Yoga is an ancient practice that helps create a sense of union in body, mind, and spirit. It brings us balance.
Practicing yoga becomes an integral part of
• Your Physical Life
• Your Mental Life, and
• Your Spiritual Life
Babies are born yogis. Once we were all able to pull our toes up by our ears and laugh about it. Then we aged, got injured, and began carrying stress in our shoulders and back.
Yoga becomes part of your physical life. Your body grows stronger, more toned, and more flexible as you move from one asana-or pose-to the other. "Rather than building muscle, yoga builds muscle tone. Because yoga helps maintain a balanced metabolism, it also helps to regulate weight. Additionally, yoga stretches muscles lengthwise, causing fat to be eliminated around the cells, thus reducing cellulite.
You may do yoga poses throughout the day, perhaps after hours at your computer in order to stretch your stiff shoulders and arms. When you need a boost of energy, do energizing poses. When you are feeling exhausted at the end of the day, do restorative poses.
The physical benefits: Creates a toned, flexible, and strong body. Improves respiration, energy, and vitality. Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism. Promotes cardio and circulatory health. Relieves pain. Helps you look and feel younger than your age. Improves your athletic performance.
Yoga becomes part of your mental life. Yoga teaches you to focus on breathing while you hold the poses. This attention to breath is calming; it dissolves stress and anxiety. Use yogic breathing on the tennis courts, in the dentist's chair, or when you are stuck in traffic.
You should always leave a yoga
practice feeling energized, not tired. If you feel tired after yoga, it means you spent the time "fighting" yourself, trying to force yourself into poses. In yoga, you "surrender" to the pose by letting go of the tension.
The mental benefits: Helps you relax and handle stressful situations more easily. Teaches you how to quiet the mind so you can focus your energy where you want it to go - into a difficult yoga pose, on the tennis court or golf course, or in the office. Encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance.
Yoga becomes part of your spiritual life. Yoga is practiced by people from all religions; it is nondenominational. Yoga teaches "right" living in how we deal with ourselves and others. As you work on a difficult pose, learn patience, forgiveness, and the value of gentleness. Yoga advocates proper eating, but you don't have to be a vegetarian to practice yoga.
The spiritual benefits: Builds awareness of your body, your feelings, the world around you, the needs of others. Promotes an interdependence between mind, body, and spirit. Helps you live the concept of "oneness."
There have been some medical studies on the positive effects of yoga. And a growing number of doctors are following the lead of some progressive cardiologist and incorporating yoga into their patient recovery programs.
But for the most part, the evidence of the benefits of yoga is anecdotal. They range from the simple "I can touch my toes again" to "it helped me handle my disease."
Anyone can do yoga, no matter how young or old you are, whether you're a couch potato or a professional athlete. Size and fitness level do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose. The idea is to explore your limits, not strive for some pretzel-like perfection.
Start by going to a yoga class. Look for a teacher who challenges you but does not push, who offers modifications, and who works one-on-one with students. Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move. Use a yoga mat
for cushioning and to keep from slipping. If there is no yoga studio in your town, practice with a video and read books. Just remember one thing: "No pain, no gain" is NOT the yoga way. If it hurts, stop. Patience and feeling good about yourself and your world is the way of the yogi.
Here at www.EnviroCitizen.org
we offer a unique selection of yoga items. We are pleased to support our users in their quest to unite mind, body and spirit.
*** By Mike Valenti ***