Guest post by Mokshadharma Saraswati who belongs to the International Yoga Fellowship Movement and is a follower of Paramahamsa Niranjanananda of Bihar School of Yoga India. She currently teaches Hatha/Raja yoga in the Satyananda style in Chiang Khong, Thailand.
Yoga has been around since the time before Christ. Nothing lasts that long unless it works!
When I first started to do yoga I was much closer to 40 than 35. Back in those days yoga was still considered to be some “Hippy” phenomenon only practiced by alternative lifestyle folk. Thankfully , yoga has come a very long way since then. These days it is a highly respected Health and Wellness modality practiced by millions of people around the world. These people not only want to be fit and healthy, they want a recipe to relieve the stress and strain of maintaining a lifestyle while keeping all the different components of their lives in balance and harmony.
Yoga is not a religion, it is based on science. Think anatomy, biology, physiology, philosophy, and psychology. The word yoga means to “UNITE “so it is still considered a spiritual practice in the sense that it is a universal prayer for the wellbeing of all mankind.
I am not here to bore the pants off you by talking about science and philosophy. I am here to clarify for you why yoga works.
I admit I am a bit biased because I have been practicing for 26 years and I know what it has done for me personally. I have been teaching for 20 years and even though I am 65, I still teach yoga 3 or 4 days a week – sometimes 2 classes a day. I hope that encourages you to believe age is no barrier and there is a style of yoga to suit all ages, levels of fitness and personality type.
The health and wellness industry is huge all around the world. There is a plethora of attractive options for people to choose from. So what makes yoga special and unique?
Yoga is about getting out of your head and into your body
Imagine an apple! There is the outer skin and the inner layers that go right through to the inner core of the fruit. We have an outer skin also, and the benefits of the practices go deep into the inner layers through to the core of our being.
Yoga works on the physical body, creates equilibrium in the mind, stabilizes the emotions, expands breath and energy and soothes the heart and soul. It is much more than just a set of exercises. Yoga gives tangible benefits to the whole body by helping to maintain the balance and harmony we seek.
Yoga postures work on muscles, joints and ligaments, and they gently massage internal organs. They have beneficial effects on the systems of the body, like the immune system, nervous system, and digestive system. We become physically stronger, more supple and flexible, and we are able to enjoy more freedom of movement and stability. We feel energized and relaxed all at the same time. Tightness, stiffness and tensions are all eased away.
The good news is yoga stimulates all the “Happy hormones” and our moods and memory functions improve. We feel motivated, inspired, stimulated and creative. Yoga also strengthens the nervous system and the glands in the body that keep us on an even keel so they work more efficiently. Those happy hormones lift our spirits and negativity, depression and anxiety are replaced by optimism, renewed confidence and belief in one’s self and life in general. On days when the “Dark Goddess” leaves us feeling downhearted, we have the discipline and control to “tell the blues so long!” Just like the lyrics of that lovely old song from years ago.
For most yogis the philosophy of yoga is our belief system. The teachings originate from the ancient Vedic scriptures and the Tantric texts translated into English with all the mythology and the rituals removed. Yogis respect all cultures, traditions and religions so no one’s beliefs will be undermined, overridden, disregarded or disrespected. That is just NOT what we do. Yoga has probably done as much if not more than the UN to bring people from diverse cultures, traditions and religions into the spirit of co-operation and fellowship!
Classes consist of:
Postures for strength and flexibility
Breathing techniques teach how to expand breath and energy.
Meditation helps us learn how to settle into stillness. Our ability to focus and concentrate improves.
Relaxation – because everyone needs to learn how to relax fully and deeply. It is everyone’s favorite part of class time.
Teachers must be trained and accredited.
Yoga is totally NON-Competitive.
You do not need to buy expensive clothes or equipment.
Most teachers offer discounts for students and pensioners.
You do not need to be vegetarian to do yoga.
General classes include men and women. Often there are “ladies only classes” and “Men only classes.”
Please advise your teacher if you have any chronic illness, physical impairment, or injury – back, neck, shoulder pain or any other physical restrictions.
If you are “over 40” and having a baby, book into pre-natal yoga classes. You will be happy you did.
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