The benefits of yoga are far and wide. The word yoga itself means union – union of mind, body and spirit.
Therefore it relates directly to what we work on and achieve with Kinesiology. Yoga helps us to truly be and become our true self.
Iyengar Yoga in particular, is all about alignment. Strength, alignment, balance. It’s one of the more intense forms of yoga, yet also deeply relaxing. Restorative poses are blended with the challenging ones. Each pose is incredibly precise, down to correct placement of little finger and little toe. Each joint is to be aligned directly on top of the other, in a straight line, as you can see in the image above. One is taught to “back off” on the stronger side, and increase usage of muscles on the non-dominant side of the body. Yoga brings awareness to where we are imbalanced.
One of the most potent benefits I’ve gained from yoga is grounding.
Spending 90 minutes in a class following precise instructions, the teacher is almost constantly talking, as in every pose there needs to be awareness of what the entire body is doing, from head to toe. 90 minutes spent in deep awareness of the body sure does get you IN the body. This aspect makes it a moving meditation too. There is no getting stuck in the head during yoga. Yes, the thoughts come in. But you just keep practising; you just keep shifting your focus back to the body, and your breath. It becomes easier over time, and the distracting thoughts come in less and less. This flows into life outside of the yoga studio.
It’s taught me about energy usage. When we push, force and exert, the result actually diminishes. Some of the most challenging poses become easier when we just breathe deeply and relax into it. Honour where you’re at and don’t compare yourself to others in the class. Honour your body and your own journey. Push a little, yes, there isn’t any improvement if we don’t challenge ourselves – but don’t over-exert. Learn where that fine line is. Trust yourself. Know that you can create a new body at any time, with the choices you decide to make NOW and from this point forth. The past is past. The present is where we are, and anything is possible. There are so many parallels between yoga and life.
I feel that our yoga practise reflects who we are and where we’re at.
Are you impatient, frustrated or annoyed with yourself and feeling inflexible on the yoga mat? Take an honest look and see where you may be those things in life at the moment. Are you feeling strong, powerful, breathing deeply, not comparing yourself to others (honouring and being compassionate towards yourself and your body)? Able to hold steady balance in the challenging poses? You can guarantee, you embody those qualities in your life at that time. Yoga constantly guides us, shows us where we could let go, and change our attitude.
Yoga helps you to be in the flow. Moving with the flow.
In Iyengar, we actually rarely do the flowing pose sequences; most of them are held poses. In doing so, we allow the muscles to really release tension. After a class I feel like I’ve had a full body massage, usually floating out the door, feeling clear, light and inspired.
I’ve noticed that when I’m not going with the flow in life, that’s when things start to feel icky. Forced. Doing yoga regularly brings the quality of freedom into my life. Freedom of movement. Less restriction. Confidence and courage in my abilities, and freedom to express them. After a stint of regular commitment to yoga, even after only 4 weeks, when you feel and can see differences in your body – it’s an incredibly empowering feeling, “look what my body can do”! Yes it can be challenging. It takes effort, and commitment. Anything worthwhile achieving does. The results are more than worth it.
Yoga helps you sleep better.
It settles and relaxes the mind, body and soul. In lengthening and strengthening muscles simultaneously – on one level it’s brilliant exercise, yes you work up quite a sweat in an Iyengar class, and on another level, tension is released from all those tight spots. Along with Kinesiology, yoga is brilliant for clearing pain and tension in the body. When I start to feel achy, I know I haven’t been doing enough yoga. It really is a full body massage supercharged with added benefits! Every muscle, organ and gland is stretched and strengthened by yoga.
The bend and twist poses work wonders on the abdomen and it’s internal organs. The entire digestive tract is stimulated and massaged. The inverted (upside down) poses bring fresh blood to head and heart, draining the feet and lower legs of any accumulated fluid. It’s intensely relieving, especially after a long day on the feet.
What does yoga do for the mind? It brings stillness. Peacefulness. Contentment. Not to mention, creative inspiration!
After a class I’m often inspired to write or paint. The words and ideas just flow. It’s almost like a switch has turned on in my brain. As balance, integrity and strength is brought to the body, so it is to the mind. Yoga helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. As we release tension in the body, we release it in the mind. We emerge clearer, more focused.
Yoga is good, good medicine. For the mind, body and soul. Choose a style of yoga that you’re drawn to. You may need to try a few different styles to find what you really love.
Do you know that you want and need to do yoga, but you’re struggling to take the next step and do it? I often hear this from my clients: “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” or “I’m not fit enough to do yoga”. It’s the doing of the yoga that helps us to become fit/flexible. As they say, “if you want a dancers body, you need to dance”. Book in a Kinesiology session here to clear out those blocks!
I have to add here, I’m not a yoga teacher, nor is this post sponsored in any way shape or form! I just love yoga, it’s a key ingredient in my well-being toolbox. It often comes up for my clients as part of their homework/play.
Happy yoga flow,