It is a common myth that yoga is an exercise that only the most flexible and athletic can do, or that the process of meditation is only for the alternately religious. The truth is, though, that yoga is a practice which can provide extensive benefits to anyone who chooses to add it to their daily routine. Yoga has been proven to have healing qualities similar to physical therapy.
Yoga aids in relaxation, decreases the heart rate, and increases flexibility. Yoga increases concentration, promotes balance, and relieves stress. Yoga is a complete method to achieving overall well-being, physically, mentally, and spiritually. There are four aspects to maximizing the healing powers of yoga:
Being conscious of the breath is an important aspect of health. Most of the time, stress causes rapid, shallow breathing. By being self-aware of the way you breathe, you can create within your mind a sense of stability and peace. Mindful breathing comes from deep within the abdomen, and slowly and efficiently takes in oxygen. This process is a proactive approach to preventing health disorders caused by stress, such as panic attacks and digestive discomfort.
Relative to mindful breathing, meditation is an important factor to remaining calm minded and level headed. Meditation is a practice of being alone with yourself, and works in combination with mindful breathing to lower blood pressure, calm nerves, and even reduce pain. Spend just fifteen minutes a day meditating by emptying the mind of all thoughts and you shall experience increasing clarity through concentration.
Just as yoga can help your spiritual and mental well-being, there are many exercises, known as yoga postures, which can help your physical health. Yoga is especially beneficial for the heart, liver and intestine. Warrior Pose and tree pose increase balance, stimulate your cardiovascular system, and raise your stamina. Spinal Twist pose elongates your abdomen and fights bloating and fatigue, whereas Cat Pose stretches the stomach and spine, and protects the liver. All of the postures that elongate the spine can help alleviate neck and back pain, whereas forward bends and inversions can help ailing sinuses. It’s been shown that downward dog and sun salutations poses can reduce inflammation. Different postures can also benefit those who suffer from anxiety, stress, muscle aches, and recent studies have shown benefits to cancer patients.
Maintaining a digestive friendly diet is essential to the practice of yogic healing. A proper yoga diet consists mainly of non-animal sources, due to their ability to be easily digested and converted to essential nutrients. The food that goes into the body is the fuel for life, so it’s important to choose your food carefully. Food should be pure and clean, free from outside toxins, extra spices, and impurities. Food too has an important impact on the mind, therefore impure foods can lead to a lethargic mind.