“Better hunt in fields for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught,
The wise, for a cure, on exercise depend,
God never made his work for man to mend.”
Dryden, Epistles

“Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity.  This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. 

Yoga means UNION – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul.  Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.” 
B.K.S. Iyengar, Astadala Yogamala

About Yoga
By Maya

I would have never thought that I write about yoga. There is so much information about it everywhere, in books, fitness  magazines, there are classes in every town.
So what “new” I could contribute here myself? 
Perhaps some thoughts and a little story how this, per my opinion “royalty” of all exercises, crossed path of my life. Then, how well it fits the lifestyle and so I see it as one of the essential parts of fulfilling, healthy life, same as  a good diet and meditation.

I was always partial to physical activity. To name a few areas where I quite excelled, was ballet, gymnastics, tennis, ping-pong, volley-ball…
Danced as a girl-ballerina in a theater, later won some gymnastic competitions, simply I was a busy body in many physical activities.  Now I also love hiking and “longest nature walks.”

Today I can say with the unshakable conviction that I am very happy to have lived such a lifestyle since very early youth. I was blessed with, one might call it “ideal” proportions, so it became rather important to me to keep it that way for life.
Here I can agree with Raquel Welch in saying:
”My body is the shape I live in, and it shapes the way I live”

Because once you have something you are happy with, you generally do not wish to lose it, it simply gives you certain satisfaction. In this instance dresses fit great, movements are sure and graceful, you are more confident as a woman.
Just the same as any other exceptional feature, let’s say a beautiful hair on a woman gives her certain joy.
 It is really sad how women, and sorry to say in the majority, once they passed thirty, they somehow “let it go”, gain weight and  loose their good shape.
Then going on various useless diets, gaining and losing on and off those ugly excess pounds, which eventually destroy their metabolism and then… there is the  “end of the game.”
Just unhappiness would settle in with never-ending battle with excess pounds.

Hence, back to yoga. I cannot live without it, it is keeping me in shape of twenty-five years old and I love it in every way.
 Not just in a body and its  light movements but the whole feeling about life, because that’s what yoga can deliver, desire and also its fulfillment of “healthy lifestyle.”
Yoga lets you understand your body, its signals, its warnings when something goes awry. Plus overall feeling after the exercise session is just wonderful. 
Yoga helps you keep the fresh glow in your face, helps you maintain graceful and serene expression too, just because how it all works…slowness of performance combined with deep breathing, so beneficial for your body.

It’s not really that important how deeply  you bend or stretch or twist. Results of better-performed postures shall come later, but they’ll be just more of an “eye-pleasing” nature.
Because you benefit right from the beginning.

People generally breathe with very shallow inhalation and that is really nothing beneficial health-wise. There is so much I could write about yoga in general praises but let’s look at some specific points.
”Yoga is prose and poem in one.’ Maya

Yoga is so complex as no other physical culturing of the body could claim to be.
 People sometimes tend to be discouraged when progress is seemingly slow, meaning the inability to stretch fully and so on.
As I said earlier, this doesn’t prevent the harvesting of benefits from an exercise.
Therefore, please realize the fact here, you are trying actually make your muscles longer. That takes about 2 years to be able to achieve the full stretch you see in ideally performed posture.
On the contrary, to develop bulky muscles takes often only weeks, max. months. However, a woman should be interested in long muscle development in order to achieve graceful beauty and leave bulk for a man.
Still, there are other benefits to yoga: besides having meditative aspects, there is a concentration, balance and coordination, building of strength, flexibility and muscle tone. It builds energy, relieves stress… benefits are priceless.

This totally calm, non-violent, absolutely enjoyably spent activity time showing the greatest results. It makes your heart beat faster and your breathing deeper and this is what our bodies need, actually do need it every single day to stay healthy.

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits.
Considering this fact, yoga can hardly be called a trend. Not to mention that it is suitable for all ages and could be performed through whole life keeping your body away from stiffness, the malady that loves older folks and usually becomes their “forever companion.” 
So let’s just look at some basics.

There are several types of yoga. I personally do Hatha yoga but I think it really doesn’t matter which one is chosen. They have closely tied anyway. But I think the difference is usually in how it is taught by teachers, various traditions and approaches to teaching. You must simply check this because classes are designed differently and some might be designed specifically for certain area of health improvement.

The word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated. We can think of the union occurring between the mind, body, and spirit. What is commonly referred to as “yoga” can be more accurately described by the Sanskrit word “asana” which refers to the practice of physical postures or poses…
Asana is only one of the eight “limbs” of yoga, the majority of which are more concerned with mental and spiritual well being than physical activity. In the West, the words asana and yoga are often used interchangeably.

Yoga Poses
Besides very beneficial for you, stretching, which people think this is all it entails,  yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both, strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement (vinyasa-style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose.

Finding a Class
 Online resources will help you find a yoga class in your area and of course wellness magazines, alternative health newspapers, etc. shall be of help to you.  Also, some gyms offer yoga classes.

Benefits
:
Endless, really. I stand strongly behind this claim being one of the recipients. I’ve already named some, like flexibility, strength, deep breathing, stress reduction and good posture. But there are others, unexpected and surely welcomed benefits:
Yoga is a great helper in fighting  depression, its therapy is even used to relieve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Some of the major health benefits are the effect of yoga on heart disease.

Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. 
On a biochemical level, studies point to a possible anti-oxidant effect of yoga. 
And yoga has been associated with decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as a boost in immune system function. There have been more studies on the benefits of therapeutic yoga.

This is called integrative yoga therapy – IYT.
 Yoga benefits other chronic medical conditions, relieving symptoms of asthma, back pain, and arthritis. 
Many studies have been funded and clinical trials performed on yoga and its health benefits for insomnia and multiple sclerosis. Yoga may have a positive effect on learning and memory.
Other researchers have been studying whether yoga can slow the aging process, increase a person’s sense of self-acceptance, or improve energy levels.
Do you wish to experience what yoga can really do for you? Give a try and you’ll see.
I do not visit classes anymore, knowing my way for some years now plus I like my own specific music to accompany my “own class” anyway. I shall gladly meet you at some class 😉
With you in better health,
Maya

Sadhguru’s wisdom

Your next reading; Ayurveda:
http://www.mayagalaxy.com/?p=1791&preview=true

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