I know what many of you may be thinking at this very moment: “Do we really need another article about yoga?” My answer is yes and I will tell you why. Today, the term yoga seems to represent a trendy fad rather than a respected practice involving the physical, mental and spiritual worlds. I doubt there is a person on this planet that hasn’t heard the word, yoga. But what do we really know about it? In all honesty yoga pants, mats and other yoga accessories has become a trendy staple in many of our lives. I often find myself wondering if the yoga style is valued more than the actual practice. Now I’m not judging as I, too, have a closet full of yoga pants and am certain half of them have never known a pose. Despite being guilty of being a yoga poser (pun intended!) myself I have come to learn that there are, in fact, incredible benefits to the practice and understanding of this ancient Indian practice.
Yoga reaches far beyond deep stretching. It is an activity that requires dedication, focus and strength of the body as well as of the mind. In our fitness crazed world we often strive to obtain strong bodies. In pursuit of the perfect bodies we run, lift weights, climb walls, diet, spin, play a variety of sports and so on. What many fail to realize is that while all of the above mentioned activities are sure to give you the physical results you desire, without a change in mind set the undesirable body images you worked so hard to get rid of are likely to return. So where does yoga fit into all of this?
Yoga is an exercise of the mind. The physical side of yoga requiring the manipulation of your body into poses that provide deep stretches and strengthening, can be nearly impossible to achieve without an intense quiet focus. This quiet determination is where the yoga benefits can really be found. Forcing oneself to become quite, still and focused is something that takes just as much, if not more practice than any other high energy, fast paced workout. Yoga teaches that once one is able to quite themselves and become undistracted by the world around them they are given the immense gift of self awareness. In this state of mind one has the opportunity to really understand themselves, their true nature and find insight into the direction their life should go. Yoga strengthens the body through deep stretching while also incorporating the practice of focusing on ones breath to slow down and relax. In today’s world there is truly nothing more vital to our lives, health and bodies than slowing down, calming down, distressing and relaxing. Research shows that stress is by far the most dangerous stimulant that all of us drown our bodies in every day. Illness, anxiety disorders, depression and exhaustion are just a few ailments many of us deal with on a daily basis and they can all be traced back to overly stressful lifestyles.
Today there are many different types of yoga. Currently, Bikram also know as hot yoga is all the rage and is a true testament to ones physical and mental endurance. In Bikram yoga you spend your time in a room with a temperature of 105 degrees at 40 percent humidity while circulating through 26 poses. The toxins released from the body as sweat, make this style of yoga well worth it! Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative and Prenatal yoga are a few more options that can be found at most yoga studios, each focusing on one particular benefit on the yoga spectrum.
As wildly popular as Starbucks, yoga studios can be found on just about every street corner in many of
Yoga is a word that encompasses exercise, spirituality, relaxation and strength. Yoga can not be fully dissected and understood in a few paragraphs or in one lifetime for that matter. Many people have dedicated their lives in the pursuit of fully understanding what powers are behind this practice. Fortunately, yoga has found a way to simply itself enough to be integrated into anyone’s daily life. So take out that adorable pair of yoga pants you run around town in, dust of the hip yoga mat you’ve been storing in the closet and embrace a style of yoga that best suits you. You may not care to become a yogi master, but allow yourself the unique experience of being quiet, relaxed and calm. The benefits of making yoga a part of your life will be truly life changing and saving-Namaste.