What is yoga, besides just a series of poses for stretching? Yoga is a form of nonaerobic exercise that involves precise postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.
In ancient Sanskrit, the word yoga means union. Yoga is a way of life that combines ethical standards, dietary guidelines, physical movements, and meditation to create a union of mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is said to cultivate prana, which means vital energy or life force; similar to qi (or chi) in traditional Chinese medicine. People who practice yoga claim it leads to a state of physical health, relaxation, happiness, and tranquility.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years as a life philosophy to join the individual self with the higher consciousness.
A growing number of individuals in the United States practice yoga in this way; the majority rather practice yoga as part of an exercise program to increase general health, reduce stress, improve flexibility and muscle strength, and alleviate certain physical symptoms; chronic pain in particular. Because yoga is a low-impact activity and includes gentle movements, it is commonly used as part of physical therapy and rehabilitation of injuries.
Growing interest in alternative and complementary medicine has increased the popularity of yoga in the United States and spurred further research into its medical benefits. Clinical and psychological studies have demonstrated that performing yoga has the following benefits:
Physical postures strengthen and tone muscles, and when performed in rapid succession, can provide cardiovascular conditioning.
Meditation and deep breathing can reduce stress, thereby lowering blood pressure and inducing relaxation.
Mind/body awareness can influence mood and self-esteem to improve quality of life.
Currently I am training to become a yoga instructor as I work steadily towards mastery. More on my story in future issues, but for now I am ecstatically looking forward to training individuals at Inner Synergy this coming winter.
Want to stay limber for the coming winter months? Just a small handful of different yoga poses for 20-40 minutes a day will give your body, big or small, young or old, just what it needs. Long-term yoga will make your inner and outer world more flexible and balanced. If you are interested in joining an introductory yoga session, please call Inner Synergy or check in on our website to sign up for our email list. Remember to always check with your healthcare practitioner before beginning any new exercise program.
Namaste (“Salutations to You”)