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What You Need to Know About Inflammation and How Yoga Can Help

Amy Tenney
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Maybe you’ve heard about inflammation recently, and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. When stress indicators are high, usually from lifestyle, food, and environmental factors, inflammation increases. But practicing yoga, managing our minds, and being mindful of our food choices help reduce inflammation.

Many active people suffer from chronic inflammation because their lifestyle pushes them to go harder and push their bodies to new boundaries. If your body is inflamed, your normal routine might feel more taxing, and your body might feel stiff and sore. You might notice that you’re more susceptible to injury or fatigue.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about inflammation, and how yoga can help to reduce it.

Inflammation, Acute Inflammation, and Chronic Inflammation

First things first, inflammation is the body’s natural response to stress or injury – or both. Its purpose is to heal wounds and fight infections. When the body recognizes pathogens, i.e. irritants and injuries, the immune system inflames to remove these harmful cells from the body and promote healing.
Moral of the story: inflammation is not inherently a bad thing. We need it to heal and repair.
Acute inflammation is temporary, and seeks to protect an injured area by swelling. The swelling cues your immune system to send white blood cells to injured or infected areas, and start healing. Acute inflammation is a helpful and natural response to injury.

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to stress or injury – or both.

Chronic inflammation occurs when the body is in a constant state of stress as a result of lifestyle, diet, or possibly an autoimmune disorder. The swelling remains and prevents the healing process from beginning. The swelling may be obvious, like a swollen ankle, or harder to detect when it’s inside the body. Chronic inflammation can lead to a multitude of problems including: premature aging and disease.

How Lifestyle Influences Chronic Inflammation

We live in a faced paced, seize-the-day kind of world. While this allows us to accomplish many great things, it also leads to increased cortisol levels – the hormone in your adrenal glands that tells your body to remain in a high alert threat mode. This generates stress in the body, and stress increases inflammation.
Overworked adrenal glands can lead to Adrenal Fatigue. Learn all about it here.
Your nervous system can either be in “fight of flight” mode, which is connected to the sympathetic nervous system, or in our “rest and digest” mode, connected to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Mental and physical stressors, highly inflammatory foods (like sugar, processed foods, and unstable oils), over-exercising, obesity, high insulin levels, and hormonal imbalance all increase inflammation.

“Managing inflammation is really about managing the internal and external stressors in our bodies.” -Camille Kenitzer

Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Camille Kenitzer shares, “Managing inflammation is really about managing the internal and external stressors in our bodies. Internal because eating foods that are highly processed, filled with toxins and chemicals, or eating denatured food is stressful to our bodies. This combined with external stressors that life brings, such as work, family, and financial stress is a recipe for an inflammation superstorm.”

How Yoga Helps Reduce Inflammation

Finding ways to implement healthy lifestyle practices and decrease stress will help your body recover and heal quicker. Yoga is an incredible resource to combat stress and promote healthy habits in body and mind. Many people cite stress reduction as their reason to practice yoga, and research has their back – reducing stress helps reduce inflammation.
Additionally, a regular yoga practice changes the production of stress and hunger hormones, increasing Adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory hormone. Regular practitioners of yoga found higher percentages of adiponectin than beginners. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, yoga is a great way to stay active and keep your parasympathetic nervous system under control.

Add Yoga to Your Regular Routine to Reduce Inflammation

Remember to always listen to your body, back off and rest when you need to, and if something is painful – stop. By treating your body intuitively, you’ll help to avoid not only inflammation, but plenty of other issues as well.
As you use yoga to strengthen and heal your mind and body, you’ll find clarity, hope, and empowerment. Adding yoga to your routine, along with eating good-for-you foods, and knowing when to take it easy, can significantly help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Disclaimer: All information contained on the page is no substitute for consulting a healthcare professional. Please see your doctor or health care professional before starting any alternative treatments.

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Amy Tenney

Amy practices and teaches yoga in Arizona. Hot vinyasa is her jam and she loves anything active and outdoors. She loves cooking and sharing fun nutritious recipes. Amy specializes in Power Yoga for Sports, vinyasa flow and guided meditations. She and her husband love their 3 beautifully wild children and Labradoodle pup.


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