The word Yoga means "to bind". Yoga is a 5,000 year old discipline, handed down from the sages, and consists of specific methods designed to develop an individual physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. Yoga is a journey - a way of looking at our life, our actions, our thoughts and those around us.
A simple, yet well rounded practice includes, Hatha--the physical practice of yoga, Yoga Nidra--deep relaxation, and Pranayama--yogic breathing. These practices combine to bring about full and harmonious development of an individual.
Yoga provides numerous benefits for the mind as well as the physical body. Through a yoga practice, our mood improves; along with our sense of well being, awareness deepens. We often become more accepting of ourselves and those around us. A consistent yoga practice helps with focus and concentration. It can relieve stress, improve alertness, and can also help one's self esteem. Sleep improves and one can learn how to deal with anxiety. Physiological benefits of yoga are many and include lower respiratory rate, improved cardiovascular functions, lower blood pressure, increased flexibility, muscle strength, better coordination and range of motion. An individual's energy level can greatly benefit as well.
In addition, there are biochemical benefits that bring desired results to our bodies. Cortisol levels decrease as antioxidant factors dissipate throughout the bloodstream, bringing a sense of calm and increasing our resistance to dis-ease. Glucose, sodium, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are reduced, while levels of vitamin C, and hemoglobin levels rise.
There are continuing studies in the scientific community which document the improvement through which people suffering from a variety of ailments, including, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, or even obesity are greatly helped by a yoga practice.
From the subtle to the physical, yoga can put you on the path to true healing.
Karen Levitt, e-RYT