Thanks to Nancy over at Spirit Lights the Way for sparking some yoga inspiration!
I take a therapeutic approach to my Yoga teaching; focusing on body awareness, mindfulness and the breath. To me its more than a physical work out.
I love this quote from Georg Feuerstein taken from Yoga Gems:
“Beginners on the yogic path would do well to understand correctly what Yoga is all about and to then approach it accordingly.
There is a humorous saying in Yoga circles that Yoga has been reduced to the practice of postures, and that postures have been reduced to stretching, and that stretching has been reduced to lengthening the hamstrings. Authentic Yoga is always a spiritual discipline, even when the focus is on the body, as it is in Hatha Yoga.”
The intention of Yoga is the quieten the mind and connect with our inner spirit, consciousness or higher power. Read more about it on my Yoga page.
In his book “Yoga as Medicine” Dr Timothy McCall shares 40 ways that Yoga (Poses, Breathing and Meditation) heals:
- Increases flexibility
- Strengthen muscles
- Improves balance
- Improves immune function
- Improves posture
- Improves lung function
- Leads to slower and deeper breathing
- Discourages mouth breathing
- Increases oxygenation of the tissues
- Improves joint health
- Nourishes intervertebral discs
- Improves return of venous blood
- Increases circulation of lymph
- Improves circulation of the feet
- Improves proprioception (awareness of body in space)
- Increases control of bodily functions
- Strengthens bones
- Conditions the cardiovascular system
- Promotes weight loss
- Relaxes the nervous system and reduces anxiety
- Improves the function of the nervous system
- Improves brain function
- Activates the left prefrontal cortex
- Changes neurotransmitter levels
- Lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Lowers blood sugar
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
- Thins the blood
- Improves bowel function
- Releases unconscious muscle gripping
- Uses imagery to effect change in the body
- Relieves pain
- Lowers need for medication
- Fosters healthier relationships
- Improves psychological health and mood
- Leads to healthier habits
- Fosters spiritual growth
- Elicits the placebo effect
- Encourages involvement in your own healing
This list still wows me!
If you are young – there is every reason in the world to start now. Do it!
If you are in Mid life – it isn’t too late. I started yoga in my 40’s and it changed my life. This is where I find my middle ground every day.
Find a studio and a teacher that you can relate to and feel supported by. A word of caution here. Not every Yoga offered in classes is the same. Unless you are an athlete, avoid Vinyasa or Power Yoga.
Even if you are elderly and have a number of health and physical issues, finding an experienced trained teacher with a therapeutic approach can lead to a more active and healthy life… and a sense of peace and wellbeing.
So many people try Yoga in gyms these days. Please be careful as the focus is usually on having a physical workout. In my experience the instructors may not be as experienced, there is less personal attention and less time for relaxation and mindfulness.
For me, Yoga is about balance, alignment and inner peace. Finding balance and peace in our lives and alignment of our mind body and spirit… on and off the mat.
To find out more about where I teach in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, please check out www.RelishYoga.com