Yoga has existed for centuries. Yoga traditionally is part of a larger picture of a lifestyle of mindfulness. The founders of yoga centuries ago realized the importance of exercise that emphasizes flexibility and strength. Yoga means “union”, and specifically the union of mind, body and breath. The body is placed in various positions that increase strength of some body parts while increasing the flexibility of others. Yoga integrates body parts by training the body as it functions.
Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise. It tones and strengthens the body by relaxing and releasing the tightness in muscles, creating flexibility. It also quiets and focuses the mind. Yoga provides:
- Union of mind, body and spirit
- Increased body awareness
- Improved balance, mobility and stability
- Muscular flexibility
- Muscular strength
- Relaxation and concentration
- Overall well-being and health
Yoga is for everyone and there are no beginners, for each person is already good at something. Like dormant seeds beneath the enfolding blanket of winter’s earth, your potential is there. When Michelangelo would be asked what the source of his talent was, he would say that his job was not creating statues, but simply removing the excess marble that surrounded the figures that already existed “inside the marble slabs”. Such is the same with yoga. Deep inside all of us are all of the yoga poses we will practice. We all possess the principles needed, our bodies want to celebrate the joyful movements of yoga that wait inside. Actually, don’t consider that you are in yoga class, bur rather that the yoga class exists inside you.
Your first task is to smile (yoga is not so serious) and enjoy practicing the poses (asanas), letting your breath bring them alive. You should start Yoga slowly, and as a beginner, don’t hold any of the poses for long. Allow your body to warm up before asking more of it. Remain in poses only if comfortable. If you pull or force a pose, you may injure yourself. It is more important to discover how your body works than to achieve the pose. The pose will come.
If you are in doubt about your health or ability to do Yoga, always ask and take the advice of your doctor.