Yoga is an ancient Eastern science that was developed thousands of years ago. It was originally designed as a method of disciplines and attitudes to help people reach spiritual enlightenment. It is not a religion but a living philosophy, giving us the power to change our lives and find new vision…to find peace in a chaotic world and compassion that will radiate from every aspect of ones self. The practice of yoga teaches us to live life more fully.
You can benefit from yoga practice both mentally and physically. Consciously controlled breathing is the foundation and accounts for 50% of a typical yoga practice. This allows oxygen to be delivered the body and brain and calms the sympathetic nervous system so that we experience peace and a positive attitude towards life. Most other forms of stress management focus on breath control as well. The deep stretching exercises lengthen our muscles and improve flexibility of the spine and other joints. Holding the poses for a length of time increases strength, stamina, and balance. Because our tissues hold issues, emotional pain can also be eased through the gentle movements. Studies have demonstrated a reduction in pain with patients who established a regular asana (posture) and meditation practice.
When you choose to incorporate yoga as part of your healthy lifestyle, there are a few things to remember whether you practice at home or in a studio. Always listen to your body. This is called yoga practice not yoga perfect. It is important to let go of any images you may have concerning perfection. We like to say…”make the pose fit your body, not your body fit the pose” and honor our strengths as well as our limits. Let go of any judgment, expectation, or sense of competition you may have. This practice is meant to bring us JOY. Have fun.
Clothing should be comfortable. A loose fitting shirt however, may end up around your neck in the downward dog pose. Make sure you can tuck your shirt in if it is not a close fitting top. Socks are slippery…. barefoot is best and gives us the grip necessary to establish a strong foundation to rise out of. One may want to dress in layers as this will help while warming up and also to keep us warm during final relaxation.
Yoga works best when you are fully digested. Eating light before class is helpful due to the nature of the the postures (i.e. inverting). Be sure to drink after practice. We lose fluids not only through perspiration, but also through our breath work. The twisting and folding you experience through a class is working to detoxify the body. Fresh water will not only re-hydrate, but will also help to remove toxins.
Turn cell phones off before a class and avoid wearing any scented products for those who are sensitive to smell. You have set this time aside and cultivating a space that is conducive to centering yourself is imperative.
End your class or practice with the traditional sealing phrase ….. NAMASTE’. This is a sign of respect from teacher to student and student to teacher, honoring the divine light that shines within each of us.
Peace Tree Yoga meets you where you are physically. All levels are welcome!