Saturday, 2 June 2012

Benefits of Yoga: Unifying Mind and Body

If there's one thing yoga taught me it's this: balance is the key to a happy and healthy life.

For most of us, yoga has been equated with a sort of exercise, an aerobic activity that is designed to help us tone our muscles, improve our flexibility, and hey, while we are at it, lose a little bit of that extra weight.

But if you take a closer look, yoga can actually do much, much more than just improve our physical condition. More than what it does for our body, yoga is also a way for us to achieve peace and balance mentally, emotionally and spiritually, especially in such a fast-paced and over-stimulating world.

When I first encountered yoga, it was being offered as a group exercise at the local gym. The emphasis was so much more on the athletic ability and the physicality of it, that it didn't make a lasting impression on me. But when I continued practicing, I found subtle differences that, when put together, made such a profound impact on me.

Physically, all the backbends, arches and shoulder rotations improved my posture. I found that every time I reached up to touch both my palms together in a tree pose, my shoulders and my heart open and I feel such a wonderful release of tension and then bringing those palms together down in a prayer position gives me a feeling of centeredness and focus that I rarely get even in my most still moments.

When I am in a lunge, I really feel the strength of my leg muscles building up in order to support me in a warrior pose, and that awareness of my own strength buoys my spirit. It tells me that what my body can endure, my heart and mind will be able to withstand as well.

Sure it is a physically taxing activity. I am not going to sugarcoat it for you. Yoga will push your body to its limits, but once you get into a groove, yoga can be a rewarding experience not just for the body but also for the mind.

I have had so many amazing encounters during the course of my yoga practice and these are but a few. I know I will continue to find moments of pure joy, enlightenment and physical challenges as well and I hope I will always get to share all of these wonderful anecdotes with you.

Light Stays Retreats and Living is a new global holistic directory to inspire and guide your mind, body and soul. Through Light Stays find your perfect retreat, event, class or workshop or post yours for others to see.

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