as a preventive measure.

The class involves gentle movements for the whole body while seated and the chair is also used to support standing and gentle balancing positions. Participants are supported to work within their own capacity and the class is modified to make it accessible for all abilities. Chair yoga also incorporates gentle breathing, guided relaxations and other stress management tools to support overall physical and mental wellbeing.

The class is relaxed and sociable and taught in an enjoyable way by our highly experienced and compassionate teacher, Vicky Harkin. Many of our past students have said they feel stronger, more mobile and empowered with the helpful techniques and support they experience in the classes.

The chair yoga classes are accessible to all abilities and everyone who wishes to join us in Croí is warmly received.

Yoga for Recovery and wellbeing with Vicky

This gentle yoga class is aimed at providing support and confidence for anyone recovering from a stroke or a cardiac event. The class includes a combination of gentle moves, body strengthening and weight-bearing exercises designed to incorporate breath work and bring total awareness to the body. Each class finishes with meditation for recovery, to ensure that you will leave the class feeling empowered and relaxed.

The class is sociable and taught in an enjoyable way by our highly experienced and compassionate teacher, Vicky Harkin.