Yoga simply means, “to join” or “to unite.”
A union of body, mind and spirit.
Most people in the United States practice what is called Hatha yoga, which consists of various asanas (poses) in combination with pranayama (breathing). This type of yoga is excellent for not only the physical body, but also the spiritual, emotional and mental parts as well.
With regular practice, you develop a peace of mind, as well as greaert focus and concentration. The physical benefits are numerous.
A lot of people are afraid to try yoga because of the advanced poses they have seen in books or on TV. Trust me when I tell you – The purpose of yoga is not to twist the body into bizarre pretzel shapes, but to improve the body’s natural range of motion from wherever it is when you walk into class.
Anyone of any age and physical condition can do yoga. All students work at their personal “edge” and beginners can work right alongside more experienced students.
Yoga is not about competition with others or yourself – every body is different. It is important to listen to your body while in a pose. Just because you could do a posture yesterday, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do it today, and just because you couldn’t do a posture yesterday doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it today. Your own body will change from class-to-class, day-to-day. You learn to truly honor where you are in this moment.
Today, with our busy lifestyles and hectic schedules, we rarely set any time aside for ourselves. We often forget who we are and what our life purpose may be. We have poor diets and no exercise routines. We put un-necessary stresses on our bodies mentally, emotionally, and physically that eventually leads to disease. I have found that practicing yoga a few times a week (even if only a few minutes a day) helps to relieve my built up tension and stress.
The asanas exercise every part of the body. The majority of people are attracted to yoga for the physical aspects of it, which is great. The more you practice, the better you will feel physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Through yogic breathing and exercising, you exercise the mind as well because your focus is on the breath and how the stretches feel. This focus, which is similar to a meditative state, brings a feeling of inner peace.
Yoga can benefit you emotionally as well. As you learn to observe the ebb and flow of your breathing and the release of tension in your body, you will find that your attention turns inward and allows you to experience and become more aware of your feelings.
Yoga teaches you to let your breathing flow naturally and normally, and to be aware of its rhythm. This rhythmic breathing allows you to release tension, to cleanse and purify your body with every exhalation and nourish and invigorate yourself with every inhalation.
Remember, yoga originated as way to reach enlightenment – the body and the asanas (postures) were merely a vehicle for quieting the mind – so, more important than touching your toes is touching your awareness.
THE FITNESS UNDERGROUND