What is Yoga?
In our opinion, the best definition of yoga can be found in the Yoga Sutras – 1:2 “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”
The word itself-Yoga- means union; wholeness. The practice of yoga may be seen as the union of body, mind and spirit. It is after all, a Practice, quoting Erich Schiffmann’s book, Yoga, the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness. The physical practice is only the beginning to allowing ourselves to meditate, remember the goal of meditation is not to control our thoughts but to not let our thoughts control us. Our classes are breath-centered and geared towards all levels of experience, including beginners and seasoned practitioners. Come to our studio with a beginner’s mind, we have mats, props and a peaceful space for you to practice, be led and discover Yoga. Namaste.
Physical Benefits of Yoga Exercises
Strengthening from holding yoga positions. Yoga helps increase strength in very specific muscles and muscle groups. Holding positions in yoga is not intended to be uncomfortable. However, it does require concentration and specific use of muscles throughout the body. Muscle strength improves by remaining in these yoga positions and incorporating various movements.
Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal muscles. Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine, helping the body maintain proper upright posture and movement. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided.
Stretching and Relaxation
Yoga incorporates stretching and relaxation, which reduces tension in stress-carrying muscles. Yoga requires that the individual hold gentle poses anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds. Within the pose, certain muscles flex, while others stretch, promoting relaxation and flexibility in muscles and joints. For people with lower back pain, stretching is very important. For example, stretching the hamstring muscles (in the back of the thigh) helps expand the motion in the pelvis, decreasing stress across the lower back. In addition, stretching with yoga increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, toxins to flow out, and overall nourishment of the muscles and soft tissues in the lower back.
In most classes, breathing is considered very important during the yoga poses. While holding a position, the tendency is to hold the breath as well. Instead, the intention is to have a deep, free, and rhythmic breath through the nose on both the inhale and the exhale. The quality of the breath in many ways determines the quality of the yoga practice. This will emphasize a relaxed body and encourage strong circulation.