The benefits of yoga are undeniable. Whether you have only heard about yoga, have tried it a few times or have been practicing yoga for years, it offers something for everyone. Yoga is a beautiful and gentle practice that can be used with almost anyone regardless of your age or physical state. Yoga is practiced around the world in many different cultures because of its effectiveness and focus on the mind, body and spirit connection. Simply stated, “yoga” means “union” or “to join,” and is a way to harmonize your physical being with your highest self.
Yoga typically involves a series of postures or “asanas,” that are held for a short period of time or are repeated in a sequence. During these postures, equal focus is centered around maintaining a balanced
rhythm of breathing in unison with your movements, creating a sort of “ebb and flow” to the practice. The breath is also used as a way to increase the stretch of each posture without forcing anything. Along with the balanced poses and breathing, yoga focuses on a quieting and balancing of the mind, as well, as you become more present to your thoughts and to gradually slow them down.
Although the poses of yoga at times seem quite “simple,” they are deceptively difficult and a wonderful challenge for the body. For those looking for a gentle way to strengthen their body without damaging it in the process, as can often happen with activities like running or heavy weight lifting, yoga is a perfect alternative. Yoga provides the benefits of multiple activities in one by increasing flexibility, breathing capacity, toning and strengthening muscles, improving balance and coordination, calming the mind and nervous system, strengthening your immune system, improving digestion, reducing chronic pain, etc. The list goes on and on…
In addition, an added benefit and beauty of yoga is that there is no sense of competition involved. Yoga is just about a joining with yourself and learning your own body. There is no focus on pushing yourself or “pushing through the pain.” The overall understanding in yoga is that each body is different and you need to go at your own individual pace. If practiced consistently, you will naturally see positive changes in your body without ever having to force it.
There are many different types of yoga to choose from such as Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram and Kundalini, for example. Each one has its own particular focus and “style,” but they all use many of the same poses and elements. Regardless of which one you decide to try, you will discover many benefits from yoga including a sense of improved well-being and relaxation. If you haven’t tried it yet, or are hesitant to start, we encourage you try it and to experience the healing benefits for yourself.