By Guest Blogger: Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid spinner, healthy cooking enthusiast and lover of life. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com Yoga for Healthy Bodies and Minds We've all heard about the benefits of yoga, as they are constantly proclaimed by its many followers and devout participants. I, myself, have recently become a big believer in the physical and mental benefits of yoga, but most people don't give a thought to how these improvements positively affect your health. Everyone knows that stress is bad for your health. It causes all sorts of problems from sleep deprivation to physical maladies; and with our lives busier than they have ever been, our stress response is at an all time high (I know mine is). So, short of quitting our jobs and moving to Bali, what can we do about it? We can do yoga. Institute for Extraordinary Living in Massachusetts, has found that changes to the sympathetic nervous system - that's the one in charge of our stress response - can be measured when doing yoga. He has found that yoga actually boosts the "feel-good" chemicals in the brain and dampens cortisol, which fuels are stress responses and can be really bad for your body if you are chronically stressed. So, yoga isn't just a mental trick for relaxation, it actually changes the chemistry of your body, resulting in less stress and less stress related problems. Yoga for Prevention Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Glen Axelrod claims that yoga is an excellent tool for staying healthy because its creation was based on the same principles and practices of preventative medicine. But the benefits of yoga are not only preventative; regular practice of yoga can help to alleviate chronic muscle pain throughout the body, headaches and even arthritis. While stretching and strengthening the muscles in your body, the proper posture and appropriate breathing techniques learned while doing yoga all work together to align your skeleton and correct many of the issues that cause constant pain and discomfort. Yoga as Therapy Even though yoga is not an official treatment for any medical condition, some breast cancer patients are finding it to be an extremely helpful form of therapy, pre and post treatment. The positive effects of gentle yoga for women during breast cancer yoga is helping by being offered to patients undergoing these treatments as an escape from the stress and uncertainty that they are dealing with on a daily basis. Research has claimed "...studies have largely demonstrated that women who take the yoga classes feel more relaxed amid the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, and that some sleep better the night after taking a yoga class." From the outside looking in, a yoga class may not appear to have the many benefits that it truly does. Do yourself a huge favor and incorporate a yoga regimen into your life…your body will thank you for it!