Benefits of Yoga

What are the benefits of Yoga that make so many people today fill into yoga studios?

Yoga for You

By Tana Saler
When you take care of your car and home, are you into maintenance, or repair? What about your body? Do you wait until something goes wrong, and then seek a way to fix it? Or, do you constantly maintain your body with care, to keep it running well?

Going back to – according to some – the beginning of civilization, Yoga brings to the West the ancient wisdom of India. The meaning of Yoga is Unity. Body-mind-spirit is regarded as an inseparable entity, functioning at its best when communication flows freely between its subsystems. When the body is strong and flexible, so is the mind.

A healthy body is conducive to positive attitudes and values. How can you maintain a happy thought when you have a toothache? The reverse is also true: a strong, focused and trained mind can determine the fate of the body. Dedicated yogis have demonstrated this mind-over-matter truth through levitation, walking on fire, lying on a bed of nails with no trace of body harm, and, no less spectacular, healing body organs.

Looking at yoga from the purely physical level, it is an effective body-management activity. In a yoga practice, you stretch, twist, hold and balance your body in various postures. Taken apart from its philosophy, yoga can be practiced like a sport; and it is, in many fitness centers.

The unity is achieved when the yoga practice brings together your body’s activity, with your breath, and your focused attention (your mind). Totally non-competitive, your yoga practice is never about proving yourself, or being better than the neighbor. It is all about you fulfilling your potential, and working to the limits of your own possibility.

You will often hear yoga teachers prompting you to listen to your body, and hold any posture for as long as it’s right for you. Some types of yoga, like Iyengar Yoga, use props, such as bolsters, foam blocs and wooden bricks, to accommodate any body type, regardless of one’s level of fitness. This means that yoga is inclusive, rather than exclusive, and absolutely anyone can benefit from practicing it, at any age and type of body.

What are the benefits of yoga for you? On the physical level, your muscles are elongated, giving you a more flexible body. In a lifestyle where stress is an everyday reality, our muscles tend to tense and lock up on our joints, restricting our movement, and leading to chronic pain. If you have an office occupation, and you sit for long periods of time, some groups of your muscles lock in a position that restricts movement in other muscles.

Are you familiar with computer-induced back pain? If yes, welcome to the 21st century in the Western world! Yoga will restore your body to balance, it will massage your internal organs into health; it will strengthen your core, and shape up the intelligence of

You become better coordinated and balanced. Your ribcage capacity expands with regular, proper practice, which means, you breathe better and deeper. Breathing deeper is living your life deeper: your breath is your life! In fact, your breath is the vehicle for Chi, or Prana, which is your life force energy.

Mentally, you become more focused and alert. You learn to be in the “now” with each asana (posture) that you hold. And the ultimate goal, your spiritual growth, is achieved when the vessel for Spirit, which is your own body, becomes strong enough to hold the light of your soul.

Written for Wellness-Life-Coach,

by Tana Saler , an Ottawa based writer and Holistic Practitioner.

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