Yoga is a system of asanas, meditations, and breath control that has been available to us for centuries. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali recommends yoga to “still the fluctuations of the mind.” Amazingly, yoga works to quiet the mind even as it stretches and strengthens the body.
A yoga practice might be right for you if:
- You already have a fitness program that includes high-energy activities such as running, biking, or weight lifting.
Yoga is a perfect balance to a high voltage fitness routine. It provides the perfect YIN to the energetic YANG that you’re offering your body by giving your body a space to integrate your workout and calm your mind.
- You have an ideal body weight that you’re working towards.
While a strong yoga practice can cause you to drop pounds, yoga works on your body image by making you more aware of your body. As your ability to tune in and listen to your needs increases, your desire for eating unhealthy foods or over-eating naturally diminishes. You’ll find yourself making healthier choices intuitively.
- You are recovering from an illness or injury.
Yoga has a history of helping people rise above limitations. BKS Iyengar, one of the fathers of modern day yoga, began his practice unable to leave his bed. Today, he is a pinnacle of a healthy yogi. No matter how you feel physically, yoga postures can be adapted that will help your body achieve it’s highest and best.
- You are preparing for or recovering from birth.
Pregnancy is a unique and special time in a woman’s life. Often, doctor’s tell us to cut back on more extreme exercises during this time of expectancy. Yoga will help gently prepare your body for birth, or assist you in recovery and offer special bonding with your new baby.
- You want to gain more flexibility.
As you practice yoga, you’ll find tight muscles lengthening as brittle fascia loosens. Yoga also offers strength building — the ideal practice combines sthira and sukha – strength and ease.
- You want to calm stress and strong emotions.
In learning and practicing the postures and breathing of yoga, the mind naturally begins to calm down as the heart rate slows and the stress hormone cortisol eases in the body. Yoga encourages activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is your body’s natural stress relief. The effects of yoga radiate in your life up to 48 hours after you complete your physical practice.