What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a Hindu ancient practice that helps create a sense of union in body, mind, and spirit. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yoke, join or unite. This implies joining or integrating all aspects of the individual – body with mind and mind with soul – to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life, and spiritually, uniting the individual with the supreme. Yoga is not a religion. People from all walks of life are welcome to practice yoga without concern over their spiritual beliefs being hindered. Yoga is a positive, life-affirming practice that has the power to heal and transform into greater health and wholeness.
Along with countless benefits (some of which will surprise you in the best of ways), yoga brings us back into balance. Although yoga is more than simply stretching, or moving through asanas (poses), most yoga practices and classes are centered on this aspect of yoga. Breathwork and meditation are also strong components to a yoga practice.
Who can practice yoga?
Anyone can practice yoga – whether you have chronic health issues, are a senior citizen, overweight, underweight, a child, a new mom, a veteran, and anyone in-between. We at Yoga 4 Peace believe and teach the philosophy: yoga is for everyone. Size and fitness level do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Physical Benefits of Yoga
- Yoga creates a toned, flexible, and strong body.
- Improves respiration, energy, and vitality.
- Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism.
- Promotes cardio and circulatory health.
- Relieves pain.
- Helps you look and feel younger than your age.
- Improves your athletic performance.
There are more and more medical studies being conducted on the positive effects of yoga. A growing number of doctors are finding success in following the lead of cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish by incorporating yoga into their patient recovery programs.
Mental Benefits of Yoga
What does your yoga practice have to do with getting you through a traffic jam? A lot, actually. Not that you’ll be stretching necessarily (although this could help too), but you’ll find that your yoga practice will give you tools to increase your ability to relax and handle stressful situations more easily. It is far better to live in a calm mind than a stressed and chaotic mind, and yoga—gently and compassionately—helps us get there.
Everyone has a different experience and finds different benefits in their yoga practice. Some of the most commonly-reported feedback about how yoga benefits the mind include:
- Yoga teaches you how to quiet the mind so you can focus your energy where you want it to go – into a difficult yoga pose, at home, in the office, etc.
- Yoga teaches you to focus on breathing while you hold the poses. This attention to breath is calming; it dissolves stress and anxiety. You can take what you learn on the mat into your world—when you’re experiencing an unpleasant emotion, like frustration or anger.
- Self-acceptance, positive thinking, and greater mind-body awareness, which translate to a sounder state of being internally.
Spiritual Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is practiced by people from all religions; it is non-denominational. Yoga teaches “right” living in how we deal with ourselves and others. In learning new poses, or finding challenges within poses, yoga teaches us patience, forgiveness, and the value of gentleness. These are universal spiritual values that support and nourish us.