Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yoga for Life

With its quiet, precise movements, Yoga draws your focus away from your busy, chaotic day and toward calm as you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration, according to the Mayo Clinic.

This works.  

I began my Yoga practice nearly two years ago when I met Pilar Redmond at the local farmers' market.  Newly certified as a Yoga instructor, she was looking for a place to offer classes.  I offered my home and gathered a few friends and neighbors to meet Friday afternoons to see what all this Yoga hoopla was all about. None of us had practiced Yoga.  

Our age ranged from mid 40s to mid 60s and we were mainly women.  We all varied in our fitness levels and we all attended with with our injuries and ailments. Pilar's manner was calming and accepting of our varied abilities. She was creative in weaving together poses or asanas into an artistic flow of movement.

We all began to look forward to our Friday afternoons with Yoga and Pilar.  We started noticing how calm and relaxed we felt after class.  A significant decrease in mind chatter was noted.  The breathing exercises along with the movement pulled us into the moment, bringing focus to the present.  This exercise opened space in our minds for just being.

Our shared Yoga experience has brought us through our own life experiences. Together in practice we live through cancer, divorce, death, injuries, losing a home, birth of children and grandchildren, unemployment, new employment, advanced degrees, authoring books and more.  

Today, with newly developed strength, we are holding poses we did not know our bodies could.  According to the Mayo Clinic, Yoga might help with a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, by helping with sleep problems, fatigue and mood. Yoga also can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure.  As you learn and refine new poses, you may enjoy improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you're less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured, says B.K.S. Iyengar.
See for yourself.  Yoga Journal offers a plethora of information such podcasts and videos for all levels.