The word Yoga means to join. The practice of Yoga is joining your mind, body, and breath. With this practice, you learn how to live fully aware in the present moment.
Yoga began its journey west in the late 1800's. Swami Rama amazed researchers at the prestigious Menninger foundation in 1970 when test showed he could control his autonomic nervous system functions including heartbeat, pulse, and skin temperature. Www.yogaJournal.com/article/history of yoga/yogas-trip–America/
Yoga on the Mat is… Breathing (Pranayama is the sanskrit word for breathing in Yoga) and Postures (Asanas). Breathing is the very foundation of the Yoga practice. Have you ever thought about your breathing? How do you normally breathe? Most of us only breathe shallowly into our chest. “You can go without food and water for days, but you can only go without your breath for a few minutes” is an anonymous comment I read years ago. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it.
The postures begin with baby steps. You do not have to bend like a pretzel. You begin learning simple postures like Mountain Pose, which is just standing on your own two feet. Standing tall with good posture in connection with your breath is not an easy task. It will become very easy, in fact natural over time.
There are many styles to yoga. If you are not sure where to begin, please call your local studio. They are usually eager to get you off to the appropriate class. Remember, we are all in this together. Yoga is new to the west.
Yoga off the mat is checking in with yourself regularly. Asking yourself how you feel. Are you breathing? Are you spinning on your thoughts? Are you listening or thinking?
Yoga is not a religion. We confuse a way of life as a religion because in Yoga, there is a “code of conduct” (8 limbs) that you have to commit to in order to live life in peace and harmony.
I was baptized at 16 in a small church in Kingston Springs. I attended church, but did not gain true knowledge of Christ until I began my Yoga practice. It took Yoga to slow me down and discipline my mind to listen. Because of my practice, my religious practices are stronger. Religion and Spirituality work hand in hand. You can have one without the other.
What does Yoga do for you? Yoga slowly transforms your self to the way you are supposed to “be”. Yoga shows you how to appreciate life and how to experience every moment without the desire to be somewhere else. Yoga teaches you to love yourself, to put yourself first.
I asked yogis of local Dickson County why they practice Yoga. They responded as follows:
“Yoga gets my attention unlike going to the gym.” JL
“My Yoga Practice makes me a nicer person.” LC
“I love the stretching.” V
“It is a wonderful exercise for me. It helps me focus.” CA
“Yoga saved my life”. RH
“Yoga got me from not being able to move, to attending a regular Hatha Yoga Class”. RE
“It brings me back into balance. It makes me feel relaxed and at peace”. TW
“Yoga has taught me how to not react. To breathe before I take action under some of the most chaotic of situations.” AT
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