As a yoga guide I am often asked “What are the benefits of yoga?” The answer is both simple and complex. Most situations call for a laundry list of sorts and others invite more in-depth explanations. The purpose of this blog series is to answer some questions and raise others, hopefully encouraging the reader to conduct deeper research into the topic as the journey towards healthy living begins or continues.
So what is yoga? Know that there are tons of resources, out there to help answer this question. My answer is condensed and quick. The word yoga translated from Sanskrit to English is ‘union’. Yoga is an Indian philosophy that has been in existence for over 5000 years. One does not need to abandon existing spiritual or religious beliefs to be a yoga practitioner and the majority of modern yoga practitioners utilize the posture and breathe techniques of this mind body practice. One’s yoga practice can be meditative breath work and/or a full body work out. I practice four to six times a week, but even one yoga class per week can be beneficial.
My “Why do it” yoga story developed in two parts. As a former athlete and dancer I craved movement, strengthening, and stretching and took some yoga classes as part of my regular exercise routine. But it was the consecutive deaths of my brother then my father that propelled me into a ‘life yoga practice’. As I struggled with the grief, stress and the healing process, I went to a yoga class as a diversion and for stress relief. I found that the combination of the physical practice and breathing reduced my stress and provided my body and spirit with the strength it needed to make it through this difficult period of my life. The marriage between Tanynya and yoga has been solid for over 10 years. My practice continues to provide balance and strength in my life and the benefits for me are endless. Some of the benefits of yoga as they relate to me are the following: a total body workout, promotes deep proper breathing, it calms my mind, maintains flexibility, encourages weight maintenance, reduces stress, boosts immunity, improved my posture, protects my body from injuries, reduces headaches and menstrual pain, stimulates better sleep, maintains bone density, eliminated daily foot pain, and produced a strong core.
As you review the composition of your life there are a few questions to consider. Are you able to, or do you currently engage in enough regular intentional movement such as exercise? Is there time in the schedule dedicated introspection and self-reflection? How often do you allow yourself to simply be still? If life balance and mind body balance are the goals…then consider yoga. The union of work and play and mind and body may be assisted by such a practice. And if yoga does not work for you, try new things until you find the movement practice that works best for your lifestyle. Just do something…
I leave you with,
Meaning peace for all…
Yoga 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Practice, Meditation, and Sutras
By Cindy Lee, Yoga Journal
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