At the end of my first yoga class, I felt myself looking around during final relaxation, wondering how in the world the class thought lying flat on our backs with our eyes shut, palms and feet open, was comfortable. It wasn’t until I began to really embrace and value the time I spent practicing yoga that I started to notice its many effects. While people may assume yoga’s effects are only physical, yoga can benefit many other aspects of life as well.
Through yoga, we are able to gain a sense of awareness of our bodies and thoughts. With a calm nervous system, we may become aware of our breath as we slowly inhale through the nose and exhale back through the nose. With every inhalation, we are able to breathe in positive energy. With every exhalation, we can throw away all of our negative thoughts. Taking a moment to breathe helps to relax our minds and bodies, creating a positive mind-body connection. This mindfulness can make it easier for us to notice sensations and focus on our present state.
By being consciously aware of how our bodies feel and what our bodies can and cannot do, we are able to get the most out of each yoga session. This awareness can lead to greater relaxation and better posture in our every day lives. Take advantage of the modifications instructors give, as the most effective yoga is when we challenge our bodies to work to their fullest potential without pushing ourselves to discomfort. One day we may be able to hold an intricate balance pose, and the next we may struggle to stay balanced with both feet grounded.
We must listen to our bodies. Accept the fact that we aren’t always able to do the highest, most challenging yoga poses, and appreciate the peace and positive energy yoga brings to us. Knowing how far to push our bodies and when to stop is key to maintaining an enjoyable lifetime of yoga practice.
Yoga can also help relieve muscle pain, tension or fatigue. Yoga invites participants to take the time to move through each pose, thoroughly stretching our muscles. With the breath we establish, we are able to provide an adequate amount of oxygen to nourish our muscles through our workout, so we don’t run the risk of injury.
Through regular yoga practice, we are able to strengthen our muscles and gain flexibility and balance. We may also begin to feel less worn out or out of breath during exercise. By clearing our minds during practice, we can reduce stress and ultimately formulate strategies to calm our minds and bodies in stressful situations. Taking a few deep yoga breaths can sometimes be all it takes.
While I may have been skeptical during my first class, I now find yoga to be an essential part of my life and feel my body yearning for just one more minute of final relaxation during each practice. My passion for yoga has even leaded me to teach classes at my school’s student recreation complex. I have discovered how truly warm and welcoming yoga is and reap the benefits of regular practice. In my classes, I welcome participants by using “we language,” talking in terms of “we,” “us” and “our” instead of “you.”
In just a short amount of time, I saw my attitude and outlook on life become more positive and found myself handing stressful situations in a much more calm manner. Yoga has made me appreciate each of life’s moments, whether good or bad. With regular yoga practice, I know I can live up to my fullest potential.
I encourage everyone to give yoga a try. Take some time out of your day to focus on clearing your mind and relaxing your body. After all, it has to be better than doing homework.
By: Liz Stratman | Image Credit: 1
Great writing. Yoga is really good for people, I for one, love it!