Yoga Intro

What exactly is Yoga?

Yoga is a commonly known generic term for physical, mental and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India.  The practice of Yoga is based on at least 3,500 years of collected knowledge of how the body is built and how the mind works.  The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which essentially means to unite or harmonize.  Yoga is not founded, it is not a religion.  It is a way of living whose aim is ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’.

We experience many positive effects from practicing Yoga.  The benefits included are physiological, psychological and biochemical and have now all been proven by modern medicine.  Some of the most noticeable and immediate benefits of practicing this amazing art are as follows:

Improved Flexibility and Pain Reduction

Through the performance of Yoga asanas (the physical movements) the body is stretched in forward, backward, twisting and inverted movements.  These movements not only improve flexibility of the muscles but also massage the internal organs. 

Yoga helps ease back pain and alleviates complaints of old age.  The compression and releasing movements of Yoga allows more blood flow to the organs, increasing circulation which rids the body of accumulated toxins promoting better health and leaving you with a feeling of increased vitality and energy.

Increased Physical Strength and Lung Capacity

Many of the asanas require us to support our own body weight with our arms and/or legs.  It also improves core strength through the holding of certain positions and holding the postures greatly increases our stamina and concentration.

During the physical movements of Yoga we are required to breathe with and through the moves.  We learn to link the breath with the moves and learn how to expand the lungs, increasing the oxygen intake into our bodies.

Reduces stress and mental tensions

One of the major causes of dis-ease today is the stressful lifestyles we seem to have succumbed to in the Western world.  In Yoga, we learn that through breath control known as pranayama, the minds needless chatter can be harnessed and stopped.  This is turn allows the body to respond and relax, thereby reducing the stress debilitating conditions such as heart attacks, high blood pressure and anxiety.

Yoga leads us to a place of inner peace and happiness through the practice of relaxation and breath control. 

Injury Prevention and Relaxation

The greater range of movement we posess, the less likely our bodies are of becoming injured.  Maintaining a yoga pose has a dramatic effect on tight sore and often inflamed muscles, tissues, facia and joints.  Holding a pose has an amazing ability to restore and rebuild connective tissue. 

After the physical practice of Yoga we lie down in a position known as Savasana, relaxing completely from head to toe, allowing the healing benefits of our practice to become fully integrated into the body, mind and spirit.

There are plenty of reasons for taking up Yoga whether it is used as a gentle or demanding fitness programme, as a form of treatment, as part of an ethical lifestyle or simply as a source of pleasure. Yoga is for anyone of any age.

“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.”  This is utterly backwards.  One doesn’t go to yoga because one is flexible, but becomes flexible from doing yoga.  I am living proof of this!  I have no background in gymnastics or dance, I had a strong but rigid, inflexible body and through constant practice, I have advanced to where I am today. 

Namaste

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