Let’s Do Yoga
There are so many benefits of a yoga practice, and I’d like to emphasize less of the exercise part of yoga, which is mainly what is being promoted currently in the West. The great thing about the physical yoga practice is that something beautiful unfolds without you even knowing. You become a better, mindful, more self-realized person.
Yoga originated in India and mostly consisted of breathing, meditation, and a handful of seated yoga postures. Now that yoga has made it to the West, there is more of an emphasis on the physical practice of yoga postures (“asana”), which can help us reach a state of focus/concentration, meditation/mindfulness and self-realization.
Self-realization and mindfulness are the ultimate yoga goals. “How can I be a better person each day, so that I can fully help others from a place of compassion and empathy?” That is the point of life after all, right? Through the physical practice of yoga postures (“asana”) we can obtain more body awareness, breath awareness, focus/concentration, sense withdrawal, meditation and bliss!
The physical practice of yoga is great for many things. You get the benefit of lymphatic flow towards the heart by practicing inversions such as down dog or a wide angle forward fold. It doesn’t have to be a fancy headstand or shoulderstand, which are quite dangerous for a lot of people. Bone and muscle strength are another benefit by weight bearing poses, and flexibility of the fascia, muscle tissues, spine, and the mind.
Practicing yoga can create a deep sense of a community (“kula”), if you find a great teacher with like minded individuals to practice with. Stress reduction is another benefit. Through our breath awareness, we can slow down the nervous system, stimulate the vagus nerve (which is great for PTSD) and enter a state of parasympathetic nervous system regulation, which can help regulate hormones including cortisol, our stress hormone. High cortisol can play a role in weight gain and overall health. “Prana”, the flow of energy is increased throughout the body.
I’ve heard about people losing weight from doing restorative yoga practices. In a world of overdoing, and high stress, I recommend taking it down a notch and finding a nice relaxing yoga practice that works for your body and lifestyle. There are so many styles of yoga and many amazing teachers to draw from, so if you don’t find the right class right away keep trying new teachers and class types! If you feel intimidated by a yoga practice, understand that you don’t have to be “flexible” or “thin”. Marketing these days promotes a specific body type that people must have in order to practice yoga, but yoga is for all body types and people! Have an open mind to try yoga and reap the many benefits!
Fact: According to a Norwegian study, yoga boosts the immune system on a genetic level.
Awareness Challenge this week: Bring a friend and go try out a yoga class in your community.
Tune in next time; we’ll discuss celiac’s disease : )!
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about living a healthier lifestyle, reach out to us for our professional guidance and support. Give us a call!
You are only one yoga class away from a good mood.
By: Jaclyn Howell
Blog Photo Credit: Pranaji Acupuncture
Cover Photo Credit: Medical News Today