"Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind." ~Patanjali, translated from Sanskrit
Yoga is an ancient art that harmonizes the body, mind and spirit. Yoga can provide many benefits. All ages and abilities can do it, and continued practice of yoga will result in a sense of peace and well-being. Sometimes people think, "I can't do all those pretzel moves", so they shy away from yoga. Yoga involves stretching, and it ultimately will make your body more strong and flexible. There are also claims that the practice of yoga will improve the functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. Yoga also brings about emotional stability and clarity of mind.
I talked to one of my relatives about yoga. She attends a yoga class once a week, for one and one half hours. She enjoys the benefits of relaxation, strengthening, decreased anxiety and has even gained a bit of height due to all the stretching! Her licensed yoga instructor teaches Face Yoga, and there are many different types of yoga. She is in a class of 16 other people, and the room is warm and comfortable. At the end of the session, the lights are turned down, and the participants are covered in blankets. Relaxing, instrumental music is played. Another big part of yoga for her is the breathing exercises, such as belly breathing and back breathing.
I also talked to a good friend of mine who is a yoga instructor, and she said she does yoga for the "great stretch and challenge the muscles get. It is also a great clearing of the mind...and it replenishes energy." She goes on to say that it's great "me" time. She tells her students to put their thoughts of the day aside and that they can deal with them later. She says that yoga "should not be competitive with the person beside you, but a questioning of the self. Moving into stillness. It is the hardest thing to do!" At the end of the class, the person should feel relaxed, but energized and clear-headed, ready to take on any challenge and make good decisions. She goes on to say that people nowadays do not move their bodies enough, or, they do too much in their long day and that stress makes our muscles tighten and joints stiff. Yoga helps move the body in a gentle way. She ends with, "We must learn to relax, before we sleep so the body can get the proper rest it needs. The deep breathing or 'hatha' helps to regulate the body's energies and calm the mind and release stress so that good rest is possible."
My daughter took a yoga class at our local community club. It was for young girls. She really enjoyed it. We also have a DVD that we have enjoyed and we do the "corpse pose" and the "warrior pose" in each session. It is very easy to follow along.
If you are looking for a way to help balance body, mind and spirit, this is a good way to start. There are many DVD's, books, and yoga classes that you can check out. I searched, "yoga" on youtube.com, and it returned 184,000 hits. I encourage you to give yoga a try!
Have a wonderful day!