If your life has been as hectic and chaotic as mine since before the holidays, then you, too, might be looking for some inspiration to get more physical. I didn’t realize how much I miss my regular yoga routine until I read this guest post by Sarah Stevenson (a.k.a. The Tini Yogini).
I have been practicing yoga for about 10 years now. I took my first class shortly after my son was born. The moment he looked into my eyes, I had an awakening of a peace and tranquility that I’d never been aware of—and from that moment, I embarked on a journey to seek out ways to keep this peace awake inside me.
Eventually, this search drew me to yoga and there I found the peace I was looking for.
Today, as an instructor, I have such a fervent desire to share the benefits that yoga has brought me with any who care to learn. Here is what I have found from my personal practice:
Strengthens the body
Yoga poses are held in place for 5 to 10 breaths. You are using your own body weight to place resistance on your muscles. As is the case with any resistance exercise, this creates tiny tears in the muscle tissue. When your body senses the tears, healer cells are sent to the site to heal and build new fibers that increase the size and strength of the muscle. Many poses offer the benefit of weight bearing exercise in which your muscle works against gravity. Which builds and strengthens bones, creating increased bone density.
Calms the mind
The flow of the asanas (poses) and constant focus on breath is very healing to the mind. The Ujjayi breath is used in yoga throughout the entire class. It is characterized by deep inhale through the nose in which the belly expands outward and deep exhales through the nose in which the belly sinks inward. Narrowing the throat passage creates an “ocean sound” as the breath brushes against the back of the throat. The inhalations and exhalations are equal in duration, and are controlled in a manner. Ujjayi is a balancing and calming breath, which increases oxygenation and builds internal body heat.
Yoga combines body positions that allow you to get in touch with various joints in the body, especially ones that are rarely seen or exercised. Without a yoga practice it is likely that some of these joints would go completely untouched in a lifetime.
Lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
Yoga asanas exercise different tendons and ligaments in your body. With a consistent practice you can enter a class with a very rigid body and quite quickly become more flexible and supple. Why? Seemingly unrelated, nonassertive yoga poses act upon certain parts of the body in a symbiotic way. When these poses flow together they make flexibility possible and attainable in a seemingly short period of time.
Massages all organs of the body
Yoga is likely the only known form of exercise that is able to massage each and every organ in the body. This includes the prostate – which hardly gets externally stimulated during an entire lifetime. Yoga acts in a holistic manner on each of your body parts. When our organs lay sedentary we are prone to disease and eventually death of function. Stimulated organs are healthy organs.
Stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the organs provides optimum blood supply to various parts of the body. This aids in the clearing out of toxins from every corner of the body as well as providing nourishment up to the last point. This leads to the benefits of delayed aging, energy and an unshakable zest for life.
These are only a few of the scores of benefits. The practice of yoga harmonizes the body, mind and soul in a natural, safe way. When these three are connected you find that you have the ability to accomplish incredible physical and mental tasks. Yoga has changed my life and I know it can do the same for you.
About the Author
Sarah Stevenson (a.k.a. The Tini Yogini) is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Southern California. She has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches not only yoga classes but also life affirming workshops. She also writes for Beachbody, which provides effective and popular workout videos and health products including the Ultimate Reset Cleanse and P90X2 Workouts.
That’s it! I’m scheduling yoga into this week’s action plan. Oh ya. Who’s with me?