This is my lovely pink yoga mat, which I am truly bonded to. I get a sense of peace just looking at it. Why? Because I know when I've completed my practice for the day, I AM going to feel relaxed, centered and ready to focus on the day. Over the years, there may been such misconceptions and mysticism surrounding the word "yoga". Although the beginnings of yoga was developed in Northern India over 5000 years ago, the practice has much to do with cleansing the body, mind and prolonging life. The biggest misconception is yoga being a religion. It is not. Yoga is a Sanskrit word which simply means "union" or "to join". The English word "yoke" is also derived from yoga. When I first started practicing yoga, I soon realized it wasn't just a focus on exercise, but a mental discipline. While I was accustomed to sweat-drenching, heart-racing workout at my local fitness center, I realized I needed to incorporate a routine which helped move energetic fields in my body which allowed my body to heal itself. Yoga simply helps me achieve one thing: oneness with myself. It isn't necessary that you focus solely on yoga for physical fitness. However, it has been proven that stretching will help:
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.
By utilizing yoga meditation and breathing practices, one can improve their own mental well-being. I practice yoga regularly due to my "monkey mind" and inability to focus on small tasks. My mind tends to go many directions at once...it's just the way my creative mind is wired. However, my practice helps create mental clarity and calmness, relaxes my mind and helps me become more centered.
Now, I should warn you, - although yoga looks easy, I can assure you, it is not. However, don't let that frighten you. The benefits of yoga far outweigh any temporary discomforts. As with anything new, it takes practice to become better at it. While there are many yoga practices, beginners may find it difficult getting started. In order to assist you, I have included a link to Yoga Health Foundation's website, which allows you to sign up for a FREE 1-WEEK yoga class, offered at over 1600+ participating studios nationally. Be sure to sign up as the offer expires September 2017.
I truly hope find a class in your area and experience the wonder mind, body, spirit benefits of yoga.
Regina Thomas Dillard is the author of "FEED: Living Food Recipes to be Made and Eaten with Love", and founder of Inner + Sanctum Wellness, a business dedicated to assist others as they embark on their holistic journey. All products are handmade and sourced from reputable organic and natural ingredients purveyors.