Yoga: One Workout Away from a Better Mood
By Debra Rodzinak
Namaste comes from an ancient Sanskrit greeting that roughly means, “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you.” This phrase is uttered at the end of most yoga classes.
Many people look at yoga and see a bunch of arms and legs twisted into uncomfortable positions. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yoga is the practice of bringing awareness and harmony to the mind and body.
Benefits of Yoga
As with many wellness approaches, yoga focuses on preventive measures to heal the body. Although stretching is a part of yoga, it is not the only part of yoga. The first step any newcomer learns in yoga is not stretching, but breathing. Breathing, meditation, and maintaining balance through poses is the core of yoga, not seeing how far you can stretch.
Using relaxation techniques during yoga to retain focus can lower blood pressure, and lessen body pains such as back pain, headaches, and stiffness due to arthritis. Other benefits include:
- Increased flexibility
- Decreased stress
- Improved energy
- Protection from injury
- Reduction of insomnia
- Weight reduction
Along with the many physical benefits of yoga, possibly the best benefit of yoga is the power it gives a person to manage stress. Stress in the mind can show up as pain in the body. Pain in the neck and back, headaches, problems sleeping, and trouble concentrating are common symptoms of stress. Yoga trains the mind to learn coping skills and use them to create a more positive outlook on life.
Through the use of breathing techniques and meditation, yoga works on the inner self, not just the outer body. Practicing yoga on a regular basis trains a person to develop mental clarity, calmness in the mind, and increase awareness in the body and where stress develops. By recognizing areas of the body where stress collects, early detection is crucial in preventive action.
With so many different forms of yoga to choose from, anyone can start at any level. The great advantage to yoga is that no matter what size, shape, or physical fitness level you are currently, you can begin a yoga regime today. The only “equipment” you need is your own body. However, many people choose to purchase a yoga mat, stretching block, and yoga pants to make their yoga practice as comfortable as possible. Yoga is a wonderful tool to add to your wellness lifestyle.