I Love Yoga!

Anyone who has ever watched a toddler or young child at play has probably, consciously or not, observed yoga poses.

No one can be sure of the exact origins of the ancient Indian practice, but I sometimes feel that the stretching, squatting, and balancing of children had something to do with it! At any rate, the workout you get from seemingly simple moves works every part of the body—from your toes to your neck—and it really feels good.

For anybody starting out, learning to do the correct way of breathing along with the asanas (poses) is essential. Since I now have a firm grasp of the postures, I’ve been creating my own sessions at home for the past
couple of months. While I’m doing yoga on my own, I feel like I can hear my instructor’s voice telling me to make necessary corrections! I’m using a book I bought awhile back entitled Yoga for Beginners. Despite its title, it contains an intermediate workout as well as information about meditation. One of the best things about the book is that it’s spiral-bound and can stand next to your mat for easy reference while you are learning the series of exercises.

As with any physical training program, you can do as much or as little as you want; even a few minutes doing simple stretches during the day is helpful. It’s best to do all of the stretching and twisting of
a full yoga workout on an empty stomach. Having a room set up with your mat would be ideal, but I just drag my mat out into the family room twice a week. I usually spend 40 to 45 minutes in the morning, starting out and finishing up with five minutes in “corpse pose” relaxing. The benefits are nothing short of amazing. When I took my first yoga class decades ago, I immediately noticed a boost in my energy level. You find, too, that your body responds to the poses; you improve. There are things that I can do now, like sitting back on my heels without killing my knees or doing "down dog" without my wrists aching, that I couldn’t manage for long at the beginning. Yoga also improves your balance through the practice of asanas like tree pose. Regulating your breathing reduces stress and brings a sense of tranquility. In fact, the 16-18 million practitioners of yoga in the U.S. include groups of New York City cabbies who use it to combat road rage in their profession.

All in all, yoga makes you more aware of your body. If you’re interested in the philosophy behind it and its spirituality aspects, you can sign up for a free Yoga Journal, delivered to your inbox once a week. I hope you’ll give it a try. Namaste!

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