A committed humanitarian, Rathana Ung has followed a special call on her life to help those in need, especially in such as Cambodia. During one trip, she was able to help build more than 400 homes for people living in poverty there. When she isn’t working as a volunteer, Rathana Ung maintains an active yoga practice, which helps her stay centered and maintain a healthy balance in her mind, body, and spirit.
In addition to its meditative benefits, yoga can help to stretch areas of the body that normally don’t get attention, as well as bring relief to areas that can sometimes suffer from chronic pain, such as the hips. One posture to use in this manner is the pigeon pose, which serves to open up the hip flexors.
To get into pigeon pose, begin in the downward facing dog position and bring the right leg forward to the middle of where the hands rest on the mat. Then take the left leg and lengthen it as if going into cobra pose, with the top of the foot pressing against the floor. Lastly, take the right leg and place it perpendicular to the hips on the floor with the foot as near to the left hand as possible. This will open up the right hip. Invert the pose the other way to open up the left hip.
Individuals who are just beginning their yoga practices are advised to work with a certified yoga teacher to ensure they learn proper form.
With a passion for charity work, Rathana Ung was involved in building over 400 homes in Cambodia with her friends and family. A number of the homes’ recipients were sleeping on dirt floors, under trees, or in shacks before they were given these permanent domiciles. During her spare time, Rathana Ung enjoys practicing yoga to relax.
Yoga provides several benefits to brain function and mental health. One of the most well-known ways yoga can support a person’s well-being is by reducing stress and anxiety. With the less rapid breathing, lower heart rate, and lower blood pressure that active yogis typically experience, yoga acts as a de-stressor that can substantially reduce overall levels of anxiety.
Although any type of exercise can release feel good neurotransmitters, yoga is one of the most research-proven ways to increase GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels. GABA is one of the main inhibitory neurotransmitters. Basically, GABA slows brain activity and allows a person to relax. Reduced levels can cause a person to experience stress or become anxious. By engaging in yoga for just one hour, GABA levels can increase by as much as 27 percent.