The health benefits of yoga for female entrepreneurs
Article submitted by Mike Chapman, Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios
“Yoga came into my life at a time when I had lost a considerable amount of weight and had begun weight training more seriously. My body was suffering from many injuries, most notably a bulging disc in my lower back, and a wrist injury due to repetitive strain as a piano instructor. My body was definitely begging to stretch and heal. As a classically trained professional singer, I was already acutely aware of breathing and believed wholeheartedly in the healing power of the breath. I have been practising yoga with Mike for over ten years now. My practice has grown to include yin yoga, leading to a certification with Bernie Clark, author of Yinsights. I teach Yin Yoga regularly at Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios.” – Amber Morphy
Female entrepreneurs can reap the health benefits from yoga practice in a wide variety of ways. Entrepreneurs can expect unique stresses. yoga, practised with a deep understanding of its physical, mental and spiritual attributes, offers female business owners a number of health benefits.
Breathing is the physiological “un-sung hero,” controlling one’s mental, emotional and physical self in a most profound way. Yoga connects breathing to the “mental and emotional you” in positive ways through pranayama, or breath control techniques. Pranayama manipulates breathing for a specific result.
To calm the body, mind and emotional state, “abdomino-diaphragmatic” breathing, commonly practised in yoga, is recommended. This breathing technique can combat stress that all entrepreneurs experience, but is especially effective in cooling and relaxing during particular times relevant to women only, such as times of pre-menstrual symptoms or menopausal symptoms. The life of an entrepreneur consists of long days that usually can’t be interrupted. A cooling breathing method then, will offer some relief and comfort, allowing a rejuvenating effect upon the body, rest for the mind, and relaxation for the emotions.
In times where energy is low, a few deep ribcage breaths, exemplified in the yogic “empowered thoracic” breathing technique, can ramp-up the “energy-volume.” This breathing is practised with bandhas or muscular locks in the body that correspond with the pelvic diaphragm, thoracic diaphragm and the epiglottis. In-depth instruction under an experienced and qualified yoga teacher on using bandhas is necessary for safety and full comprehension on the subject. The overall effect of thoracic breathing with the bandhas stimulates the nervous system and massages internal organs by creating “combustion” within the torso. Movement from the diaphragm while breathing, with the pelvic floor and lower abdominal wall held in contraction, will increase and decrease abdominal blood pressure in pattern with inhalations and exhalations. This will strengthen and massage internal organs, the thoracic diaphragm, and core muscles, improving digestion, breathing and stamina.
All other pranayama techniques in yoga branch from these two distinct ways in which we are able to breathe. The two main categories of breathing, even in their most simple form, can give women in business useful tools to change their frame of mind according to need. Determine whether you need to “chill-out” and then belly breathe, or whether you need to “charge-up” and then breathe into your ribcage with bandhas engaged.
Yoga acts in connecting breathing to motion, and this is the premise of yoga posture practice. Breathing into a yoga pose deepens the stretch and the experience of the posture. The breath also aids in “weightless” transitions from one pose to another with fluidity and grace. But perhaps the greatest attribute of connecting breathing and motion through yoga postures is the tuning-up of all eleven sub-systems of the body: the nervous system, the skeletal system, the muscular system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the urinary system, the reproductive system, the lymphatic system, the endocrine system and the integumentary system or skin. For women entrepreneurs, this means fewer days off due to illness or injury, reduced aches and pains during the unique times in a woman’s life such as pregnancy, and health and wellness that will translate to high levels of endurance to get the job done no matter what.
A clear mind, the ability to focus and the knack for seeing the “big picture” comes from practising the postures and connecting them with breathing. Yoga draws attention to the connection between breathing and motion. The entrepreneur tends to “live in the head” and not the body. This can be especially profound in the lives of businesswomen, who may tend to sacrifice their most basic physical needs for the needs of others, in what might be considered “the mothering instinct.” A physical yoga practice can bring the focus back to the body’s needs through breath connection.
Finally, the convenience of practising yoga cannot be overstated. It is easy to do anywhere or anytime and can fit into the busy life of the female entrepreneur. All that is required is the space necessary to lay down a yoga mat and your “yoga-gym” instantly appears.
Article by Mike Chapman, Owner and Head Instructor of Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios, Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance (RYT),
Certified Personal Trainer (CPTN-CPT), Certified Yoga Specialist including Yoga for Athletes (CPTN-CYS), Faculty – Certified Professional Trainers Network, Presenter – Annual CPTN Conference.
Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios
25 Milling Rd (Hespeler Village)
Intro by Amber Morphy – Entrepreneur, Yoga Instructor & Triathlete, Director – Amber Morphy Music Studio, Soprano Opera Singer & pianist, RCM Examination – Member of the College of Examiners, Performer, Teacher & Adjudicator, Certified Yin Yoga Instructor for Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios, Competitive Triathlete.