What is Yoga?
Yoga is a discipline that uses asanas, or poses, to unite the breath with the body and mind. It aids in health and relaxation while bringing strength, balance, and flexibility to the body.
Many times we get caught up in deadlines, meetings and planning with the fast-paced track of modern, everyday life. We often forget to slow down and just breathe. Balancing family, career, self, and many other roles often leave us split and disconnected, but turning the senses inward always brings the Self to its center.
Yoga promotes an overall healthy lifestyle, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Yoga provides poses for strength, balance, and flexibility while also promoting mental relaxation and concentration. Yoga restores movement in sore and tight muscles. Once the muscles are stretched, and the body allows the breath to flow through it; concentration begins. Steady poses or asanas tone the body and free the mind from disturbances. This connection occurs because practicing yoga properly aligns the body while also focusing the mind.
The most important part of any yoga practice is the breath. Mindful breathing is mentally and physically rejuvenating; it cleanses the mind of negative toxins and nourishes the body through movement. Yoga is a way to connect with your Higher Self. When the breath is able to move through the body with concentration, one is able to fully relax in each pose. Repeat poses until all your expectations are released.
Personally, I choose to practice yoga to find awareness and peace of mind. I enjoy flowing into a pose and being able to breathe my way to comfort. During my yoga practice, I concentrate on internal and external listening. Yogis tend to be great listeners because of their ability to follow the instructions of certified Yoga Instructors while turning their awareness inward. When the skill is fully developed, I automatically begin to focus on myself rather than paying attention to how others are practicing. Practicing yoga in a group actually improves my ability to listen with my ears rather than my eyes.
Do’s and Don’ts of Yoga
• DO be mindful of your practice. Move with your breathe.
• DON’T be intimidated by flexibility poses. Yoga has poses for balance and strength, too, such as Chair Pose – Utkatasana and Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
• DO take 10 minutes in the morning for yoga. Yoga is not time consuming. A quick Sun Salutation can warm up those joints and muscles.
• DON’T need to be athletic. Anyone can do yoga!
• DO remember to breathe, relax, and enjoy!