Yoga is the original mind-body workout, meditation in action. Although most people perceive yoga as a nice way to stretch, it is way more profound than that. It is a process of self exploration and healing. The postures, or asanas, help align and strengthen muscles and bones, but also can be a way of improving the functioning of the nervous, hormonal, digestive, cardiovascular, pulmonary and immune systems. It can boost your energy and relax you. It promotes a sense of unity and balance. And when your body feels balanced, so does your mind. Some of the less tangible effects I have noticed from doing yoga myself have been more patience, serenity and resilience, a capacity to cope better with the stresses of life. In this day and age, I feel all of us can do with a little bit of all those qualities.
The unique aspect of yoga is its adaptability. What I mean by that, is when you are tired there are poses to restore you, when stressed out, poses to relax you, when depressed, poses to elevate your mood, or when you can’t sleep, poses to help the insomnia. And you can do it anywhere, a hotel room, in your home or at the office.
Yoga was developed as a way of optimizing physical well being as a necessary first step to optimizing emotional and mental functions. So there is an emphasis in yoga, not on competition and winning, but on learning a practice that is defined as “good” to the extent that it induces physical strength, organic health, emotional stability, mental lucidity and joy of being. In fact delivering most of the benefits that most people want from any practice.