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Is Yoga for You?

Is Yoga for You?

September is National Yoga Awareness Month with a goal of educating the general public about yoga and the many health benefits it offers. Yoga began more than 5,000 years ago as a way to build individual health and well-being. The practice has grown significantly and provides a variety of options to meet individual needs. Yoga is a practice that is accessible to everyone and includes a multi-dimensional approach to wellness—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The word YOGA means to yoke or unite the mind, body and spirit. Coming together as a whole with honor, respect, love and light.

Below are some general facts about the practice of yoga:

  • Yoga is not a religion or a religious practice, it’s based on your individual beliefs.
  • Yoga is a way to combine breath with movement to bring awareness to the connection between our mind and body.
  • As a physical practice, yoga builds strength, flexibility and balance.
  • As a mindfulness practice, yoga helps to calm the mind and build focus and concentration.
  • Combining these practices will lead to meditation and a blissful state of peace and joy.
  • Many different styles of yoga exist to meet everyone’s individual needs—Hathata yoga, Yin Yoga , Kindulini yoga, from power yoga for athletes to build strength and endurance to gentle chair yoga for seniors to maintain range of motion and balance.

A growing list of research has shown the effectiveness of practicing yoga to meet overall health and wellness goals. Universities, including UW-Madison, Harvard, Duke and UCLA, have demonstrated the following positive benefits of yoga:

  • Reducing stress
  • Improving sleep
  • Decreasing anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Reducing chronic inflammation
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving eating patterns
  • Reducing chronic pain
  • Improving concentration and memory
  • Increasing over all wellness

There are eight limbs of yoga. ‘Yama’ (abstinence), ‘Niyana’ (self-observation) ‘Asana’ (yoga postures), ‘Pranayama’ (breath control), ‘Pratyahara’ (withdrawal of the senses), ‘Dhyana’ (meditation), and ‘Samadhi’ (absorption).”

Yoga is a philosophical or spiritual discipline. It helps bring harmony to the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga helps to get to know ourselves better and helps us be in control of our emotions.

A yoga practice is engaging in any or all of the eight limbs of yoga on a daily basis. All are inner-connected to help improve our self-awareness and understanding.

You can create a personal practice at any time, in any place, in any condition and just about any age. Working within your own boundaries and respecting limitations. While there are benefits to engaging with mindful communities, we don’t necessarily have to visit a fancy yoga studio to participate in the practice. Sitting quietly in nature is a great place to start.

No, you do not need to be able to touch your toes to do yoga. However, being open and willing to explore the different styles of yoga are the first steps to building your personal practice.

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