What is Yoga?
Yoga is fun! It is a personal exploration of mind and body that will reduce stress, enhance self-awareness and provide exercise for both body and mind. It is a life-long wellness commitment that can commence at any point in one’s life. The word yoga itself is defined as “to join together” and in practice connects the mind, or better said, the spirit with the body.
Yoga is physical. It is a series of “postures” that increase muscle and bone flexibility, decrease stiffness, safely align the spine and exercise every part of the body – including internal organs.
Yoga is peaceful. It teaches controlled breathing in order to achieve a serene, reflective state. When stressed we take in short breaths. Yoga lengthens breathing and better connects breathing, mind and body to ultimately arrive at a meditative state.
Yoga is individual. If interested, enroll in a yoga class. Beginners are welcome. Even though you are in a group, you learn at your own pace, progress slowly while mastering the postures and be encouraged to seek the guidance of your instructor. It is not competitive. You are in your own space and not compared to others. You don’t have to be limber or be athletic. Any age, any shape or any walk of life makes you eligible, so sign up today and begin a peaceful journey to wellness.
Yoga is spiritual, but not religious. Yoga teaches the connection of mind and body for each individual at his or her own pace. It does not promote or follow any religious doctrine. As said before, it is an individual endeavor providing the practitioner the tools to achieve the overall wellness its practice provides.
Finally, yoga is multi-faceted. The practice of yoga is over five-thousand years old and is still evolving with many focused types. Here we’ll delve into; Hot Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Yoga Therapy and Meditative Yoga.
Hot Yoga: Simply, this is yoga done in a temperature controlled environment. Minimum 90 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 105, these conditions allow for easier muscle stretching and perspiring permits body toxins to be released while increasing oxygenation to the bloodstream. It has become more popular in recent years. It is not an advanced yoga class, but welcoming to beginners as well. Think of combining a steam bath with meditation and exercise.
Prenatal Yoga: This technique and specific classes are designed to be suitable in the early stages and throughout pregnancy. Yoga is perfect for expectant mothers since there is stretching and flexibility to accommodate bodily changes as they occur. In addition, pregnancy is a very stressful time, especially if this is your first child. The wonders of bringing life to a child are rife with worries, morning sickness, new aches and pains, all of which can be alleviated or eliminated by practicing yoga. Finally, controlled breathing accomplished through yoga are complementary to the techniques of prenatal birth classes.
Yoga Therapy: Are you wondering if yoga can help with your specific problem? If you take antacids for stomach problems, pain killers for aching muscles or headaches, or have a “barking” knee, then yoga therapy can calm almost anything that ails you. Stress is usually disruptive to healthy digestion, repetitive motion causes pain, stress (again) causes tension headaches and tightness of muscles. Remember, yoga is an individual practice and as you go at your own pace you customize the practice for specific targets. These are only some of the things yoga therapy can relieve. As you internalize yoga techniques you will find so many benefits in addition to your specific targets. As you practice and become better at the overall positions and breathing, yoga is not only curative but preventative. If you are a weekend cycler, you can stretch and focus on leg, calf, arm and back muscles, allow breathing to increase stamina and ride beyond where you thought possible; without the worry of aggravating the knee that hurts on the uphill climbs.
Meditation: This is the spiritual component of yoga, and by nature, its most personal. By slowing and pacing one’s breathing and clearing the mind through focused thoughts and reflections is where the meditative process begins. You alone can only connect your body and spirit to achieve meditation. Typical arrival at meditation is a four step process with posing, body relaxation, breathing and then meditation. Each step is detailed on the meditative page.
Yoga is a systematic path to wellness and a better life. Sign up and get started no matter what your age or physical capability, and remember…
Yoga is fun!