We are hearing more and more about yoga and its benefits as yoga has grown dramatically in popularity. The big question is WHY?
Yoga is different than traditional fitness in that it doesn’t break up the components of strength, flexibility, stamina, and cardiovascular training into levels of importance based on our goals. This ancient practice addresses all aspects of “self”... the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga is not a religion; however the heart of yoga is spirituality, best defined as the process of self-awareness, self-discovery, and self-realization. Yoga is about finding your self, pushing your boundaries, and relaxing into who you are. It is taking an hour or so for yourself to get back in balance and bringing this balance back to other aspects of our lives. It is a welcomed “time-out”.
The first text on yoga was written by Patanjali over 2,500 years ago, but it is believed that yoga originated in India over 5000 years ago. Patanjali defined yoga as the “cessation of the turnings of the mind”. The word yoga comes from the Sanksrit word yuj, which translates “to unite, to join, or to connect”. Quieting the mind is no easy task and must be cultivated. During yoga practice, you start with the “known” putting your body into postures or asanas and mindfully noticing the breath or pranayama. As you challenge the body and mind through asanas and pranayama, you become more open to experiencing the “unknown”, a quiet mind or inner stillness.
Yoga works because it is simple and in harmony with how the body is designed to move and operate. By bending, stretching, lifting, reaching, and twisting, yoga empowers you to use your body the way you do in everyday life. A balanced practice brings vitality, deep relaxation and peace of mind. Yoga develops coordination, flexibility, stamina, balance, mental clarity, increased concentration, and overall health.
Here are just a few of the rewards for the bodymind:
* Stretches and strengthens muscles throughout the body
* Increases circulation to internal organs and glands
* Quiets the nervous system
* Decreases blood pressure
* Increases flexibility and lubrication of joints, ligaments and
* Detoxifies the body and tones the muscles
* Increases energy level and enhances memory
* Improves sleep patterns, balance and mood
* Decreases depression, anxiety and stress
The simple answer to “why yoga?” is because it makes you feel good. With a balanced yoga practice, you start to see subtle changes such as a more positive peaceful outlook, want a healthier diet, and become more open to a regular meditation practice. With this combination, you effortlessly drop old habits and begin a life transformation to a better healthier you.