Moving Your Body and Breath through the Power of Yoga
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
From my own experience, I have found that regular yoga practice promotes Wholistic Wellbeing by easing tension in my mind, body, and soul. When our breathing improves, as it does with the paschimottanasana yoga group of movements, we can increase our endurance for other activities. Last, but not least, of course, yoga promotes mindfulness. As a seeker, I embrace all aspects of healthy living that promote wellbeing of the body and mind.
Hatha yoga is the yoga of “forceful effort” (hatha). The name comes from the Sanskrit ha, meaning sun, and tha, meaning moon. Unlike today, when Hatha is most closely associated with the practice of asana, for the first 400 or 500 years of its development the practice was primarily focused on breathing (pranayama) and the supplementary exercises known as seals (mudra) and bonds (bandha). The practice of asana was limited to mostly sitting poses.
Another example of a yoga breathing exercise is purvatana, poses done during inhalation. They focus on chest expansion, where the body actively moves against gravity. Doing these poses will energize your active mind – so helpful to those of us who must accomplish myriad tasks and overcome daily challenges.
There’s a strong relationship between the frequency of yoga practice and psychological wellbeing, especially for older women, according to the study ‘Yoga Experience as a Predictor of Psychological Wellness in Women Over 45 years.’ The researchers found that over time, women who did yoga became more serene under pressure, showed more interest and satisfaction in life, had a stronger sense of purpose, found more meaning in their work, and developed lower levels of anxiety, worried less, and approached life with a sense of self-confidence, self-worth, and hope.
“You’re only as young as your spine is flexible,” a yoga teacher told her class.
Parivrtta means twist. This group of poses strengthens your spine and helps correct any misalignment of the axis and is performed during exhalation, with focus on the abdomen as it contracts.
So many scientific studies prove how yoga can benefit us. With my own Indian culture and Eastern healing modalities as a deep part of my background, I can say with pride that yoga has benefitted civilization for hundreds of years, at least. Western medicine is working to catch up with what we have known for a long, long time.
I encourage you to look into yoga, no matter your age and circumstance. Speaking from my heart and soul, I attest to the world of benefits it can bring you.