Pranayama deep breathing is thought to increase energy.
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Bikram yoga is a challenging, 90-minute, heated yoga class that consists of two breathing exercises and 26 yoga postures. It was invented by Bikram Choudhury, a yoga teacher from India. The purported benefits are numerous -- and gaining copious amounts of energy tops the list. Many participants believe this increase in energy means they can sleep less, but researchers warn this way of thinking can be dangerous to your health and may even be life-threatening.
Bikram yoga promises relief from back pain, reduced stress and reduced effects of aging. Also included on the list are relief from arthritis, reduced depression and decreased breathing problems. Choudhury credits his class for healing him from a weightlifting accident that left him unable to walk. "It's never too late, it's never too bad, you're never too old, you're never too sick to start from scratch once again, to be born once again," Choudhury says. The yoga movement has brought Choudhury fame, fortune and a worldwide following.
Most of the benefits that Bikram yoga promises have never been scientifically proved, and the ones that have can be derived from any type of exercise. Professor of kinesiology, Rod Dishman, studied more than 6,800 subjects and found overwhelming support that exercise increases energy level. In his article published in "Science Daily" in November 2006, Dishman stated: "exercise of any kind floods the brain with the feel good chemicals known as Endorphins and Dopamine." In addition to increasing energy, these chemicals also elevate mood, reduce stress, prevent aging and promote better sleep.
It would be great if an energy boost from exercise reduced your need for sleep, but scientist say that is not the case. The average human needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep, and not making sleep a priority is one of the main causes of the chronic fatigue epidemic. The Yale Medical Group published a recent online article stating that sleep is necessary for repair, restoration, proper nervous system function and enhanced physical and mental function. Lack of sleep, in addition to lack of activity, are two of the three major contributing factors of obesity. Sleep deprivation has such serious consequences that it can cause mental illness and even death.
If your hopes for stealing a few hours away from sleep are dashed, there are plenty of ways to make time for both sleep and exercise. Record how much time you spend watching television or on the computer, since they are most likely draining hours from your day. Use non-digital forms of entertainment that help you fall asleep earlier, and then take advantage of this new bedtime to make time for morning exercise. Set small, realistic, obtainable goals for the week and continue to do this week by week until you are the well rested, energetic, fit individual you desire to be.