What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice designed to unite or yoke the energy of mind, body and spirit. It is as relevant today as it was 5000 years ago in developing grace, stamina, strength, flexibility and balance within the body, mind, and breath. This holistic practice promotes not only physical healing, but emotional well being. There are many yoga traditions and lineages. The Sivananda tradition condenses yoga into 5 main principles which form the basis for a balanced lifestyle. They include 1) exercise, 2) breathing, 3) relaxation, 4) diet, and 5) positive thinking/meditation.
Yoga postures keep the body strong and flexible. We move with awareness and this mindful approach aids us in the path to physical healing and mental well being.
Learning how to breathe properly increases vitality, decreases stress and helps calm the mind. Pain, anxiety and depression are greatly reduced when we tune into the power of our breath.
Modern living keeps us in a constant state of tension and drains our life force and energy. In yoga we learn how to physically and mentally relax the body and mind, and tap into the heart center. Through this process we are rejuvenated; experiencing well being, ease and greater mental clarity. Yoga can help us regain our equilibrium.
Diet is an integral part of the yogic lifestyle. What we consume ultimately affects not only the body but the mind and spirit. Ahimsa or non-violence is the cornerstone of yogic philosophy. We are encouraged to respect and limit our use of the earth’s natural resources. “Eat to live and not live to eat” reminds us to consume less, give more and live simply. Yoga helps bring awareness to those battling weight issues and eating disorders.
“We become what we think”. Regular meditation helps us improve our concentration and ability to quiet the mind. Meditation supports positive thinking, brings awareness into our daily routines, and creates a path to God which ultimately supports our spiritual journey. The fruits of meditation are peace, happiness and contentment.
Yoga is not a religion but a practice that invites the integration of one’s faith and beliefs into its simple but profound methodology. In a modern culture plagued by stress and over stimulation, yoga offers an alternative path to optimal health. This powerful medium can help us deepen our understanding and awareness of the body and reveals our incredible potential for self healing that waits to be uncovered.