What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient and modern practice that reunites the body, breath, mind and emotions. While many people think of yoga as stretching, yoga includes physical movement/postures, breath management, mindful awareness, meditation, practical strategies for social engagement and personal disciplines.
How can yoga help me reach my goals of health and wholeness?
The goal of yoga is also wholeness, bringing together all facets of ourselves—mind/body/spirit, our best…and our worst…selves. We welcome our entire experience, find understanding and choose the best path forward. Best of all, yoga offers practices that, over time, help us do just that. Here are a few ways this works.
Movement and postures
This is probably what most people are familiar with—people in yoga poses. But, what’s happening in those poses? In yoga we learn to pay attention to sensations in our bodies. Ease, tension, discomfort have something important to tell us. We also learn to be very realistic about ourselves. Our bodies change, not only over time, but from day to day and from morning to night. We learn to adapt, moving in ways that work for us in each moment.
Our breath affects the chemistry of our bodies, our health and our mood. Throughout a yoga session, we return our attention to our breath, noticing its rhythms and patterns, learning from them. Beyond awareness, we learn to channel our breath to affect our moods and energy levels.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Our practice with the body and breath becomes the foundation for awareness of all that is going on in our minds—feelings, thoughts, emotions—without becoming entangled in them or pushing them away. Within this space we can listen to the information they bring and decide how best to respond. Returning over and over again to our body and breath enhances the ability to focus attention. Awareness and focus are both instrumental to therapeutic work.
Social Engagement and Personal Disciplines
Like therapy, sincere practice of yoga over time can have a positive influence on the ways we engage with others. As our awareness and understanding for ourselves grows, so does our understanding of others. Integrating mind and body, finding wholeness gives us the energy to move forward toward our heart’s desire.
I’m not flexible and can’t touch my toes.
No problem. First, if you can’t touch your toes, you’re in good company. Second, people around you will probably be relieved that they aren’t the only ones. Finally, remember that the practice of yoga is soooo much more than the poses. That said, we know that trying new things can be intimidating. Below are a few ideas for getting started.
- Try a class—you don’t have to make a commitment
- Try our adaptive class if you have some physical limitations
- Reach out to our instructor, Joanne, with questions or concerns
- Arrange a private session
Joanne Rogers, RYT, Joanne@mindfulx.site
Already practicing yoga and/or meditation? Sometimes along the journey to wholeness, we all need a little extra care. If your practice is stirring up thoughts or emotions that are too big to handle, consider reaching out to one of our therapists.