When thinking back to my first yoga class, I recall the wonderful way it made me feel. Who knew this new found empowerment would become such a big part of my life! Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice which originated in India, and is enjoyed around the world. It is practiced regularly throughout the continent of Asia, and over the last twenty years, yoga's popularity has exploded throughout North America. A regular practice can have a profound change in thinking and attitude, in addition to providing the many physical benefits.
The primary focus of most yoga classes is to improve flexibility and strength (asana), but the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga! Yoga also includes breathing exercises (pranayama), chanting, meditation, yamas (the attitude we have towards others), and niyamas (how we relate to ourselves inwardly).
Yoga is your personal & spiritual journey, one which helps you unite with the Self. A regular yoga practice can take you to a state of self-realization, which ultimately allows you to experience inner peace.
Most people are initially attracted to the physical aspect of yoga, but with continued practice they realize that it goes well beyond the physical. The philosophy of yoga allows you to naturally start on your own spiritual yoga journey. When you discover your Self through yogic practices, a natural deep awareness is experienced. If you observe and study your mind, you will notice that your thoughts are either about the future or the past. Most of our issues and problems arise from our incapacity to transcend these constant thoughts. Through practice we learn to become more enlightened in our way of thinking. Yoga teaches us to be more mindful about what is happening in the "now" without judgment, and to embrace our experience in the present.
We are attached to our physical body; it is our body that takes us through life and towards immortality. Only when we fulfill our physical needs, can we start looking beyond. Yoga is not a religion; it's the science that helps control the mind. In order to progress in our personal yoga practice, we need to start with our mind. Through deep breathing and mindfulness, we control our mind.
Embrace your practice with mindfulness, breath and enjoyment.
In the months ahead check for future blogs on stress reduction,
and how to awaken your vitality!
"Proof that Yoga is so much more than Asanas" via Elephant Journal - www.elephantjournal.com
"Yoga is more than Asanas" via Speaking Tree - www.speakingtree.in/article/yogismorethanasanas
Barb is married and lives in London, Ontario. She has two wonderful step-daughters and two amazing step-grand daughters. Barb enjoys travelling and seeks out UNESCO World Heritage destinations around the globe. The history, culture & people she encounters along the way inspires her optimistic attitude and outlook on life.