Simply stated by practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation you will feel healthier in mind, body and spirit. Yoga allows you to shape up, tune in to yourself and relax (or as some say, “bliss out”). There are numerous research studies showing the benefits, and you may soon find your physician prescribing a yoga practice for you. Research has shown that yoga helps:
~ Manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back [pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress, tension, symptoms of menopause.
~ Improve muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
~ Improve concentration and creativity
~ Improve circulation
~ Stimulate the immune system
~ Create a sense of well-being and calm
~ Natural weight loss
From the physical benefits of flexibility, strength and balance to the clarity of thought and peace of mind, yoga helps us to develop qualities within ourselves to age gracefully. Whether you begin your practice in your 20s or 70s, the benefits of the practice are the same.
Developed in India over 5000 years ago, yoga is the union of mind, body and spirit. Yoga allows us to develop a greater awareness of our physical and psychological states. This unique discipline helps the individual integrate the body, the mind and the spirit. As these are integrated individuals find that their emotions, actions and intelligence become more balanced.
The reasons why people decide to try yoga are as varied as the individual. It may be that they have observed the benefits their friends have received. Or perhaps their physician has recommended the practice. It is a practice that is accessible to everyone. Yogis in their 20s and 30s may have a strong, energetic practice. Practitioners in their 40s and 50s may feel the physical changes of like like joint stiffness, slowing metabolism and longer recovery, and their practice allows them to work on their flexibility, balance and strength. Yogis in their 60s and beyond find the benefits of working on balance and range of motion and agility essential.
It doesn’t matter if you’re flexible; we come to our mats to become more flexible. It doesn’t matter if you can fly, do an inversion, turn yourself into a pretzel, or have a pretty Vinyasa flow. What matters is getting in touch with your true essence…letting yuor light shine…your inner beauty blossom, and caring for yourself.
We often hear during our practice “Honor your body…for it is your practice on your mat.” and I am so thankful for that: otherwise I would never participate.
Article by Michelle Kaiser, Southern Pines Yoga, featured in the February issue of Pinehurst Magazine.