Often, when people start yoga training, they tend to look at it like they look at weight training, or some other form of physical training. The beauty of yoga is how it works in so many other wonderful ways. For pure physical fitness, it can’t be beat…providing a way to develop muscle tone, strength, and flexibility like no other single form of exercise. It works on every muscle group of your body and certain forms of yoga are quite aerobic.
Ashtanga and vinyasa flow classes tend to be the most rigorous, while Iyengar focuses on using props to attain proper alignment and form. The word “yoga” means “to unite” and also “to attain what was previously unattainable.” Yoga can be as gentle or as rigorous as you like. The most important thing is to find an instructor who has been properly trained. Yes, you can hurt yourself with yoga if you’re doing it improperly or pushing yourself too hard. Do research to find well-trained instructors. Try a few styles to find one that speaks to you.
How Yoga Benefits Your Mind and Body
The longer you practice asana (the physical poses), the more you realize that its not just about the body. Sure, your body definitely benefits by becoming stronger and more flexible, and you start to notice you don’t have all that stiffness or all those aches and pains that you used to walk around with everyday.
The breath is one of the most important aspects of yoga training. Being focused on the breath allows you to go past the surface aspect of the body and to go within. The poses allow you to stand strong from the core of your body and explore how you move from one posture to another, and you become conscious of the connectedness of your body. Yoga is a form of meditation, and therefore meditation is naturally incorporated into the physical practice.
Yoga training teaches you how to let go, how to find your edge and how to stay there without pushing too hard or giving up. It teaches you how to be aware of your thoughts, your judgements and your patterns of mental stress. It teaches you how to be present in the moment. As all of these things come to light, you’ll notice an ability to approach your day with a calmer mind than you used to. Things that used to upset you, no longer have quite the grip that they used to have.
The strength you build from yoga is both emotional and physical. And if you care to explore the spiritual aspect of your nature, yoga can be extremely transformational. All this with one form of exercise. How exquisite!