Yoga to Benefit Health and Wellbeing
What is “health” and how can yoga help? According to the dictionary, health is:
- the state of being free from illness or injury.
- “he was restored to health”
- a person’s mental or physical condition.
- “bad health forced him to retire
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health is the most universally accepted definition. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Think about your health as a continuum than spans your lifetime. The human body itself wants to be healthy; strives to sustain and maintain a constant state of equilibrium, of balance. Disease is exactly what the word implies, dis-ease, a lack of ease in the whole being. Disease manifests most noticeably in the physical body but disease can permeate or originate in any of the many aspects of our total presence.
A steady state of “ease” requires balance within our “whole” selves. Different cultures and religions call the parts or layers by different names but essentially they are similar. Basically, we are comprised of mind, body and spirit (or soul.) This is where yoga comes in. The root of the word yoga is “yoke” which means “union.” We practice yoga to unite and balance our bodies, minds and spirits.
Yoga is more than the physical poses most people in the West think of as yoga. Yoga is a way of life that incorporates exercise, mindfulness, meditation, self inquiry/reflection and service to community. Studies show that a regular yoga/mindfulness practice has numerous benefits. Here’s just 10 to get you interested:
- Improves balance
- Increases flexibility/mobility
- Improves posture
- Aids digestion
- Helps reduce negative effects of stress
- Improves focus and concentration
- Increases muscle strength and tone
- Improves sleep
- Increases energy and stamina
- Improves overall sense of well-being
There is a yoga style and class for everyone. All shapes, sizes, ages and genders are welcome. Props and modifications are available for all poses to accommodate those with physical limitations. It is a judgement-free atmosphere where all are students, even the teacher. Most studios have mats you can borrow or rent so you do not need to buy anything to start. Wear comfortable clothing you can easily move around in and a bottle of water if you want.
Find a studio or gym and take a beginner or gentle class to start. My hope is that you will feel great during and after class, even the next day. Maybe you will take another class then another….