I was recently interviewed on the Local Radio Station Triple H and was asked the following questions
“What is it about Yoga that is so good for us”?
I think that is a different question to “what are the benefits of Yoga” which are well documented and I will go to that huge question shortly. Below was my reply……
Yoga is good for us in so many areas, not just the body, not just the breathing practices that assist in strengthening our lungs, not just the mindfulness and calming effects yoga has on our mental state. It is all of these things, together. A Union of Body, Mind, Breath and Soul consciousness….. (an awareness of self)!
The fact that the practices of yoga, and there are many, come together to form a whole. An wholistic approach to create a balanced and healthy person, where nothing is more important than what you can give to yourself in a non threatening, non competitive environment. This is why Yoga is so good for us, short and sweet.
“Why Hatha Yoga? What is Hatha Yoga”?
Most western Yoga can be classified as Hatha Yoga. It is the Physical Practices of Body, Mind, Breath/Spirit that ultimately assist us toward the goal of finding stillness in Meditation. As a result of the physical activity the body is prepared, the mind is prepared for stillness with less resistence. The purpose of all the physical pursuits in a Hatha class is simply to prepare the body for stillness!
“Can anyone practice Yoga, what could they expect afterwards”?
Yoga is for everybody, Every Age Group, Gender, Special needs…. Injuries are considered and practices modified to most suit the individual. A good teacher will find the best way to assist each person and then with practice and time the benefits become very clear. Even after the first class students report the feelings and benefits, usually energised, balanced, calm and free in the body and mind.
“And the long term benefits, what are they”?
A huge topic and so many benefits are being discovered all the time.
In summary the benefits include;
Builds muscle strength– assisting in fall prevention and supports joints.
Improves Flexibility – gradually loosening tightness in the muscles, aches and pains gradually start to fall away ( eg, back pain)
Improves body Posture – Through continued focus on lengthening the spine and maintaining the body awareness we begin to notice ourselves standing taller and more erect.
Bone Densisty – Can be increased as we weight bare in various body positions, (using our own body weight). Bone and Cartilage health will improve.
Protect the spine – by keeping the spine moving in all directions which helps to protect the spine.
Increases blood supply – to all parts of the body by movement.
Lymphatic system – is given a boost which ultimately improves our immune function.
Reduces Blood Pressure – as we work mindfully and with awareness of the breath we begin to relax and stay calm .
Relaxes the mind – when we consciously maintain a connection to our breathing we will tap into the ‘relaxation response’ which releases tension from the whole body, helps us to create a feeling of calmness as we work deeper into our meditation practices.
Improves Lung capacity and Breathing function which you may notice from the above benefits are all connected.
Concentration will improve as we focus our ‘one pointed’ attention of various body postures that are challenging or unusual eg., in balance postures.
Happiness, contentment, feelings of inner tranquility are benefits I see every day I teach a yoga class. Yoga People are very special!
There are so many benefits beyond the ones I chose to focus on during this article and should be investigated further if you are interested.
Remember too, if you are new to Yoga and have any concerns or if your health is compromised, consult your health professional before beginning any health regime.
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